Friday, February 8, 2013

Frugal Friday: Eating healthy on a budget

Sometimes people have the misconception that to eat healthily they must spend more money. We see this all the time. Advertisers target people wanting to go on diets by creating prepackaged "diet" foods that are expensive. What you don't see on the outside is that these products often contain more harmful ingredients than good. Our family has discovered that a healthy lifestyle doesn't have to cost more money than an unhealthy one. While their are some products where the healthy option does cost more than its unhealthy counterpart (e.g. butter vs. margarine), this is an exception rather than a rule. Here are some ideas that we've found to lower your food budget and still eat healthy food:
Some vegetables we harvested from our garden last year
  • Buy fruits and vegetables that are in season. Adjust your recipes according to the season you are in and what is available or on sale at the store.
  • Grow a garden - growing a garden forces you to eat healthier because you have a multitude of healthy food literally in your backyard.
  • Limit the amount of processed foods you eat. Eat more whole grains and legumes and cook from scratch rather than "quick" foods.
  • Shop sales and stock up on items that you use regularly that go on sale - check expiration dates and don't buy more than you will use before they expire.
  • Eat all leftovers before they go bad. If you don't like to eat the same meal twice in a row, make smaller meals or freeze a portion for later.
  • Look for produce that lasts longer and buy that instead of it's counterpart (e.g. Romaine lettuce lasts longer than green leaf or red leaf).
  • Bring a sack lunch to work or when you go on trips. Eat out only for "special occasions."
  • Don’t buy specialized ingredients that you will only use for 1 recipe - I do this quite often and more times than naught it is a waste of money. It's good to try new recipes so don't let this discourage you from doing that, but try to find new recipes that you can use ingredients you already have or ingredients you could use for more than one recipe if you didn't like the one you were trying.
  • Create or find recipes based on what you already have in your pantry - rotate & use items that are getting close to expiration dates. Brandon is really good at this - he can look at what we need to use up and come up with a wonderful meal based on those things.
  • Don’t go shopping when you’re hungry or around meal times - you always spend more money.
  • Limit your shopping trips - I've talked about this before, but it's true and it really works. The less time you spend in the grocery store the more money you will save. Sometimes I even go to a smaller grocery store as opposed to a larger one because I know I will find fewer things I "need" there.
Here's some Frugal Friday posts from the archives that you might find helpful about this subject:


I'd love to hear your ideas. What are some ways to cut our food budgets and still eat healthily?  Happy Frugal Friday. Hope you have a great weekend.

Linking with these link parties.

9 comments:

Robin Lewis said...

I know that if I make a grocery list with the intention of buying only what's on the list, I can make it out of the store without a lot of other things!

AsSnugAsABug said...

Lots of great ideas. We usually take lunch/ snack with us - much cheaper and less wasteful than buying extra food.

Lucky Dip Lisa said...

I enjoyed your post and the links below it, in particular the bread analysis. Thanks for sharing!

Vicky @ Mess For Less said...

These are some great tips. We have trying to eat healthier, but it can be so expensive. Just pinned!

Becca @ The Earthlings Handbook said...

This is great advice! Eating less meat and more beans is another way to save money. Beans have plenty of protein and iron but also lots of fiber, and they are very versatile. I have a lot of bean recipes on my site.

I have several versatile recipes that use up odds and ends of food, often food that's a little past its prime. For example, Cheesy Vegetable Bread Pudding uses stale bread or crusts or heels, random veggies, and any kind of cheese.

Heather {Healthy Family Cookin} said...

Thanks everyone for all the great ideas. I love them.

Rachel Page said...

I’d say the number one way to eat healthy on a budget is to stop eating out and start cooking, even on a Friday night.

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Ewan zak said...

I actually enjoyed reading through this posting. Many thanks.Explore our collection of heart-inspired recipes. Browse, cook, create, even share your own here.
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