Healthy Eating On a Budget

CoachMel Healthy Eating 17 Comments

Isn’t eating something we all love to do? I know I certainly do! 🙂

But alas, it seems people can’t stop complaining about how, “Healthy food is so expensive.”

If your normal diet consists of frozen chips and baked beans, I suppose healthy food would seem like a pretty big stretch.

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But, if you value your health in any shape or form, I honesty don’t think it’s too much to ask that you add a bit more fresh produce into your diet.

So, how can you get smart and start taking control of the food coming out of your kitchen on a daily basis?

Well, a little creativity and lots of self-control will go a long way–you’ll finally get the hang of healthy eating on a budget:

1. Avoid junk food

Junk food is expensive–period!

So, rather than scoffing this junk morning, noon and night opt for fresh, whole foods at each of your meals and snacks, and eat them in smaller portions.

To add extra bulk to your meals without increasing the cost too much, go for cheaper healthy foods such as dried beans, peas and lentils.

2. Drink water

Try to drink at least 8 glasses of water each day, rather than going for unhealthy expensive drinks such as sodas, energy drinks, and store-bought coffees.

If you’re eating out don’t be tempted to part with your hard-earned cash to fill your body with these sugar-laden beverages, remember plain old water is so much more refreshing, healthy, and absolutely free.

3. Plan ahead

This is my ultimate, number one, ‘bestest’ (not a word, I know!!), most useful tip for healthy eating on a budget!!

When we first moved to Australia back in 2007 we found it was time to think about cutting back on our grocery spending.

And, planning ahead is the main way I managed to cut our shopping bill by around 40%.

I think one of the main reasons planning ahead helps is because it stops you having to shop multiple times each week.

This means you don’t end up picking those unnecessary extras, and can remain focused knowing exactly what you need at the supermarket.

So, here’s what you need to do:

  • Plan a weeks worth of meals and snacks
  • Factor in a leftovers night and/or cook meals that will last for two nights, i.e. ‘cook once, eat twice’
  • Buy only those items you need to prepare each of these meals – this prevents wastage
  • Look out for bargains in your local newspaper etc, but remember it’s only a bargain if it’s something you actually need
  • Surf the net or newspapers and look out for quick and easy healthy meals you can prepare on a budget

There are so many ways to eat healthy on a budget without depriving your body of the nutrients it needs.

What are your top tips for healthy eating on a budget?

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Comments 17

  1. Tom Parker - Free Fitness Tips

    Totally agree with you Mel. I really think the quote “healthy eating is expensive” is a huge misconception. You’ve supplied the perfect example in water. It’s completely free and probably the healthiest drink around. Yet you’ll still get people complaining that they can’t afford to eat healthy as they gulp down their daily large chocolate mocha from Starbucks.

    1. Melanie

      Very valid point. I suppose we all have vices we don’t want to give up, but you can save heaps by avoiding branded coffees everyday–I think a good task for those people would be to add up the $$ and kcal for a years worth of coffee–shock action might just do the trick!!

  2. Ruth

    Great article.
    I’ve been doing everything you’ve mentioned, except that I do buy a treat or two for the children and end up having some of it myself…
    I’ve switched to planning a day when I’ll bake a modified treat, such as chocolate cake ( reduced fat and sugar, with wholemeal flour), and must now just discipline myself to bake two small cakes, one to eat over the course of the week, and one to freeze for another time.

    I noticed I could save a good €4-5 if I left the juice on the shelf, so started doing that. Instead, I buy more fresh fruit and my kids now ask for water when they are thirsty.

    Another swap we made was going from boxed cereal which costs around €2 per box of 750 gr. to plain oats, at less than €1 per 1000 gr., and buying things like almonds and raisins with the other €1. The combination of warm oatmeal and a handful of raisins and almonds is not only cheaper but it’s more satisfying and healthy. If you really must have cold cereal, switch to something like muesli. Even if it’s sweetened, at least it’s made with whole grain cereal and it’s a bit less processed than other cold cereals.

    One of my tips would be to consider the cost of the food you are buying, cut out unnecessaries, and see if it wouldn’t be cheaper to cook from scratch. Often it is!

    1. Melanie

      Hi Ruth,
      I totally agree with you about cooking from scratch. Great tip on making your own cereal, that’s an excellent way to save money and eat healthier at the same time.

      I also love to bake, and I’ll often try to make recipes a little healthier. But, home baking simply has to be better than store bought items, even if there is a bit of butter and sugar etc in there, because you’re avoiding all the nasty preservatives etc.

  3. Fazila - Coaching To Lose Weight

    If you’re on a budget, the best place to start is by ensuring that you eat home cooked meals as often as possible, spending your money on basic foods that provide the nutrients you need, such as cereals, whole grain bread, vegetables and fruit, legumes, lentils, rice and pasta. Avoid stocking up your pantry with junk food and treats that don’t last the week.


    1. Melanie

      Hey Fazila,
      Great tips, thanks for sharing! 🙂 Totally agree about legumes and lentils etc, they are so cheap and nutritious–no-one has an excuse not to eat healthy on a budget when these are available!

  4. bobbie

    Here in the states, eating unhealthy is much less expensive than eating healthy. Fruits and veggies are more expensive than a bag of cookies and fruits and veggies also have more of a chance of spoiling before you get to eat them. It’s a condundrum for sure. Thanks for the good article and ideas. Water is truly the secret to health and weight loss.

    .-= bobbie ´s last blog ..#63 Bobbie is Babbling =-.

  5. Aaron at Healthy Foods

    Another good tip is to buy your meats whole…that is, not pre-cut. So for example, buying the whole chicken instead of separately buying the breasts and thighs etc. You will save on the total cost, and then you can use the rest for stock and soup.

    Also try growing your own veggies is you have the room. They will be fresher, healthier and cheaper!

    1. Melanie

      Hey Aaron,
      Great tip. I love soup made with fresh stock, seems not many people do this these days. Growing your own veggies is the ultimate, isn’t it? I can’t wait to move house, as I’m hoping to have a go at that too! 🙂

  6. Irene @ H.E.S.H.

    A lot of people tend not to have a healthy diet for the reason that they cannot afford to have one. This blog is very useful for it teaches people how to have a healthy lifestyle that is within everybody’s budget.

    1. Melanie

      Yes, you are right Irene. There is a general feeling among some people that healthy food is too expensive. However, I think it just takes re-education and shopping around for good deals.

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