How to Eat Healthy on a Budget
Eating healthily can seem daunting when you’re a college student, trying to save money, or just wanting to limit your spending in general. Since social media floods our screens & minds with trendy superfoods and miracle elixirs, it’s easy to get lost in the complex idea of “what is health.” Before I go into my tips for living a healthy life on a budget, I want to make something clear: Healthy eating does not equal acai bowls and $10 turmeric lattes. Healthy eating does not equal superfood powders and juicing your vegetables. Healthy eating does not mean cutting out carbs and overindulging in another food group. Healthy eating, to me, means eating REAL, WHOLE, foods from every food group. Eating simply, fueling your body with a balance of protein, carbs, and fats, and not getting too swept up by the trending superfoods. Yes, superfoods are a GREAT addition to your health, but they are NOT a necessity to living a healthy life! Keep reading to find out my top tips on eating healthy on a budget!
CONSIDER YOUR GROCERY STORES
Whole foods is my happy place, but grocery shopping there makes me sad. Nobody wants to spend $7 on a bag of almonds. That’s why it’s important to research what grocery stores are in your area and pick where to shop accordingly. The four most common options for me are Whole Foods, Sprouts, Trader Joes, and Safeway. I’ve learned that Whole Foods and Sprouts are on the expensive side, Safeway is my cheapest option, and Trader Joes is the happy medium. I can shop at Trader Joes and find very similar things to what I would find at Whole Foods for a lot cheaper. Knowing this has cut down my grocery expenses a ton!
2. BEING SMART ABOUT IN-SEASON FRUITS/VEGGIES & ORGANIC VS. NON-ORGANIC
There’s this misconception that if you’re going to eat healthy, you have to eat everything organic. In my opinion, that’s just a way for companies to get you to spend more. There are certain foods that you should definitely buy organic, and others where it really doesn’t matter. Foods to buy organic include all dairy, all meat, tomatoes, spinach, and potatoes. Foods that you don’t need to buy organic are avocados, onions, pineapple, sweet corn, and asparagus. Obviously, that’s not the whole do’s & dont’s list, but being aware of this will definitely save you some money.
3. SEPARATE YOUR NEEDS FROM YOUR WANTS
Have you ever gone to target for one specific thing, but end up leaving with ten things? Yeah, I’m guilty, too. I’m also the girl that could wonder around the grocery store for hours perusing the chocolate aisle and scoping out all the new fun food items. Although it’s fun to do that, half of the things that I want at the grocery store probably aren’t things that I actually need. Separating your needs from your wants BEFORE you go is really important if you’re on a budget, so you don’t end up spending more than you need.
4. MAKE A LIST AND STICK TO IT
Going off of the previous tip, making a list of the things that you need is a good way to stick to ONLY the things that you need. I use the reminders app & make a list of food, so I can check them off as I shop. Sometimes I forget to buy certain foods, but that app keeps me from forgetting what I need.
5. DOWNLOAD YOUR GROCERY STORE APPS FOR COUPONS & ON SALE ITEMS
I know Whole Foods gives Amazon Prime members 10% if you scan a barcode on the app at checkout which can be super clutch. It’s worth downloading your grocery stores apps to find coupons and see what items are on sale. You never know how much you can actually save by simply being smart about what’s on sale and what’s not.