Americans love to eat. Each person with an annual income of $75,000 spends nearly $8,000 a year on food and alcohol, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Living on a tight budget, doesn’t have to mean a life of ramen noodles and the unidentifiable meat product rolling around in the 7-11 hot tray. You can eat healthy on a budget while still saving money.
Cook at home
Eating out can be convenient, but it’s a convenience for which you pay. Try cooking meals at home to save on costs and packing your lunch for work. Don’t know how to cook? Consider learning how as a new skill to master and impress your friends and family. Learning easy ways to cook simply is a YouTube search away. Check out some tips here. Bonus: Expand what you cook by searching for ethnic foods that use cheaper staple ingredients like Mexican or Indian foods.
Plan your meals based on what’s on sale so you can price out what you need. Take advantage of generic brands and coupons at local grocery stores. Also, consider buying in bulk for additional savings. When food shopping, remember this simple rule: Don’t shop hungry! It will save you from impulse spends.
Power up with protein
Proteins (beef, fish, chicken) can get costly, but buying cheaper cuts of meat is a simple solution. Use these meats in stews or crock pot recipes to help prep several days worth of food in advance. Also, consider other forms of proteins like eggs or canned tuna which are less costly.
Eat whole foods
Learn more about when fruits and vegetables are in season so you can buy them cheaper. Bought too much? Most of these foods can be frozen which gives you a chance to enjoy them later in the year. Whole grains and legumes, including quinoa and kidney beans, keep you fuller longer. Many grains and legumes can be used as a healthy filler to complete a protein-based meal.
Cooking in bulk can help you save on time throughout the week. Plan what to do with your leftovers so you don’t lose money by throwing out food. Keeping your fridge organized can help.
Eat healthy on a budget
Still thinking about living la vida ramen? Consider this. Not eating healthy will cost you in the long run. A diet lacking in vitamins, minerals and other nutrients can affect your overall health and well-being leading to more costs in doctor’s visits.