How to Eat Healthy on a Tight Budget
- Possible Pat
- August 29, 2017
If you listen to the mainstream around you, most will say that eating healthy is expensive to do. They will also probably tell you that doing it without going broke is impossible. But I’m here to tell you that you can do it on your budget that you currently eat on, you will just have change the way you shop.
I know I used to buy a lot of junk food, and for the record, it’s expensive. A bag of Doritos is near $3.99 at my local grocery store, and that would have been just a snack for me. In swapping out what you are buying unhealthy, you’ll free up a lot of money to buy healthy foods. You’ll also get more bang for your buck when you’re not splurging on a ton of pre-made drive through meals because let’s be honest, most meals are around $8-10 bucks a piece now, and the dollar menu is far from filling for most people.
I always get the question of how to eat healthy on a tight budget so I wanted to share some of my secrets of shopping, prepping, and budgeting with you so you can eat healthy too.
And if you have invested in a Custom Meal Plan, you can apply these same tips and tricks that make healthy eating doable on any budget.
In this post you’ll learn:
> How to eat healthy and lose weight without breaking the
> Eating healthy if you’re a college student
> Top 10 Tips for healthy shopping on a budget
How to Eat Healthy on a Budget and Lose Weight
First, let’s start by talking about how changing your meals to lose weight is going to change your budget. If you are already eating pretty healthy, some of these tips won’t apply to you, since you won’t be cutting out junk food, but you will be able to use the tips on healthy food shopping for savings. However, if you’re new to this lifestyle change, then a lot of these first tips will have you making changes that will free up a lot of money.
If you are on a meal plan, these tips will also work for you. You’ll see an increase of veggies and healthy proteins on there and might be panicking thinking that these will raise your grocery bill. But, if you follow the tips below, you’ll be able to get all of the healthy foods that you need to be successful on your meal plan at a good price that won’t break the bank.
I have lived and proved that eating healthy can be done on a budget and still lost weight following my meal plan.
I wanted to address this question specifically because I have a lot of college-aged kids following my journey and wondering if it is possible to eat healthy at college, using just the meager college budget some kids have to live on.
The answer to that is also yes.
With the college budget, one of the most important things will be to use the meal plan that most students get and eat as many veggies and lean proteins from your meal halls as you can. Then you can supplement the rest through grocery shopping. Some things to consider when prepping for healthy college eating:
- If you can have a fridge in your dorm, always opt for one. This will help you keep healthy meals at hand.
- If your dorm has a shared kitchen that you can use, be sure to utilize it whenever possible. Cooking for yourself will always be cheaper than going out to eat.
- Split groceries with roomies that want to eat healthy as well, and that will help you buy in bulk and save money without the food going to waste.
- Take advantage of your meal plan to get the more expensive foods on campus, like lean protein and fresh veggies.
- Stock up on goods that keep a long time. Foods like canned veggies, tuna and rice packets that can be microwaved aren’t always your first choice, and they can come in handy and are way healthier than fast food choices when you’re hungry and in a rush.
Top 10 Ways to Shop for Healthy Food on Tight Budget
If you’re ready to save money, eat healthily and lose weight, I will give you these tips that I use.
- Shop with an actual meal plan. This means either using an actual meal plan that was made for you or a list of meals that you want to make and eat this week. Do not shop without a plan of what you will be eating, because you’ll end up just randomly putting stuff into the cart that often later gets thrown out and wastes money. If you know what you’re eating, then you’ll know how much you’ll need to buy and won’t over purchase. Look at your fridge and pantry, and check off what you already have so that you do not overbuy. Do not rely on your memory when shopping, and it’s easy to double buy.
- Only put stuff on your list into your cart. When you’re shopping, you’re being tempted by impulse purchases set up by the store to get you to buy more. They know what they are doing, it’s their business to tempt you and make money off of you. When you see something and really want to buy it, just write it on the back of the list, so that you can go home and have a week to determine if you need it for next week. If you looked into your cupboards and fridge and wrote down what you needed to eat, then you would already have everything you need on the list. Impulse buys add up and take money from your wallet that you don’t need to spend.
- Buy in bulk. This is really easy for people who have a set bulk section in your grocery store. But, if you don’t have a set bulk section, look at the larger sized containers. Often the price per oz or lb is a little lower. This works great on goods like oat, rice, beans and other dry goods. Also, spices can be bought in bulk, and a lot of money can be saved like that.
- Look at multiple flyers before going to shop. Each store in your area will run different specials each week. If you can go to two stores, then that’s a good way to get what’s on sale at both. If that is not an option, check which store has more stuff on sale that you need that week and go there. Knowing where you’ll get more bang for your buck beforehand will help you make a good plan.
- Plan meals by what’s on sale and what is in season. If you have a wide variety of foods you enjoy, then it will be great to see what is on sale and plan a few meals for you and your family using those things. This is an excellent way to take advantage of the sales. It’s also a great way to eat a variety of foods, and
- Buy frozen when fresh is out of season or not on sale. Frozen foods are just as nutritious as fresh because they are picked at the height of freshness and flash frozen to preserve the nutrients.
- Buy what proteins are on sale each week and freeze extra. Each week a different protein is on sale at my local market. Sometimes the discounts are so low that it makes sense to buy a few extra pounds of protein and then go home and freeze it. By doing this every few weeks, you would be able to stock up at the rock-bottom prices your store offers and
- Steer clear of single-serving products. This is the most expensive way to eat and drink your foods and beverages. While they are convenient for people who want things portioned or only have themselves to feed, you can still get that convenience by buying bigger packages and dividing the foods and drinks into containers for later.
- Stay out of the drive-through. I know that I used to depend on the drive-through, and the dollar menu can add up really quick when building a meal. Most actual meals are close to $10 per person, and this can lead to spending a lot more than you would for the food at the store.
- Freeze extra meals for later. If you find yourself making more food than you need for the week, don’t just let it sit and the fridge and go bad before you can eat it all. Freeze any extra you have and label it with a date. Most meals can freeze up to several months, and this will prevent waste. It will also take care of a few meals the following week when you can pull them out and reheat them to save money.
Take it from someone who spends endless hours eating take out and drive-thru meals: eating out is not cheaper. Following these tips each week will help you save money and eat for weight loss in a healthy way.
I meal plan every week to know exactly what to eat and how much I’ll need from the store. I do this by writing out what is on my meal plan and can see how much protein, veggie, and healthy carbs I’ll need to get me through the week. You can do this with your recipes that you prepare for yourself or your family as well or if you’re interested in getting on a meal plan then you can work off of that as well. One of the great benefits of being on a meal plan is that your food is already portioned out for you and your goals, and you’ll have all your meals laid out so you can easily write down what you need and not buy too much and let your groceries go to waste.
Let me know if you are already using any of these tips and tricks when shopping or if you have a great tip to share with other people that I didn’t cover. I would love to know how you save money and still eat healthy on a tight budget!
About Possible Pat
Hi, I'm Pasquale Brocco and I've lost A LOT of weight. When I started my journey to lose weight, I weighed 605 pounds. After visiting the doctor, I realized I had to make a change. I started with a simple plan and within 60 days, I lost 100 lbs. So far, I've lost over 307 pounds. Now, I'm sharing a simple message with you, "Anything is possible." If you can put on the weight, you can lose the weight.