Eating well on a budget may seem impossible. When good food is so expensive, how can you possibly eat a healthy diet? It may seem as though you can't afford good, healthy ingredients, and that you have no alternative to eating cheap, low-quality food. But even if your grocery budget isn't that high, you can still manage to eat a healthy, interesting diet. Here are some tips for eating well on a budget …
Eating well on a budget is made much easier if you make a meal plan. Otherwise you're more likely to grab something quick from the store on your way home. Quick meals will probably be unhealthy, not to mention expensive. Write a meal plan so that you can ensure you have all the necessary ingredients, and cook in bulk so that you can use leftovers to make quick meals.
2. Bulk Buy
Many healthy ingredients can be bought cheaply if you buy in bulk. You'll need to be sure that you can use up the entire packet in time before the expiry date, or you'll end up wasting some (and your money). Grocery staples like rice can be bought in huge sacks; you could club together with friends or neighbors to buy items like this.
It does seem as though healthy foods like fruit and vegetables are a shocking price these days. But if you add up what you spend on unhealthy junk food, you'll probably be surprised. It's a question of priorities; spend that 'junk food' money on healthy items instead. Also buy what is in season; importing them from other countries out of season is what makes them so expensive.
4. Reduced Price Items
Does your local store reduce food items in the evening? Pop in just before closing and you'll be surprised at what is on the reduced-price shelf - and how low the prices can be. You'll often find meat and other items from luxury ranges that would otherwise be out of your budget. Look for items that can be frozen, so that you don't have to use them up in a hurry..
5. Cook from Scratch
Cooking from scratch is nearly always cheaper than buying ready-made foods, and it will definitely be healthier. Prepared foods contain a lot of fat, additives and sugar. Buy the fresh ingredients to make a dish, and you may have enough to make several meals. Many of the ingredients like spices will last you for ages in the store cupboard.
6. Vegetarian Dishes
Even if you don't want to give up eating meat altogether, it's great for your budget to eat more vegetarian and vegan meals. Big bags of lentils and dried beans cost very little and will last for ages. They're a great source of protein and a portion will cost pennies, so is an excellent way of feeding a family cheaply and healthily.
7. Bargain Foods
Look for cheaper sources of healthy ingredients. Ethnic food stores often stock huge bags of ingredients like beans and spices at low prices. You'll be able to make a variety of interesting meals - cooking on a budget doesn't have to be dull!
If you're on a budget, you'll have to pass up some ingredients. But with careful shopping there will still be plenty that you can afford. What is your favorite budget meal?