Eating healthy can be a struggle, and not just because you'd rather eat ice cream than a piece of fruit. Healthy eating can be more expensive (just look at the price of a salad for proof!) but there are ways to make healthier choices that are also budget-friendly.
Plan Your Meals
When it comes to eating healthy, planning ahead is your best bet to sticking to a meal plan, and sticking to your budget. Choose a day to sit and create a menu for the upcoming week. Then, make a grocery list of the things you'll need. Try to only purchase what is necessary for your recipes (for example, if you only need two tablespoons of olive oil, buy the smallest container you can find).
Shop for Groceries Online
In today's convenience-focused world, almost every grocery store has either a home delivery or curbside pick-up service available. Take advantage and order your groceries online. This will help you avoid buying any extra things that will sidetrack both your health and finance goals. When it comes time to checkout, if you've gone over your budget, go through the list and remove any items that aren't really necessary, or that can wait another week to be purchased.
Buy in Season/Store Brand
Buy vegetables and fruits when they are in season, as this is when the prices tend to be lower. Purchase items when they're on sale, even if it means switching to the store-brand version of some of your favorites. Store brands are comparable to name-brand items, with similar ingredients. The only real difference is the name!
Try Less Expensive Cuts of Meat
If you're a meat lover, you know that this portion of your grocery bill alone can make the overall price of your cart jump! Bone-in, skin-on, tougher cuts of meat are often incredibly more affordable than the more convenient, boneless and skinless varieties.
Buy More Whole Foods
Whole foods, those that are less processed, in large quantities provide more servings at a lower price per serving. For example, buying a block of cheese is much cheaper than buying pre-sliced and individually packaged cheese. You are often simply paying for the packaging!
Eat Your Leftovers
Cooking large portions, or meal prepping, is an excellent money-saving trick as well. Choose a day of the week to cook all of your pre-planned meals, leave out the ones you'll eat within a couple of days and freeze the rest, including your snacks! This will help avoid the temptation to grab something you weren't planning on having when you are starving. There will always be food ready for you!
Buy in Bulk
Investing in a membership to Costco or Sam's Club is definitely worth it! There is a greater cost up front (more out of your pocket at the store) but, in the long run, you are saving both time and money. This works best for non-perishable items like canned goods, flour, sugar and oil.
Eat at Home
You'll notice that none of the ideas listed above mentioned buying the cheapest thing on the menu. Although eating out is sometimes unavoidable with busy work/school schedules, try to eat at home as often as possible. Oftentimes, you can feed a family of four for the price of what you would order for only two people at a restaurant.