Are you trying to eat healthier to lose weight, but don’t want to lighten your wallet? Follow these 10 easy tips to maximize nutritional benefits, while keeping within your budget.
1. Cut Out Junk Food
Although the clever packaging on processed products like cereal, crackers and even cookies can make them seem like health foods, your body will benefit much more if you stick with the nutrient-rich single ingredient foods along the perimeter of the store. To get the most nutritious bang for your buck, choose whole foods over processed products. For example, grab fruit and nuts instead of energy or granola bars.
2. Drink More Water
Soft drinks, sports drinks, sweetened teas, caffeinated concoctions, low-fat milk and many alcohol beverages provide shocking amounts of sugar, artificial sweeteners and other hazardous ingredients. Ditch the sugar habit and save money by drinking more water. Add variety to plain H2O with zesty citrus wedges, cooling cucumber slices, spicy grated ginger or refreshing frozen berries.
3. Shop With a Plan
Failing to plan is planning to fail. Be prepared by making a list of the items needed ahead of time. Look for local produce as it’s naturally in-season making it more nutritious and better priced than anything imported. Lastly, eat before shopping to keep from buying every “drool-worthy” item in sight.
4. Stock Up On Sales
Look up the grocery store website for coupons, weekly sales and monthly specials. Stock up on frequently used items such as butter, sea salt, ground meats, eggs, bananas, or nut butter. Another option is to shop for deals online at Thrive Market, Amazon or Vitacost.
5. Buy In Bulk
Items such as coconut oil, nuts, nut butter, gluten-free grains, dried fruits, coconut flakes, herbs and spices tend to be cheaper in bulk bins or bulk packaging. Thrive Market, Amazon and Vitacost are great options for buying non-perishable groceries online.
6. Be Freezer Friendly
Frozen fruits, vegetables and meats can actually be much cheaper than fresh foods, especially for organic options. Many of the produce items contain the same amount of nutrients, if not more, because they’re frozen when ripe instead of being picked before ripening and shipped a long distance to the market.
7. Learn To Cook
Dining out is certainly convenient, but can be quite costly. It’s time to terminate take-out and ditch the drive thru by learning to cook quick and delicious meals at home. With homemade meals you know exactly what you’re eating and it’s made with love. You can also save money by packing leftovers for lunch the next day.
8. Use a Slow Cooker
Make mouth-watering lunches and dinners without spending much time in the kitchen by using a slow cooker. A slow cooker or crock pot costs about $30 and is excellent for tougher, cheaper cuts of meat.
9. DIY Dressing
Most store-bought dressings are loaded with refined sugars, man-made fats and additives. Boost nutrients and benefit your budget by making fresh dressing using olive oil with citrus juice, apple cider vinegar or balsamic. Add herbs and spices for extra flavor.
10. Make Organic Count
Opt for organic with animal products such as eggs, butter, chicken, yogurt, etc. Local farmers will often give you a good deal if you buy in bulk or if they know you’re a frequent customer. Also go organic with the following produce: apples, celery, berries, peaches, nectarines, grapes, bell peppers, potatoes, lettuce, and leafy greens (kale, collards, spinach).