Eating healthy on a budget can be challenging, but it’s possible with the right strategies. We gathered expert tips from professionals like CFOs, nutritionists, and food writers to help you make the most of your budget while prioritizing nutrition.
Use Coupons and Loyalty Programs
Many grocery stores offer coupons for fresh produce, whole grains, and other healthy food items. By taking advantage of these deals, you can stretch your budget further and make the most of every dollar. You can check the local newspaper for coupons or look online for printable coupons. To make it more convenient, sign up for your favorite grocery store’s loyalty program and receive discounts and special offers on health products. Involve your family and dependents in the process to make it fun and teach them the value of eating healthy on a budget. By making slight changes and being mindful of your purchases, consuming nutritious food while adhering to a budget is definitely achievable.
- Gary Gray, CFO, CouponChief.com
Reduce Meat, Increase Plant-Based Meals
Limit consumption of meats, which can be one of the most expensive components of a meal. Add more plant-based meals into your diet, using affordable sources of protein such as beans that are not only budget-friendly but also nutritious. You don’t need to eliminate meat from your diet, just make it a smaller portion of the meal. Think of the meat as a condiment, not the main course. As an example, a tasty and affordable meal could be steamed rice, black beans, diced onion, cilantro (bonus points if you grow it yourself), and tomatoes with a little shredded chicken on top.
- Sydney Dawes, Owner, A Weekend Cook, LLC
Find Affordable Pantry Staples and Spices
When trying to eat healthily on a budget, you can go far by sticking to basic, affordable, and healthy pantry staples like lentils, beans, and rice, then investing in a nice variety of spices to mix it up each time you cook them. Stick to produce that is in season or on sale to get the most bang for your buck for fresh ingredients. But ultimately, you can stretch the basics quite far by having fun with flavor profiles!
- Kristen Wood, Food Writer, MOON and spoon and yum
Vary Food Purchases for Nutrient Diversity
Buy different foods each time you shop — perhaps as they come on sale. Each plant or animal food source naturally contains a different “mix” of vitamins and minerals. Doing this will mean you’ll get a wider range of nutrients to support all the super-important functions your body needs to perform to keep you well.
Vanessa Ivory, Nutritionist and Wellness Coach, Vanessa Ivory
Plan Meals and Grocery Lists
I like to stay within the budget that I set for myself, and healthy eating is really important to me. So, how do I keep up with my nutrition without falling out of line with my budget? Planning! It’s really important to plan ahead of time. Make a weekly meal plan and try to opt for meals that you can prepare beforehand. That’s going to save you a lot of time and also ensure you have a set grocery list you can use when you go out shopping.
- Will Baker, Founder, Skirtings R Us
Choose Affordable Protein Sources
A tip for people seeking to consume nutritious food while being on a budget is to focus on plant-based protein sources. Foods like beans, lentils, and chickpeas are not only affordable but are also rich in protein, fiber, and various nutrients. Including these items in your diet will decrease your budget while providing crucial proteins. Consider buying produce from local farmers’ markets or opting for frozen fruits and vegetables, which can be more cost-effective than fresh ones. So, these types of foods can be light on the pocket while heavy in nutrition.
- Tom Lawson, Head of Marketing, The Kitchens Edge