Eating Healthy on a Budget

Last week, I talked a bit about some of the routines that help keep me on track with my goals. And while I’m not really one to write a lot of “how to” posts, I thought I would share with you some of the things that help me eat healthy on a tight budget. The first one is fairly obvious…

I Plan Meals

Everyone who plans their meals has a slightly different routine and mine is probably no different than some others. I start by thinking about what I want to eat for lunch at work. For example, this week I bought all the ingredients to make a fresh vegetable sandwich everyday. Then I decided on snacks, based on what was on sale (almonds, bananas, grapes). Once lunches are covered, I think about breakfast.

Do I have any cereal leftover? Or frozen fruit for smoothies? After that, I plan my dinners. I’m fairly lose with this, in that I don’t plan what I’m going to eat on each individual day, but in general I usually pickup ingredients for salads, stir fry and sometimes pasta.

I Shop With a List (…and it’s in order)

I felt crazy for sharing this secret last week but was so surprised to read comments from a number of readers who do the same! After writing down all of the groceries I want to buy, I rewrite the list in order of where it will be in the grocery store. This isn’t easy to do, until you’ve shopped at one store a few times, but now I know my store like it’s a second home.

In my experience, writing your list in this order shortens the amount of time you spend in the store and helps you avoid unnecessary aisles (Aisle 6: Candy & Chips), which in turn stops you from making impulse buys. And those impulse buys are usually for items that don’t help your budget or your butt!

I Don’t Eat Meat

Enough said.

I Buy Alternative Snacks

This isn’t necessarily the healthiest trick in my book but it’s one I’ve been doing for years. I have serious salt cravings and a wicked sweet tooth. And while it’s nice to think that I could potentially live without salt and sugar, I’d rather just eat it in smaller doses. For example, dill pickles can almost always curb a salt craving.

Adding banana peppers to simple meals helps me with two things: the salt craving and the fact that even a little bit of spice makes me eat less. And fruit (ok, fine! and sometimes sugar free candy) helps me cure that sweet toothache.

I Don’t Make Leftovers

This last one might sound strange but hear me out. By no means do I think I am a great cook… but when I make something good, I have a really hard time eating only one portion of it. If/when I make enough dinner that there are leftovers, it is more likely than not that I will eat them that night. Does this surprise me? Not in the slightest.

I think I could safely diagnose myself as a binger of many things; eating and spending, included. To stay healthy, I make all of my meals right before I consume them. Doing this gives me the best control of my portion sizes.

And that’s it! For now, anyway…

What are some of your tricks to eating healthy on a budget?

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