You don't need to eat expensive, organic foods to be healthy. There are many simple tricks you can use that will help you stay on budget while still eating right. Here are 7 quick tips for staying healthy without breaking the bank!
Shop Weekly Ads
One of the best ways to save money on groceries and eat healthy is by shopping the weekly ads. Find the weekly ads in your local newspaper or online. Most of the grocery stores post their weekly ads either on Friday or Saturday before the sales start. Learning how to cut costs at the grocery store all year long can really add some moolah to your bottom line.
I think this is awesome because it allows you to see if you should take advantage of the current weeks sales or wait until Sunday to shop the new week sales.
Compare prices of your favorite grocery stores and find the best deals on the healthy items before you go shopping.
Create a Grocery List & Plan Meal Ahead
Another great way to save money is by creating a grocery list based on the weekly ad sales and sticking to it. This will help you avoid buying unnecessary items that can end up costing you more in the long run.
If you spend some time meal planning each week, you can focus on buying only the items you need for your meals that week instead of shopping blindly. By planning ahead, you can map out meals full of nutritious foods and create a menu for the week.
Creating a menu for the week can be a fun way to include the kids and get them mentally prepared for what to expect so there are no arguments about dinner every night. Everyone can agree Tuesdays will be tacos! Here are some healthy inexpensive meals you can incorporate in your menu:
- ground turkey spaghetti sauce with whole grain pasta
- brown rice chicken taco bowls
- baked chicken, mashed sweet potatoes, and broccoli
- Southwest chicken and brown rice
The kids will love these, and if chicken breast is on sale that week it’s a win-win!
Avoid Processed Foods
Processed foods are often high in sodium and unhealthy fats, which can lead to weight gain and health problems and can be expensive. Removing the processed foods out of the cabinets can turn your household upside down if it’s not done gradually.
- Start swapping out the old snacks for healthier ones. Such as goldfish crackers, buy the whole grain option. Or, instead of Oreos buy graham crackers and add some peanut butter.
- Another option is to only buy one processed snack for the week. Once those cookies, chips, etc., are gone then there are no other options except healthy ones.
I know you are probably thinking “my kids are going to go crazy if I take away their snacks”, or “fruits and veggies are expensive!” Trust me when I say your kids will get used to the healthy snacks, and this is where shopping your weekly ads come in handy.
One great way to save money on groceries is by eating seasonally. Fresh fruits and vegetables that are in season will usually be much cheaper than those that are out of season. The weekly ads will show you the fruits and vegetables on sale, plan accordingly. This is an opportunity to try some new healthy foods and look up some recipes or snack options for the sales items.
It would be nice to switch up your typical meals for healthier ones, right?! Are you the basic burgers and fries family? How about turkey burgers and sweet potato fries instead? Sign me up!
Be smart about where you shop
There are some grocery chains out there that charge more than others simply due to convenience. You have probably noticed your local grocery store is more expensive than the big box stores such as Walmart. However, it may be worth the time to make two stops during your weekly shopping trip.
If your local grocer or farmers market has an amazing selection and sale on fresh produce and meat (like whole chicken) for the week then stop there first to grab those items. Then you can head over to Walmart to get everything else.
Shopping only at the local grocery chain can easily increase your grocery budget by $10 – $15 every week. Think about what else you could use that money for each month.
Cook at home
Cooking at home is another great way to save money and eat healthier. You can control what ingredients go into your meals, which means you can avoid unhealthy additives and preservatives. Trying out new spices and brown rice versus white rice can be fun.
I find that many people will say they don’t like something but have never tried it. Or they are afraid to try it when they go out to eat because they don’t want to waste their money if they don’t like it.
You can make your own salad dressing, condiments, and even a healthy snack for the kids to take to school like dried fruit leather.
Here’s your opportunity to live a little on the adventurous side and mix up those taste buds. Plus, cooking at home is usually cheaper than eating out. You are cutting the cost of delivery and any other convenience fees included in the price.
I also like to cook a little extra to have enough for lunch the next day, which brings me to my next tip:
Take advantage of leftovers
Single moms everywhere: make sure to take advantage of any leftover food. If there's a bit of this and a bit of that in the fridge after dinner, put it all together to create a brand-new meal.
Not only will you save money by not having to buy extra ingredients, but you'll also be reducing your environmental impact by using up everything that would have otherwise gone to waste. Less food waste is always a win. The other bonus is it’s all healthy.
Yes, you can eat healthy on a budget!
The good news is that you don’t need to be an expert chef or spend a lot of money to make healthy choices. With some time and effort, it can become second nature for any budget-minded single mom. If you take advantage of leftovers and cook at home when possible, it is not too difficult to stay within your grocery budget.
Avoid processed foods by shopping weekly ads or eating seasonally; shop smarter rather than just buying what's convenient for the time being. If healthier living is something that has been eluding you because of money constraints, try some of these tips today!