Tips for Eating Healthy on a Budget
Eating well on a budget can be a challenge. Below are some tips to help you get started.
While it does take a bit more planning and time to make your own meals. But there are ways to make fast, healthy meals and many benefits to doing so.
- Make home cooked meals as often as you can. Plan ahead and make a grocery list. This will help to keep you on budget and to avoid buying expensive items you don’t need. Look through your cupboards and fridge to see what food to use up or plan your meals around.
- Cookbooks, apps and online recipes can be helpful to plan your meals. Check out budgetbytes.com or Google ‘healthy budget recipes’ for lots of great ideas.
- Check out the weekly flyers of your grocery store to see what’s on sale.
- Plan meals that use similar ingredients, such as fresh herbs, to avoid wasting food and money.
- Look for items on the top and bottom shelves. The most expensive brands are kept at eye level.
- Shop at discount or low frills grocery stores that offer reduced prices.
- Shop at smaller, independent fruit and vegetable stores. They often have lower prices on other items.
- Don’t go shopping hungry – you will likely buy more than you need!
- Try to buy what’s in season and locally available in your area. The BC Association of Farmer’s Markets has information about what’s in season each month.
- When out of season, buy fruits and vegetables in the frozen section. They are frozen soon after being picked.
- It’s much cheaper to buy many items in bulk – beans, rice, pasta, nuts, seeds, spices, baking items, etc.
- Avoid buying snack size, single serve items or pre-prepared items (like grated cheese or cut fruit). They are often more expensive because they are convenient.
- A generic or store brand item is often cheaper than a name-brand item. If possible, compare the unit price (price per 100ml or 100g) of the food you are buying.
- Try to shop the outer edges of the grocery store, where the fresh and healthy options are.
- Look for less expensive cuts of meat or ways to buy in larger packages to freeze and use for several meals.
- Make large amounts of dishes when you have time to cook and freeze some for days when you don’t have time to cook.
- Try and use beans or lentils in your meals. They are a good source of protein and cheaper than buying meats.
- If you have roommates, talk about sharing the cost of certain items you all use, such as oils or flour.
Check out the below video to hear how other people have eaten well on a budget:
Want to explore and learn more? Here are a couple options that will help you.