August 14, 2016
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You don't need to spend a lot of money to eat smart. All it takes is a few changes in your daily routine to make a healthy impact. Start by eating less of the unhealthy stuff (sugar, processed foods, high-calorie foods, carbs) and introducing nutrient-rich alternatives. You can also take up a healthy but low-cost habits like hiking, biking, or swimming. If you're looking for new ways to eat better on a tight budget, we've got some smart ideas you will be eager to try.
Health starts in the kitchen, after all. Subscribe to our emails to receive alerts about sales and promotions going on at your Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, Sprouts Farmers Market, Vons, and Safeway. You can also make a trip to your local farmers' market, and check out our guide on What to Buy and What Not to Buy there.
- Buy In-Season Produce. You know fresh fruits and veggies are good for you. Unfortunately, many of us don't buy produce very often because it's often very pricey. There are a few tricks you should know to help you save money on healthy essentials. One of those tricks is to buy in-season produce when it's freshes and cheapest. Winter is the best time to purchase beets, kale, parsnips, and potatoes. Spring and summer are the best seasons to get apricots, peaches, blueberries, and strawberries. Fall is the prime time to buy bell peppers, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, Swiss chard, and turnips. Some produce like apples and bananas can be found for a bargain year-round. If you can't find certain produce in-season or you don't want to wait, you can always opt for frozen fruits and veggies.
Source: Stay Healthy LA
- Take Advantage Of Sales. Most grocery stores offer weekly sales on specific items including meat, fish, low-fat milk, and produce. Check your local grocer's retail ads for the most current deals and plan your menu around the the current week's specials. If you find excellent deals on meats or seafood, take advantage of the sale and buy a plentiful amount. Just store the extra food in the freezer to make it last.
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Source: The Lala
- Consume More Beans And Legumes. Beans and legumes are healthy staples that should be a part of everyone's diet. Since most beans (dried and canned) are cheap, you can easily keep in stock for many meal options. You can make soups, salads, chilis, and dips. You can also use beans as a meat alternative and add it to things like tacos and burgers. Most legumes are generally healthy, but some beans are a little bit healthier than others. Your best choices include black beans, lentils, and black-eyed peas.
- Start Using Coupons. Most coupons are made for processed and prepackaged foods, but you can find coupons for quality foods if you know where to look. If you already have a favorite brand that makes healthier options (Dole, Dannon, Yoplait, Earth's Best, Kashi, or Horizon Organic), follow their social media pages or subscribe to their email lists to get coupons. Don't forget to take advantage of your grocery store's customer loyalty program to nab special offers and receive coupons tailored to your purchase history.
Related news: A Beginner's Guide to Stacking Coupons
Source: Virginia Cooperative Extension
- Change Snacking Habits. Save money by making and bringing your own healthy snacks. Keep small bags of grapes or sliced vegetables in the fridge for instant snack satisfaction. Pack a homemade version of the Lunchable with shredded rotisserie chicken, whole wheat crackers, and carrot sticks. If you have a sweet tooth, consider making your own trail mix with dark chocolate, cashews, and dried fruit. Make your snacks ahead of time and keep them in the fridge (or pantry if necessary) to ensure that you'll have something available without having to resort to the unhealthy vending machines.
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Source: Busy Bee Wellness
- Drink More Water For Less. You already know the importance of drinking water everyday, but are you getting enough? Many of us spend a lot of money on bottled water as we think that's our only option for a healthy beverage, but do you know how much money you are wasting? One bottle of water often costs as much as $2 to $3, and the water you're drinking is no better than the tap you get from home. Save extra money and invest in a simple water filter system for better tasting tap water that won't put a dent in your wallet.
Source: MTL Blog
- Learn The Art Of Cooking. Think of the amount of money you will save by incorporating more whole foods into your diet and cooking your own meals. Sure it is more labor intensive to cut, dice, and slice your own foods, but it's good to know what exactly is going into your foods. It's also fun to get a little creative and try different things.
Source: Lynchburg Parks & Rec
There are so many ways you can incorporate healthier food in your life without spending more than you have to. All you need to do is to learn to differentiate nutritional values to find the best foods and use your smart money saving skills to get the most for less.