Making sure you’re getting a balanced meal can be hard when you also need to stay on budget.
In fact, after a few trips to almost any supermarket, it’s easy to start wondering if grocery stores even want you to buy healthy foods. After all, it always seems like the “healthy” food options (fresh fruits and veggies, leaner meats, whole wheat carbs, etc.) are way more expensive than pre-made processed foods and frozen dinners.
Yet trying to save money on food by avoiding healthier options in favor of foods that are overly high in salt, sugar and saturated fat could end up costing you in the long-run by possibly affecting your health and quality of life.
What if there was a way to have both? That is, what if you could prepare healthy meals while still lowering your overall food costs?
It might take a little work, but it’s possible. By carefully planning your meals the right way, you might be able to find the right ingredients to create healthy meals on a budget.
Just follow these tips:
- Plan around what you already have. Whether you want to cook weight loss meals or just get some healthier foods on your plate, it’s easy to get carried away when planning meals. Before you even start choosing recipes, though, take a look at what you have. Build your shopping trips around your pantry to avoid paying for one-recipe ingredients that you will never use again.
- Meal prep for the week. It might take a little longer to plan out your recipes for a whole week, but the less room you have for spontaneous buys, the more likely you will be to save money in the long-run.
- Don’t stray from your grocery list. When you’re trying to lower your spending, discipline is key. When making your shopping list, be sure to account for snacking and a guilty pleasure here and there, but don’t deviate once you reach the supermarket. Stick to what you planned to get and keep your hands away from extra items.
- Set a budget. Once you have a good handle on the items above, you can get even more organized by setting a long-term budget. This is hard to do at the beginning because it’s hard to know what’s realistic. But once you’ve been sticking to a meal plan for a couple of months, you’ll be able to create a food budget that will turn those initial successes into a long-term lifestyle.