People oftentimes think eating healthy comes with a giant price tag. And in a world of juice bars, costly gym memberships, and expensive produce, it’s easy to fall into that way of thinking. Luckily, you don’t have to submit to this trendy “expensive” temptation to get fit and feel amazing. Yes, there is a way to eat cheap and healthy food. 🙂
In fact, you can employ a bunch of strategies to boost your health and get the physique of your dreams without breaking the bank. Although you’ll save more money tossing processed junk-food into your cart versus clean foods, you’ll pay for these choices in the long run. Regular consumption of junk-food can lead to numerous health issues down the road, including putting you at a higher risk for obesity, certain cancers, diabetes, heart disease, stress, and anxiety.
The bottom line? Taking control of your health now saves you cash down the road, not to mention it’ll boost your quality of life significantly! In this post, I want to point out some invaluable lifestyle advice on how to embody the healthiest version of yourself, while not going broke doing it.
How to Eat Healthy on a Budget
Contrary to popular belief, eating healthily doesn’t mean emptying your wallet at the grocery store. The following points will help you follow a budget-friendly diet plan your body and taste buds will thank you for!
Gather up your pantry staples
Eating clean doesn’t mean searching high and low for exotic berries or fat-burning spices. Stock your pantry with simple ingredients you can use in countless dishes. These include:
- Oils for cooking: Healthy oils include extra virgin olive oil, ghee, coconut oil, and avocado oil.
- Vinegar: Balsamic and Apple Cider Vinegar make great salad dressing additions, and carry a boatload of health benefits.
- Grains: Simple grains like quinoa, brown rice, and whole grain pasta can be used as the foundation for many meals, and come at an affordable price.
- Legumes: Legumes like lentils carry valuable, body-loving nutrients and surprisingly low price tag! Other legumes include canned or boxed beans, which come with filling fiber and protein.
- Rolled Oats: Perhaps the cleanest, cheapest staple on the market, rolled oats are a pantry must-have and can star in numerous drool-worthy breakfast dishes!
- Nut butter: Packed with protein and low in carbs, nut butters carry a clean, low-sodium nutritional profile and make wonderful companions to fruits like bananas and apples, especially for breakfast.
- Trail Mix: A nutrient-rich snack with a slightly-sweet kick, trail mix makes a scrumptious grab-and-go solution when you’re craving something to hold you over between meals. Whip up your own by following this Healthy Trail Mix recipe!
For a full, comprehensive list of foods, you should gather up at the grocery store, check out this awesome Budget Weight Loss Shopping List! Jump-start your health by gathering all the necessary ingredients to enjoy delicious meals and snacks without busting your bank account.
Plan your meals and look for sales and specials
When you plan your meals each week, think about what kind of meals you want to eat, and gather up ingredients that can be used multiple times. With the grocery recommendations above, you have the ingredients to whip up affordable meals that cost significantly less than hitting the fast food joint or getting takeout.
Check out the following recipe archives for some delectable and affordable meal ideas!
How to make budget-friendly meals that last
When whipping up a hearty dish, make extra to store in the freezer. This will save you cash and a huge chunk of time, especially on busy weeknights when you’ve forgotten to plan dinner! When it comes time to cook, make sure to account for your extra hectic days during the upcoming week, and pop your leftovers in the freezer strategically for these days. If it turns out you have time to cook on one of those nights, even better!
Need inspiration? Check out these 14 Healthy Freezer Meals to Make your Life Easier or these 5 Crockpot Freezer Meals with 5 Ingredients or Fewer. You’re welcome!
For more tips on how to live an uber-healthy, budget-friendly life, check out these 7 Tips for Eating Healthy on a Budget!
Use fewer ingredients
A shorter ingredient list means fewer items to pick up at the grocery store and, ultimately, more cash in your pocket. Check out these convenient archives for downright delicious recipes that require no more than 7 ingredients!
Cut back on meat (and use less expensive cuts)
Meat products typically come at a high price. Although packed with satisfying protein, meat consumed on a daily basis actually isn’t the best for your health. With the limitless possibilities of vegetarian recipes out there, you can easily whip up dishes that deliver ample amounts of protein and require no animal products whatsoever. In fact, protein-packed alternatives to meat tend to be cheap in comparison and offer more vitamins and minerals than the meat itself.
Freeze your produce
You can actually buy produce when it’s on sale and freeze it right away before it starts to go bad. You end up preserving your fruits and vegetables and you’ll have an abundance of produce on hand when you need it without worrying about it spoiling. I keep a bag frozen spinach, strawberries, blueberries, bananas that are pre-portioned out for morning smoothies. No produce should go wasted! 🙂
Getting Fit on a Budget
Exercising on a regular basis boosts your fitness levels and strengthens your body, while protecting you from health-related issues later on. That said, exercise represents one of the cheapest, most effective ways to invest in your future. Yes, we said cheapest. You don’t need an expensive gym membership to squeeze in an awesome workout; in fact, you don’t need a membership at all. Whether you want to lose weight, tone your figure, or simply boost your endurance, you can power through countless exercise routines in the comfort of your own home.
Workout at Home
Depending on your fitness goals, we’ve got workout routines for you that’ll torch calories, build muscle, and boost endurance. And best of all? You can do these workouts anytime, anywhere, especially at home!
Workout with Friends
Not only does working out with others make the process more enjoyable, it’ll also help you stick to your fitness goals without giving up. Meanwhile, working out alongside friends means constant motivation in times where you might otherwise feel discouraged. And if your friend’s bail or simply hate exercising, there are apps out there that connect you with your local community based on activities you specify and help you join groups that share common interests.
We like Meetup, an app that offers a directory of local communities built around nearly every type of category imaginable. It seems like there really is an app for everything, right?
If you do want to join a gym, strategically plan your joining time. Memberships tend to cost less during the summer since many people enjoy exercising outdoors and business is slower. Meanwhile, memberships also cut their costs towards the end of December oftentimes, so keep an eye out for discounts during the summer and winter season!
Keep Your Eyes Peeled for Bargain Classes
When you shop on sites like Groupon or Living Social, you’ll find discounted prices for fitness classes offered to new members. These sites slash the prices considerably, so you can save a boatload of cash on all sorts of classes, from hot yoga to kickboxing. Meanwhile, take advantage of freebies like guest passes and trial classes offered to new members.
Well, there you have it. When you begin to shop smarter, make meals at home, and practice healthy habits, you’ll soon realize that it’s easier to live healthy, rather than unhealthily, on a budget. We hoped you enjoyed this article, and we wish you great budget-friendly health!
Do you have any healthy eating tips you’d like to share with us? Let us know in the comments below! Make sure that you subscribe to our newsletter, so that you don’t miss out on anything SkinnyMs.!