Eating healthy can be a challenge if you find it difficult to spend on expensive grass-fed beef, wild-caught salmon and pasture-raised chicken. Weight management, nutrition and satisfying taste buds become a problem when we go grocery shopping on a budget.
Putting healthy and wholesome meals on the table again becomes a problem when we come home late from work, drained and exhausted, ready to heat the ready-made meal sitting in the freezer. Cooking from scratch seems impossible on most weekdays.
If you are on a diet, budget constraints present a huge challenge to healthy grocery shopping and eating wholesome meals.
Long-term health benefits are without doubt worth more than all the money you save foregoing fresh veggies and healthy meat. And a healthy body is so very essential if you want a healthy and happy mind.
Here are a few tips for you to eat healthy and tasty, maintain weight and, at the same time, stick to a tight budget.
1. Plan Ahead
Though mentioned on every blog possible, this is one thing that most of us are bad at.
School projects, late mornings, family and friends dropping in, and the occasional movie all lead to super busy weekends. Cram in tidying a messy home into the milieu and the last thing you have time for is to prep for the next week’s meals.
The best thing you can do is make a list of the tasks you need to finish well in advance, say by Thursday or Friday. This will help keep you motivated to finish them off when you find some free time on the weekend.
If you put off shopping for groceries then your entire meal plan will fall apart, so the first step towards wholesome eating is to find enough time to bring those veggies and fruits home.
2. How to Shop Veggies Cheap?
Seasonal veggies and fruits tend to be cheaper than the ones that are not in season. So the next time you visit the farmers market or supermarket, carry a list of veggies and fruits that are in season. In this way you can buy the cheapest and freshest of groceries available, and if you still have money to spare spend on quality meat and fish.
Clip and collect coupons and offers for freebies that supermarkets in your area come out with. This is a time-tested, easy and sure-shot way to save valuable grocery dollars.
Frozen veggies and fruits are as, if not more, nutritious than fresh produce. Also, they have an infinite shelf life if you keep them in the freezer, and are ready for use whenever you need them. Bulk buying of frozen produce will enable you to get discounts as well. Corn, broccoli florets, edamame, chopped spinach, peas, bell pepper blends, Asian stir-fry veggies, mushrooms and Brussels sprouts – all of them taste great frozen, are nutrient dense and are cheaper than their fresh counterparts.
It is a well-known fact that veggies and fruits are sold in farmers’ markets at discounted price near to closing hours. Since the produce is fresh and they spoil soon, growers do not prefer to pack and transport them back. They would rather take a cut in their profits than suffer a complete loss. This gives you major bargaining power to buy at a profit, and at the same time eat super-healthy, organic and natural food.
3. Choose Money-Saving Options for Buying Meat and Fish
Many a time meat and poultry nearing their expiry date will be on sale at super markets. Buy them in ample quantities and stock up your freezer. You will have enough to feed your family for quite a long time.
Cheaper cuts of meat are your best bet if you have a household to feed. Not only is it possible to buy sufficient quantities but they also are as nutritious as the pricier cuts. Flank, chuck, briskets or shin of beef may sound unappetizing and intimidating to cook, but with the right recipes they make for delicious, flavorful and wholesome meals. Pork cheeks, chump, belly and neck can also be savored if you try out apt dishes. Cheaper steak cuts are available for a bargain at most stores so try them out if your family loves meat and cannot do without it.
Lean meat is great if you are on a diet. It serves the much-needed protein and is filling as well.
Smoked-salmon trims are much cheaper than salmon fillets and regular smoked varieties. The trims are bits, shavings and pieces left over after slicing the fish, and are just as delicious and healthy.
Ensure that you have the required portions of seafood in your daily diet. The omega-3 fats found in fishes like salmon, sardine, mackerel, anchovies, trout and mussels is essential to maintain the health of your vital organs, and the beauty of your hair and skin.
Frozen and canned fish are cheaper than fresh ones. Buy cheaper fish like black cod, trout or Arctic char to get the necessary nutrients without breaking the bank. Also, add seafood to hearty dishes or prepare seafood sauces and soups that help stretch expensive buys. Not only can you afford to feed your whole family you can also make seafood last longer.
4. Spend Money on Your Well-Being
A healthy and fit body requires more than healthy food and plentiful fluids.
You also need to be mindful about your needs. Ensure you take time out every day and stay connected to who you really are. It is easy to lose ourselves immersed in family and work. Be kind to yourself and make room for mistakes and guilt. Nothing is bad as long as it is not in excess and is not crippling. Learn from experience and always be sincere in all that you do, the rest doesn’t really matter.
Save money for holidays or solo travel (if that’s your thing). Take a break, step away and relish new experiences. It does a whole world of good to your body and mind.
Sign up for gym or yoga classes, and maintain a disciplined exercise routine. Even a brisk walk or a light jog in the morning can brighten up your mind and pep up your body.
Invest in your health and well-being today and reap rewards for all time to come.
A tight budget and super-healthy eating do not always go together. Look away from latest fads and trending superfoods, and you will find there are cheaper options available. What your mom said was healthy for you still is. Eat plenty of greens, exercise, and limit sugars and fats, and you will realize it is easy to keep your weight under check without burning a hole in your pocket.