Since I get this question often, I thought I'd talk about it a bit here.
I realize that junk food is typically less expensive than healthy food. But there's ways around it! You can still eat healthy with just a little planning and a possible change in mindset.
Here are my tips, but I'd love to hear yours in comments below!
* First, always, always, always check the weekly ads for your local grocery stores online. Write down all the things you *may* be interested in and what the sale price is and at what store. Once you've done this for all your local stores, compare the items and their prices. Whichever store has the most items you may need for the best prices, you'll want to go there.
* Since you're eating some protein with every meal (every 3 hours), you'll want to find some protein sources that are inexpensive. (You ARE eating a little protein every few hours, right??). Meat does not need to be the only protein source you have. In fact, any vegetarian or vegan will tell you that you don't even need meat at all and you can still get plenty of protein. Some options include: black beans, kidney beans, cannelinni beans, lentils, nut butters, and greek yogurts. Other beans will work too, these are just some thoughts to get you headed in the right direction. You can incorporate beans into a TON of meals. Add them to salads, put them in your casseroles, your soups, etc. Buy your beans in bulk instead of cans to get the most for your money. Get creative, and definitely check out some recipe websites. I love using www.allrecipes.com
* If you are going to use meats as well, buy things such as boneless skinless chicken breasts (more convenient than whole chicken or skin-on types). But only buy them whey they are at the cheapest during the sale cycle. I typically only buy them when they are the lowest, which around here, is $1.99 per pound. I stock up because they won't be that low again for several weeks. Look for discounted lean meats as they approach their expiration date & freeze it. Just eat it before the new stuff you have stored!
* Use Whole grain brown rice in lots of meals. If you buy it in bulk and not in the '10 minute' packs, it's extremely inexpensive and it's filling, easy on your blood sugar and goes with TONS of foods. Use it in casseroles, as a side dish, or under grilled chicken with yummy sauces. Some people even use it in place of spaghetti noodles, etc. Get creative here too!
* Buy frozen veggies when they're on sale. They are fresher this way than in the cans. And they stay good for MUCH longer than fresh produce, so you don't waste money on that bag of fresh carrots you bought that went bad before you could use half of them. Of course use fresh when it's something you really prefer - or if you use it alot. For instance, we use broccoli alot. I put it in casseroles, in salads, and in stir fry. So I can buy fresh broccoli and it won't go bad before I finish it. But if it's cheaper frozen that week, I'm not afraid to use it that way either. Whatever works!
* Double your dinner recipes so you can use leftovers for lunches. It'd typically cheaper and healthier if you cooked your own food rather than getting TV dinners or lunch out somewhere. Just make sure if you're doing this that you ARE making healthy dinners! :)
So that's all I can think of for right now.
What are your best tips for eating healthy on a budget, please tell us below!
~To Your Health~