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How to Eat Healthy on a Budget

February 06, 2019

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The beginning of the year is when many people make New Year's Resolutions that they have good intentions to keep, but tend to fall off the wagon after just a month or two. Two of the top three New Year’s Resolutions for 2019, according to yougov.com, are to, “Eat Healthier,” and, “Save Money”. 

When you’re on a tight budget and always in a rush, it’s often easier to go to a fast food restaurant or just microwave a frozen dinner. The problem is, these items are often full of sodium, sugar and saturated fat and eating out can add up fast. So how can you eat healthier on a budget? Here are some tips:

  1. Slow down. Eating healthy requires a little time and attention. Many people rush through their days, wolfing down their meals mindlessly, so they can hurry to the next appointment. Give yourself a little time to shop mindfully, prepare your food, and fully savor your meal.

  2. Meal plan for the week. Before you go grocery shopping, take some time to plan each of your meals. Maybe you cook a whole chicken on Sunday for dinner and then use the leftovers to make chicken soup for another meal that week.

  3. Buy produce in season and freeze it. Fruits and vegetables cost more when they have to be shipped from far-away sunny lands that can still grow produce in November. Buy these items locally, in season, and freeze them for use in the winter. For more on this, take a look at our Freezer Tips for Smart Savers blog.

  4. Start your own vegetable garden. You can easily grow lettuce and tomatoes in small planters on a balcony or, if you have a yard, stake out a few feet to grow even more. You’ll even get a little exercise while you do it.

  5. Buy in bulk. Many grocery stores offer dry goods in bulk, saving you the usual packaging costs. You can also save on meat by buying in larger quantities and rewrapping in smaller, meal-sized portions. Freeze those portions to use for weeks to come.

  6. Check your dining-out habit. If you eat at restaurants often, the habit is taking a big bite out of your wallet. On average, a restaurant meal costs almost 5 times more than a homemade meal. Save dining out for special occasions. 

Even if you can’t do everything on this list, try picking two or three of these things to start. You’ll be surprised at how easy these things can become a habit and really save you money in the long run.

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