How to Eat Healthy on a Budget

Eating clean doesn’t have to break the bank.

With two-for-one sales on processed foods like chips, cereal, and fruit snacks, it may seem like eating healthy is an impossible feat if you don’t have a lot of money to spend on groceries. But eating well on a budget is actually easier than you think. With a few simple shopping tips, you can enjoy a variety of healthy foods items all while reaching your health goals and sticking to your budget.

Buy Fresh Produce and Freeze

Fresh produce has a host of health benefits, but the costs can add up quick! To find your way around this obstacle, buy what’s currently in season and stock up — especially when you find a great deal! From strawberries to corn, one thing is for sure, chopping, portioning, a freezing the produce will not only save money, but time too. Make sure to label the bags with the food item’s name and a rough portion estimate so you can defrost appropriate serving sizes when desired.

Purchase Grains in Bulk

Clean carbohydrates such as beans, quinoa, brown rice, and couscous can be purchased in bulk for a great price at wholesale stores. Buying in bulk will save money, grocery store trips, and ensure healthier meal options. From a simple side item for dinner to creating a healthier Mexican dish, all it takes is a little creativity and planning to keep these bulk items fun and interesting.

Use Coupons and Coupon Apps

Most local grocery stores, and even big box stores, have either a coupon book or a convenient coupon app. If you’re not already, make sure you take advantage of the weekly deals on some of your favorite healthy items. To make things even easier, most of these apps will recognize what you buy at their store, and then send you coupons for your favorite items! Make sure to only buy what you need – just because you have a coupon, doesn’t mean you should buy items and blow your budget.

Grow Your Own Produce

You don’t have to be a full-time farmer to grow some of your favorite produce. Seeds are cheap to buy, and with a little effort, you can grow some of your most purchased items such as onions, herbs, tomatoes, and lettuce. If you don’t have the outdoor space, keep in mind that growing your favorite herbs, such as basil, just needs a little window sunlight and some TLC.

Don’t Shop When You’re Hungry

Going to the grocery store with hunger pangs is a bad idea. Not only will you end up spending more money, but you may also end up grabbing a quick food item to snack on that isn’t so healthy. To prevent this, make sure you eat a healthy snack or meal before shopping, this will ensure you stick to your list (and your budget!) and have a clear mind when searching for deals and using coupons.

Prep Your Food

Prepping meals and snacks for the work week is a great way to save money; especially if you tend to order lunch or hit the vending machines at work. Set aside a few hours one day per week to create healthy lunches and snacks for the work week. Using a set of durable containers and a small lunch bag or cooler, you will be in the money-saving business all while making sure you are staying on your desired healthy eating regimen.


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Q: I end up overeating because it makes me feel better and I never really get full. I'd like to lose weight but this makes it hard. Any suggestions?

A: Being persistently hungry can cause big trouble. So can overeating for comfort/pleasure. These two behaviors, say researchers from Baylor University's Children's Nutrition Research Center, are controlled deep within your brain by serotonin-producing neurons, but operate separately from each other — one in the hypothalamus, the other in the midbrain. They both can, however, end up fueling poor nutritional choices and obesity.

Eating for Hunger

When hunger is your motive for eating, the question is: "Does your body know when you've had enough?" Well, if you are overweight, obese or have diabetes you may develop leptin resistance and your "I am full" hormone, leptin, can't do its job. The hormone's signal to your hypothalamus is dampened, and you keep eating.

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