One of the most common goals for the New Year is to adopt healthier eating habits, which is great. What isn’t great is that transitioning to a healthier diet can be more expensive and strain your food budget. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Take a look at these ways to help you eat healthy on a budget.
Use What You Already Have — When starting a new eating plan, it might seem easier to just get rid of everything you have and start with a clean slate. It’s efficient, but it’s not economical. Chances are, you have plenty of healthy foods hanging around your pantry, fridge and freezer, but they’ve probably been ignored. Take inventory, then make it a point to use up the food you have by looking for healthy recipes that incorporate those ingredients.
Don’t Overbuy — No matter what healthy eating plan you choose, virtually all of them are going to be heavy on fresh fruits and vegetables, so the natural inclination is to stock up. The problem is that fresh produce goes bad quickly and there’s a good chance a lot of it will go to waste if you buy too much. It’s a better idea to shop for enough to use for a few days at a time, until you know what your new routine is going to be. If after a few weeks you’re still making yourself a powerhouse green smoothie every morning, go ahead and buy in bulk.
Make a Plan — A kitchen filled with healthy food isn’t going to do you any good if you don’t know what to do with it. Plan out your daily menus, including snacks, so you know what you’re going to be eating and when. Remember to leave yourself plenty of time to prepare it, too. Waiting until you’re ravenous before you decide what to make will lead you to the drive-thru and leave your healthy choices to go to waste.
Stock the Pantry — A well-stocked pantry is your best friend when trying to stretch your food budget. Having the basics on-hand means you won’t have to run to the store for just one or two ingredients, and you’ll be able to pull together a quick meal without much effort.
Spice it Up — If your current spice selection starts and ends with salt and pepper, it’s time to branch out. Putting together a collection of herbs and spices will allow you to be more creative in your cooking, and being able to prepare delicious meals will help you stick with your healthy eating goals.