“How can I eat healthy on a budget?”
If I had a nickel for every time someone asked me that I would be buying some Lululemon yoga pants!
The tension between pursuing my health and fitness goals and my financial goals is real. Healthy living is an investment in yourself–your health emotionally, physically, and spiritually. It can also be an investment that rewards you in less medical costs, longer lifespan, more activity, and joy in your day to day life. The healthy living investment can be costly in terms of time, but it can also be costly financially. A lot of people use that to hold them back from making changes for their health. While healthy living CAN be expensive, here are some ways I’ve found that have helped me live healthfully AND frugally.
1. Plan Smart
Have you ever thrown out a bag of half-ate salad that had gone bad? Left a bag of fish in your freezer till it had freezer burn? One of the best things I have done to save money with healthy eating is to plan my meals. The day before I shop I plan out all my dinners for the week and make my grocery list from those. I tend to pick the same things for lunches, breakfasts, and snacks each week so I know to just stock up on my essentials as they run out. Bottom line is to be proactive and plan ahead– frugal healthy living means you buy what you need and what you know you will eat.
2. Shop Smart
Okay, now you have your list in hand, full of healthy, deliciousness, your budget in mind and are ready to take on the store! Remember to never shop hungry! I normally shop first at Aldi (see my tips for shopping healthy at Aldi), they have expanded SO many of their healthy living products, have an organic and gluten free line, and recently eliminated artificial colors and flavorings from their ENTIRE line! After Aldi, I stop at Meijer and fill in anything else I need! Here are some other ways to shop frugally and healthfully:
- Frozen produce is also really easy and a good bargain for the price.
- I also use the Target Cartwheel and Meijer Mperks app to save money and earn rewards!
- I check for any coupons online and from the store that may match up to things on my list.
- Also, it’s super smart to stock up on sale items and loss leaders. I always check the meat counter especially for markdowns! You can always freeze extra sale meats!
- I don’t shop at Costco or Sam’s Club, but they normally have great healthy options, just be sure you can eat them before they go bad!
- I shop with a calculator in hand to add up my prices as I go to make sure I’m staying on budget!
- I also carefully read labels if I’m checking out a new product. I want to be sure I’m not filling up my family on overly processed food!
- I try to get produce fresh at roadside stands or farmer’s markets when in season!
3. Track Smart
One of the best ways to reduce your overall calorie intake and eat healthier is to write down what you eat. While you can do this through paid services, you can also do it for completely free!
- Just write it down in a notebook. Take pen to paper and jot down your meals and snacks and water intake throughout the day.
- Use a free app. Myfitnesspal is my personal favorite and they have a HUGE amount of food in their database. Tracking macro nutrients and your weight loss is really simple with the app!
4. Drink Smart
If you are using a computer to access the internet you probably have access to clean, low-cost, easily accessible water. So drink it!! It is one of the easiest and cheapest things you can do for your health and weight loss. Drink a big glass before a meal to curb your appetite and try to drink half your weight in ounces of water each day. A little flavored sparkling water is great to change things up too!
5. Sleep Smart
You don’t have to tell this busy mama to get to bed–I guard my 8 hours of sleep like it’s a chest of gold. It doesn’t cost you anything to go to bed a little earlier. And it feels SO GOOD! Sleep helps you combat stress, feel energized for your workouts, resist treats, and boost your metabolism. It’s such a simple thing, but it makes a HUGE difference and is absolutely free!
What tips do you have for frugal healthy living? How do you save money on healthy groceries?