Eating Healthy on a Budget

Trying to keep your body and your finances healthy can be frustrating when you’re on a budget. Between the costs of a gym membership and purchasing healthy food, you may find your wallet stretched thin at the end of the month. When taking a stroll through the grocery store, you may notice that the highly processed and sugary foods can be purchased with pennies, while the costs of a bushel of apples makes up a big portion of your grocery budget. While it may be tempting to trend toward more affordable and less healthy foods, you might end up paying more in the long term due to deteriorating health. So instead of purchasing junk, simply find ways to shop smarter.

Below are several ways to get the vitamins and nutrients your body craves without giving up your financial independence.

1. Shop seasonal

Food prices for certain types of produce may rise when one is out of season. Instead of sticking to a regimented grocery list, try mixing up your diet to include more fruits and vegetables that are in season. Not only will your grocery bill stay manageable, but you will be getting healthier produce at the peak of ripeness.

2. Avoid canned, go frozen
When fresh fruits and vegetables are too expensive, your first instinct may be to walk down the canned vegetable aisle. However, if you look at the ingredients, you’ll find that many of these products are loaded with sodium – which is not a girl’s best friend – and other preservatives to keep them fresh. Frozen foods are a better option, because the vegetables and fruits themselves are the only ingredients, making them a healthier option. In addition, many of these products are on sale or can be combined in “2 for $5 deals,” making them cost-effective. Frozen fruits can be thawed and added to whole grain cereals, yogurt and smoothies.

3. Eat more whole grains

Whole grain pastas, rice and quinoa can be purchased – often in bulk – for pennies on the dollar. As an added benefit, you can make several versatile meals that go a long way and keep you full for longer periods of time.

4. Rely on coupons, loyalty discounts

Use your smartphone to download weekly coupons on your grocery needs, and enroll in store loyalty programs. These programs typically offer discounts on your final price, and some even allow you to accrue gas points and other rewards.