If you’re aiming to improve your daily nutrition, your guide to eating healthy on a budget will help you to stay on track. Your diet can be improved without breaking your budget.
Decrease Dining Out
Some individuals limit eating out to once a month or even less often. This gives them greater control over what they put inside their bodies and what they take out of their pockets. When you eat out, you can’t plan your calories or avoid allergens as easily as you can when you cook cheap, healthy dinners at home.
Eating out doesn’t only entail going out for dinner. If you like to stop at your favourite coffee shop on the way to work and buy an expensive cinnamon roll and macchiato, it’s time to look carefully at your weekly breakfast bill.
Cost is not measured just in terms of money. Is the coffee shop drink a little sweeter than you would make it at home? Should you be avoiding the gluten in the pastry but just want a small bite? You can improve your health and spend less by carefully planning for a homemade hot beverage and tasty treat that together, improve your health instead of harming your body.
Buy Food In Bulk
Eating healthy on a budget is easier when you buy items in bulk. Many items, such as gluten-free cassava flour, brown rice and dried or smoked fish, can be stored for a long time. If you purchase many of the items you use every day in bulk, you’ll save a lot.
You’re less likely to start preparing a meal and realize that you’ve run out of one of the ingredients, if you purchase whatever you need in bulk. Cheap healthy food tastes just as good as food made with the same ingredients at a higher cost.
If you’re a busy person, consider packaging your meat into dinner portions as soon as it’s purchased. Label each package with the date before placing it in the freezer. Season the meat with basic seasonings before doing this.
When you’re ready to prepare dinner, you can just grab a pack. Add raisins, or stir fry vegetables or anything else you enjoy for different cuisine. Your cheap healthy meals can be prepared without soy-based seasonings or anything else that acts as an allergen for you.
Legumes are healthy and supply your body with many of the amino acids that you need. Consider adding cheap healthy dinner ideas that are legume based to your plan at least once a week. Some ideas are:
- Black beans and rice
- Jamaican vegetarian stewed peas
- Italian whole-grain pasta with beans
- Tuscan legume soup
- Texan black bean soup
These cheap and healthy meals are from across the world. Adding different flavours to your diet keeps things interesting in the kitchen.
Plan for What You Have
Planning cheap, easy, healthy meals around your pantry items allows you to save money. You won’t need to buy additional goods and whatever you already have won’t spoil.
Sometimes it’s good to keep a list of what you have and check items off as they’re used. That allows you to keep track of things that may be tucked away in the fridge or pantry for a while. You’ll also be aware of when products are running out.
Start a Container Garden
Even if all you have is the space on a windowsill, you can grow an herb or two at home. Cilantro and basil can be grown in pots, brightening up your space while adding a relaxing scent to your kitchen. Tomatoes and bell peppers are also easy to grow and if you have children, they’ll learn a lot about self-reliance by watering the plants and seeing the food on your table later.
Reuse All Leftovers
Leftovers can always be used on another day. If you have a small amount, carry leftovers as lunch to work. You can also use them in another recipe. For example, leftover ham can be added to a soup with lentils and chickpeas.
Enjoy Oats and Other Whole Grains
Oats are delicious and can be used for breakfast, lunch and dinner. If you’re vegan, oats can be enjoyed with sugar, cinnamon and coconut milk.
You can add oats to raisins and other ingredients to make cookies that your children will enjoy. Include oats in your homemade bread recipes to make your rolls healthier. If you are sensitive to gluten, oats may not be a good idea but you may be able to enjoy some other grains.
Use whole grains in your meals as you savour:
- Fried rice with edamame
- Brown rice, cheddar and spinach pie
- Chicken barley soup
- Beef and bulgur stuffed zucchini
Buying generic or store brands usually helps you to save money. Always compare, since there may occasionally be options that are cheaper than the store brands. These are often located on lower shelves, where they are less easy to spot.
Shop In Season
Buying in-season produce helps you to save. Adjust your recipes to benefits you’ll enjoy when okra, pumpkin and other delicious foods are in season. Changing your diet in this way is also good for your health, giving your body a wide variety of nutrients at a lower cost.
Learn How to Can Vegetables
Buying canned vegetables can help you to prepare healthy meals on a budget. What’s even better, is learning how to can your own vegetables. You can buy bulk vegetables when they are in season and can them with other ingredients as you like them.
Many people enjoy salty chips and cookies baked with lots of trans fat. Preparing your own snacks at home allows you to make healthier choices more often. Many snacks are easier to prepare than you think and allow you to get nutrients that aren’t always in your main meals.
You can purchase raw nuts at farmers’ markets, roast them at home and add chilli instead of salt. You’ll also save money with homemade:
- Cashew and oats bars
- Baked kale chips
- One ingredient banana ice cream
- Frozen fruit popsicles
While planning low-calorie meals on a budget, you can also prepare cheap healthy snacks. A good plan will make your tastebuds happy.