Despite common misconceptions, it isn’t necessary to spend a lot of money to be healthy. In fact, there are plenty of healthy foods in grocery stores that don’t cost a lot. These tips will help you eat foods that are good for you but don’t cost a fortune. By investing some time in planning meals and involving the entire family in the decisions so they are sure to love what is served, you can make the most of your food budget and know you are feeding your family food that is good for them. If you want to know How to save money while being healthy, check out these tips that have helped many families just like yours.
1/ Plan Your Meals
Most families today have a limited food budget. In coordination with the household schedule, plan dinners so no food is wasted when everyone won’t be together for a meal. For example, on days when kids have extracurricular activities or one spouse is going to be working late, there’s no point in making a huge dinner that won’t taste as good when it’s reheated later. Making something in the crock pot on those evenings can be more cost effective and ensure that everyone in the family gets a delicious, hot meal for dinner.
2/ Buy in Bulk
Families often have one or two items they eat a lot. For some people it’s pasta. Fortunately, pasta has a really long shelf life so it’s easy to buy in bulk and not have to worry about constantly adding it to the weekly shopping list. You can do this with most non-perishable foods. However, it’s also possible to save money on meats and vegetables by harnessing the power of bulk purchasing. Simply buy meats in larger quantities when they are on sale and then separate them into sensible portions. You can even prep and entire meal and freeze it for later to save time and money. You may also save time by freezing portions of meals you’ve already cooked to conveniently eat at a later time.
3/ Eat Potatoes
Potatoes are some of the least expensive foods in the store and also the most versatile. They can be baked, boiled, fried or chopped and added to other recipes. Potatoes are full of vitamins, too. Your family can get vitamin C, potassium and fiber from both red, Russet and sweet potatoes. Use them instead of processed foods to ensure your family doesn’t get unnecessary calories in their diet.
4/ Shop at Farmer’s Markets
The freshest food in town can be found at the local farmer’s market. These markets typically operate a couple of days a week and allow the community to support local farmers while taking advantage of their expertise. They can answer questions the clerk in the grocery store just won’t know. The same vendors tend to show up every time the market is open so it’s easy to develop a relationship with them. You can always find great deals at the farmer’s market right before it closes. The vendors would rather sell the food than take it home with them so they are generally willing to offer steep discounts in the last half hour or so before closing. The best vendors donate any leftover food to local organizations that serve the hungry.
5/ Grow Your Own
Nearly everything is available at the farmer’s market when its in season. However, there’s nothing like having your own fresh vegetables and herbs right in your backyard or window garden. Unlike the produce you buy at the grocery store, you know exactly where this food came from and the soil it grew in. If you use a lot of a particular vegetable or herb, growing it yourself will also save you regular trips to the store or market where you might be tempted to buy things you don’t really need.
6/ Avoid Impulse Buying
Always go shopping for food after you’ve eaten a meal. This will help you avoid impulse buying simply because you are hungry. Fresh foods are typically situated around the perimeter of the grocery store. Hungry people are more likely to be tempted to venture down the aisles, which are filled with processed and unhealthy foods. These convenience foods might be easier to prepare but they are also loaded with preservatives and fats that aren’t good for growing bodies. Giving kids fresh fruits and vegetables for snacks will help them develop healthy habits that will follow them into adulthood. Most of the packaged snacks in grocery stores today are loaded with sugar and artificial colors that kids really don’t need.
7/ Learn New Recipes
Family members that get tired of eating the same foods may turn to fast food or convenience foods for variety. As the family cook, you can prevent this from occurring by varying the meals you make. Check recipe books and online cooking sites to find recipes that use many of the ingredients you already know your family enjoys. Even the pickiest eaters will often try something new if they recognize the ingredients. You could start by adding new side dishes to your menu and eventually update the main courses you cook to ensure everyone likes the new meals.
Feeding a family on a budget isn’t always easy but it doesn’t mean you have to eat processed food or compromise on nutrients. Cooking at home is almost always cheaper than buying fast food and your family will thank you for the time you take to plan and prepare tasty and nutritious meals for them every day. With a little planning and some skills in the kitchen, anyone can eat a healthy diet without spending a lot of money.