Eating healthy on a budget isn’t a myth. But too often people believe it’s not possible and settle for food that isn’t in line with their goals. Time and time again I see people busting their butts working out to the point of exhaustion, yet they aren’t seeing the results that they desire.
The truth is that you can’t outwork a bad diet. I know this from personal experience. For years I would spend hours each week running and lifting weights only to follow it up by not eating healthy.
When talking with clients, friends, and family about their nutrition, people generally fall into one of two categories. Either they feel it costs too much money to eat healthy or it takes too much time to prepare healthy food. So most people resort to fast food, restaurants, and meals that we can unwrap and heat quickly. And truth be told, you can’t look like a million bucks when you are eating off the dollar menu.
So here are 7 simple tips to help you get started eating healthy on a budget. This way you can match the efforts you are putting in the kitchen with the efforts you are putting in the gym.
Think of Healthy Eating As Investment
Before any positive actions can take place you must have a positive mindset. And this includes looking at food as an investment in your health. We’ve all heard the phrase, “you are what you eat.” And this is 100% true because in addition to supplying our bodies with energy, our food becomes the building blocks for the building and repair of our cells, tissues, and organs. You wouldn’t want a contractor to use cheap materials when building your house, would you? So why would your body be any different?
Create A Healthy Eating Meal Plan For The Week
If you just walk into the grocery store without an idea of what you are going to need for the week, chances are that you are going to buy a bunch of items that are not really needed. And this is going to cost you a lot of extra money. While we don’t eat the exact same meals days after day, we do generally have 10-20 “go-to” meals that all of the members in our family will eat. So we plan around those for dinner time.
For breakfast my wife and I also have a few staples that we rotate through. Breakfast quinoa, a protein shake, and egg whites and fruit have become our staples. We also map out what are we having for our meals throughout the day. Are we able to eat at home or are we going to be on the go and we need food that we can take with us. Fruits, veggies, lean protein like sliced turkey breast, and hard boiled eggs have become our version of ‘fast food.”
Buy Healthy Food When It’s On Sale
Because the majority of what we buy is better cuts of meat and fresh fruits and vegetables, we tend to look at the ads and buy certain items when they are on sale. For instance, chicken breasts can be found near me for as little as $1.99 a pound or as expensive as $6.99 a pound. So when these items go on sale I tend to buy a lot and then freeze them. For instance, in researching this article I found that one of the 3 local grocery stores did have boneless, skinless chicken breasts on sale for $1.99 a pound. And as a result I wound up buying almost 20 pounds of chicken. My standard serving size is 4 ounces, so in fact I just bought almost 80 servings of chicken. That should get me through the month and keep my price per meal low too.
Shop Around When Eating Healthy On The Cheap
Too often we get in the routine of always going to the same stores to buy the same items, even if they don’t always have the best prices. A quick way to start is by checking out the weekly inserts from your local stores with what they are advertising on sale that week. And then you can go beyond this by checking out websites such as mygrocerydeals.com. I have used this site many times when looking to stock up on certain staples that I can buy 1-2 times per month and then freeze or store. This tip alone can literally save you $100’s of dollars in groceries in the coming months.
Create A Grocery List
To build off of tip number 2, you want to have a game plan when you get to the grocery store. If you just went through the aisles of your supermarket and put anything and everything that caught your eye in your cart you will be spending a small fortune while bringing home a bunch of food that won’t be helping you reach your health and fitness goals. You need to make a grocery list when eating healthy on a budget and stick to that list. Start in the produce section, go to the meat section, and then just go down the aisles you need to go down. Get in and get out of the store as quickly as possible. Both your wallet and your waistline will thank you.
Leave The Kids At Home. Shop Alone.
As a husband and father of 3, it’s always more expensive to shop with others than to shop alone. Time and time again, shopping with others tends to lead to items being added to the cart that weren’t on the grocery list. For example, my kids will almost certainly ask for snacks and dessert items that I know we could go without, but I generally break down and buy them one or the other. And while this doesn’t seem to add a lot to our grocery bill, when we multiply it by 50-60 trips to the supermarket during the year, it can add up in a hurry.
Don’t shop when you are hungry
The food in the grocery store is designed to get you to purchase it. It’s that simple. From the packaging to the placement in the isles, supermarkets have a game plan to make food appealing to all of your senses. This is why it’s important to not go to the grocery store when you are hungry. From the smells as you walk past the bakery to the colors of the packages that bring out memories and emotions that connect to hunger, everything is designed to be appealing. My recommendation is if you are hungry, get yourself a healthy snack or small meal before grocery shopping. You’ll make better food choices when you aren’t shopping on an empty stomach.
Well there you have it. If you have any questions about shopping that I didn’t cover in this article, send me an email and I’d be happy to help you out.
Until next time,