Whenever money is tight it’s easy to think that healthy food has to be the first thing to go. However, being on a budget doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your nutrition. It just means you need to be a little smarter about your purchases and plan accordingly! So today I want to share with you how to make healthy choices while on a budget.
1. Check For Coupons/Sales
This tip might seem obvious, but let me elaborate on this. Most people check for coupons for items they are already planning to purchase. But to really save the most money you’ll want to get into the habit of checking for coupons/sales before you go to the grocery store! A lot of grocery stores have an app or website where they have digital coupons and list their weekly sales ad. Once you can see what they have on sale, try to incorporate those items into your meal plan for the week. Instead of looking for coupons/sales for items already on your shopping list, you should plan your shopping list around the items on sale.
2. Plan Your Week
Now that you’ve looked around for the best sales and deals, it’s time to plan your week around these sales. If chicken breast is on sale, then find some simple, healthy recipes that use chicken as the protein source. However, this doesn’t mean that you need to eat the same meals all week. Try to find creative ways to use the same ingredients for totally different meals. Chicken doesn’t have to be boring. Maybe you use it to make baked chicken parmesan one night, shred it for tacos another night, and then use it for BBQ chicken another night. Making delicious, healthy choices is so much easier when you have a plan!
3. Use The Freezer
If something you typical use is on sale, can you buy more than you need and freeze it? I always do this when chicken, beef or turkey is on sale. Another great strategy when on a budget is to stock up on frozen fruit and vegetables. This way they have a longer shelf life and you don’t need to worry about eating everything right away. I always have bags of frozen fruit in my freezer for smoothies.
4. Don’t Forget To Check Your Cabinets!
Now that you planned out your meals for the week, it’s time to make a list. Look at each recipe and write down the items that you need to buy. Always take a look around your kitchen to see what you already have, that way you don’t accidentally buy more. This is also a great time to see what foods you already have in your pantry/fridge and plan your meals around it. Sometimes I buy more of something than I need because of a good sale. Then I always make sure I use it in the upcoming weeks so it doesn’t go to waste.
On the same note, always use all of your leftovers. Never throw anything away just because you don’t think you will use it. Do you have extra marinara sauce from your pasta dinner? Save it and use it later that week to make chicken parmesan, or homemade pizzas. Never let being on a budget keep you from fueling your body with the nutritious food it deserves. With a little bit of planning you can be saving money and eating healthy!
~ Morgan Fink, Warrington Wellness Coach