One of the biggest expenses for families can easily be food - especially when you’re trying to eat healthy. Anyone who has tried to eat healthy knows that the price of getting all those fresh, organic options can really add up, particularly when you’re buying for more than one person. But what can you do? While McDonald’s may be tempting on a tight budget, it’s certainly not healthy.
According to George Sink Jr., attorney at George Sink, P. A. Injury Lawyers, “Food is expensive - particularly a lot of healthy foods. Finding a balance between low expenses and a healthy lifestyle can be challenging. The easiest way to achieve this balance is to know what healthy food you can get for dirt cheap - and where - and depend heavily on those, sprinkled in with more expensive foods where necessary. That way, you’ll always have healthy options, even when your budget is quite tight.”
Luckily, there’s ways to spend very little on foods that still lead to an overall healthy diet. For example - part of looking for healthy foods is to know where to shop to find the best prices. Co-ops and farmers markets offer fresh produce and organic options. They’re not always the cheapest, but if you go often enough, you’ll be able to find good deals there - and maybe even build up relationships with some of the vendors. Other places to find cheap foods - though you may not be able to find as many name brands as maybe you would like - are small, local grocery stores - or ethnic markets. These offer small selections, but often they have some of the best value for their food. Plus, you may find more variety in your choices if you try these smaller stores than if you periodically go to a larger grocery store.
It may take a little work - but even the people on the tightest budgets should be able to eat healthy if they try hard enough.
Once you figure out the best place(s) near you to get cheap produce, it will become a staple of your diet. Most produce - when it’s in season - is healthy, full of flavor, and versatile. You can make many different meals out of a few select pieces of produce - when combined with other things - so you won’t find yourself bored by your meal choices.
Good produce to buy at any time of year would be things like carrots, onions, potatoes, lettuce, spinach, garlic, celery, and others. Of course, other types of produce will become available for low prices when they’re in season. Of course - a cheap option is always buying frozen fruits and vegetables, but this depends on your taste - it can be a lot less appetizing than fresh, but it also doesn’t go bad as fast. So it really depends on your personal tastes.
Foods such as rice, whole-wheat bread or pasta, oats, oatmeal, and other hearty grains are cheap, and a great addition to your diet. While some of these foods can be high in carbohydrates, as long as it doesn’t make up too large a part of your diet, it will maintain a healthy diet as they also contain other nutrients.
Like with produce, you’ll have to shop around until you find a place that sells what you want at a reasonable price. Some bakeries make fresh, healthy breads each day or week, and those would be a good option if you want to cut out preservatives and live a little healthier. Likewise, specialty markets may have cheaper varieties of rice and other grains.
Protein can be tricky, as a lot of time most people get it from meat, and meat can be expensive. If you want to eat healthy, going vegetarian or vegan is always an option - but it’s not required. If you know how and where to shop for meat, you can keep your expenses low. Plus, you can other forms of protein into your diet to supplement, which will mean you have to buy less met. Things like beans, nuts, eggs, spinach, hummus, and peanut butter all have high amounts of protein. Most can be added into meals easily, so you can save money on meat, and still get enough protein to keep you full between meals.
If you do want to keep eating meat, the best way to ensure you keep your costs low is to keep an eye on sales. That way, you can get good cuts of meat without blowing your budget.