I hear all the time how eating healthy on a budget just isn’t possible…how buying Ramen noodles is cheaper than fruits and vegetable. While this may be true, over the years I have found ways to stretch my dollar when it comes to purchasing healthy food on a tight budget…and I’m not talking about couponing!
In my home I prepare meals for 6 adults and 2 children Monday through Friday (I know…not your typical set up, but I want you to get the point that I’m feeding a decent amount of people). On average I spend right around $100 per week on groceries. Here are some tips I have learned about buying healthy food while feed a crown without it breaking the bank.
1. Make a menu for a week or two.
When I make a menu I am able to better gauge how much will be spent that week. Instead of five meals that week with chicken, I use chicken in one meal. You can balance out your pricier meals with cheaper meals so you don’t have to eat just beans every night.
2. Make a grocery list and stick to it.
Making a list can be really powerful when trying to eat healthy and save money. I always put fruits and veggies on my list. Processed cookies, soda, and chips don’t make it. When you create a healthy list and stick to it, that money you would have spent on Oreos in now a bag of grapes instead.
3. Go meatless one or two meals a week.
If you have always eaten a lot of meat, start with one day per week. We have gotten to a point where we buy very little meat because we eat meatless a couple nights a week and when I do cook with meat it’s just a little bit for flavoring. We rarely sit down to a piece of chicken. I honestly think this is one of the biggest areas we have saved.
Also, beans can be a great substitute for meat.
4. Join a vegetable co-op or buy produce from a local farmer’s market.
So I lived in quite a few different places. In Ohio I frequented a local farmer’s market where the produce was always less expensive than the store (and much tastier). I had to drive about 25 minutes away to get to it, but I got a group of friends together and we would all go together and take turns driving so the money we saved on food wasn’t lost on gas.
Now I live in Texas and haven’t been able to find a farmer’s market I like. I joined a vegetable co-op with 11 other families where we take turns buying produce from a distributor. It has saved us a lot of money.
Look into these options in your area to find ways to get more produce for less.
5. Cook from scratch as much as possible.
Besides maybe ramen and macaroni and cheese, most prepackaged foods are much more expensive to make to feed a family than buying the ingredients and putting it together yourself. Plus, when you make it from scratch you are in more control of the amounts of sodium, sugar, etc. that are going into your body.
What do you do to make your dollar stretch when trying to eat healthy on a budget?