Although it may not seem possible when you are loading your cart in the aisles of the grocery store, it is possible to eat healthy, fabulous food on a tight budget. Here are some of the ways you can fill your family’s plate with nutritious meals without breaking your budget.
1. Ditch the Junk Food
When it comes to getting the most nutrition for your money, eliminating junk food is a no brainer. Things like soft drinks, cookies, and prepackaged meals offer limited nutrition which means any money you spend on them is decreasing the amount of money you have to spend on foods that are better for you. Cutting out the cost of these items will give you more room in your budget for fresh produce and whole grains.
2. Plan Ahead
One of the things that can derail our best intentions faster than anything is when we don’t plan ahead. This leads to lots of last minute grocery store stops and significantly more eating out than we plan. Eating out costs more than cooking at home and those last minute stops can really impact our grocery budget. Planning menus beforehand allows us to shop for the best food at the best price and ensures we always have what we need to make dinner at home without an extra stops at the store.
3. Make a List
Part of planning ahead is making a shopping list but the list won’t help you get the food you need to feed your family and stick to your budget if you don’t follow it. Avoid adding things to your cart that aren’t on the list. If you see something you think you need that is not on the list, take a note and add it to the list for next time.
4. Bulk Up
Buying in bulk can save money but so can cooking in bulk. One of the reasons we end up eating out or grabbing something quick on the way home is that cooking dinner at home takes time. If you make some of your meals in bulk, you can freeze the extra for later. This means you will always have some healthy homemade options on the nights when cooking isn’t in the cards.
5. Go Direct
Another way to get the most food for the money in your budget is to go direct to the farmers market or farm stand. Oftentimes, you can get high quality fruit, vegetables, baked goods, meat, dairy, and herbs for lower prices when you buy direct.
6. Buy In Season
You can find the highest quality, lowest cost produce when it is in season. If you can find great deals on produce you family eats all the time, buying extra and canning, freezing, or dehydrating it will enable you to enjoy the health benefits of low cost, high quality, locally grown produce all year long.
7. Cook at Home
One of the best ways to decrease your overall food expenditures is to cook as many meals as possible at home. This not only helps you control the money you are spending, it helps you provide your family with the healthiest diet possible.