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Shopping for Healthy Meals on a Budget

Article at a glance

  • Enjoying healthy meals on a budget is possible when you have a plan in place.

  • A smart shopping plan includes purchasing seasonal and frozen produce, stocking up on favorite items when they’re on sale, and using coupons to save money.

  • Cheap healthy meals can incorporate low-cost and nutrient-rich foods, as well as meatless options to cut down on costs.

  • Designing a weekly meal plan and shopping in bulk can help ensure you always have healthy foods on hand.

  • By following these tips, you can design a weight loss shopping list and stay on budget.

Sticking to a grocery budget doesn’t mean you have to rely on unhealthy convenience foods. Instead, you can design a healthy, well-balanced diet within the amount you’ve set aside to spend on food. You just need to plan ahead and follow the right tips to choose nutritious, low-priced foods to incorporate into your meals. Discover ways to enjoy healthy meals on a budget by shopping seasonal foods and sales, stocking up on and freezing your favorite items, and planning meals to reduce food waste. Read on to find out how to learn how to eat clean on a budget.

Add Seasonal Produce to a Healthy Grocery List

Fresh fruits and vegetables are essential parts of a healthy diet. Produce doesn’t have to be expensive if you know how to shop smart. The key is buying produce that’s in season, which is going to be cheaper. You can usually determine what’s in season by checking prices. It’s also helpful to know what to look for every season.

In the spring, try fruits such as apples, pineapples, and bananas, as well as vegetables such as carrots, mushrooms, and radishes. Summer offers plenty of in-season produce including watermelon, blackberries, bell peppers, and cucumbers. Enjoy fall fruits and veggies such as mangos, kiwis, pumpkins, and sweet potatoes. Winter seasonal produce includes oranges, grapefruit, avocados, and Brussels sprouts. 

Shop Sales for Cheap Healthy Meals

Check your grocery store’s weekly ad before you shop. Make a list of healthy foods that are on sale to cut down on your spending. You can even plan your meals around sales to save. Being flexible in your weekly grocery list based on sales can help you save some money.

Opt for Frozen Fruits and Vegetables

Frozen fruits and vegetables are often cheaper when you’re shopping on a budget. You can buy them in larger quantities; since they’re frozen, they’ll last longer than fresh options. Plus, if you keep your freezer stocked with options, you’ll always have a healthy choice on hand. Frozen fruits and veggies are just as nutritious as fresh options, making them a nutritious choice when you have a limited amount to spend at the grocery store.

Shop in Bulk

Focus on healthy foods that you really enjoy and add them to your meal plan every week. Buying your favorite nutritious foods in bulk can cut down on costs. You can do some research online or in the stores. Compare prices at wholesale stores, where you can often find larger quantities of food at a lower price. 

Stock Up and Freeze

On a similar note, shopping in bulk and buying extra works especially well with foods you can divide into portions and freeze for later use. For example, shop for a protein you eat regularly that’s available in bulk, such as chicken breasts and fish, and freeze them in individual packages so that they’re always available. You can even prepare some healthy dishes ahead of time — or make an extra batch when you’re cooking — so that you have a convenient, healthy option on a busy night.

Purchase Low-Priced, Healthy Foods

Food rich in nutrients doesn’t have to be expensive. Focus your healthy grocery list on low-priced options that can still deliver plenty of nutritional benefits. In addition to the frozen fruits and vegetables mentioned, you can try canned options, which are cheaper options that last longer. Canned beans are easy to incorporate into recipes and are very inexpensive. They’re packed with protein and fiber and work well in a variety of dishes. Other low-cost, healthy food options include oats, peanut butter, and eggs.

Plan Your Meals

Another way to eat healthy on a budget is to plan your meals. Take some time each week to plan inexpensive, healthy meals you’ll enjoy. Plan around ingredients you have on hand — for example, if you have some potatoes, incorporate them into a couple of dishes so you don’t have any food waste. Then make a shopping list to fill in the gaps. Planning ahead is a great tip if you’re watching your weight, too. Stick to your weight loss shopping list when you’re at the store to avoid any impulse buys, which can be costly and possibly unhealthy.

Look for Coupons

Couponing is a helpful way to save money if you’re eating a healthy diet. In addition to paper coupons from the local newspaper, many stores have digital coupons, too. Check your grocery store’s website or app to load coupons before you shop. You can also use coupons as your inspiration for your meal planning. If you see a coupon for a healthy item you enjoy, design one of your meals around it.

Add Meat-Free Meals to Your Weight Loss Shopping List

Lean meats are a good source of protein, but they can run up your grocery bill. Try incorporating a few meat-free meals into your weekly meal plan to cut down on costs while still eating well. Incorporate inexpensive protein sources, such as beans and eggs, into your recipe instead of meat. You’ll spend less money but still enjoy a nutritious meal. 

Preparing healthy meals on a budget is not only possible, but easy — you just need to have a well-designed plan in place. Enjoy nutritious meals without breaking the bank by looking for sales, buying seasonally, shopping in bulk, sticking to your grocery list, and cooking creatively. Incorporating your favorite nutrient-dense foods into your meals allows you to eat healthily without breaking the bank. These tips can help you stick to your healthy diet and your budget at the same time. Shop smart and learn how to eat clean on a budget.

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