Friday, May 18, 2012

How to eat healthy on a budget

Shape magazine ran a story on how to eat healthy on a budget for the family! It has some pretty good advice and includes things that I already do with my family.  

Trade meat for beans

One can of beans, which contains 3.5 servings costs about $1.00 compared to $2.00 per pound for chicken on the bone (which is less expensive than chicken breast). Swapping black, pinto, kidney or white beans for meat in tacos, burritos, salads and whole grain pasta meals not only saves money it ups your antioxidant intake, slashes calories, wipes out saturated fat and cholesterol, and just a half cup provides a quarter of the fiber you need daily. That may be one reason why regular bean eaters have a lower risk of obesity and smaller waistlines. 
We do eat alot of beans in my family. I usually try to incorporate them 1-2 a week at night-whether it is in chili or the layered ground turkey crockpot that is a family favorite. I can get a can of beans for  $0.50 when it is on SALE.  I also will add chickpeas to my salad at lunch which keeps keep me full. 

Buy in-season, local produce

From either your farmer’s market or local grocery store, in-season fruits and veggies are chock-full of flavor but can cost pennies per pound. Right now, at my local market, cantaloupes and bell peppers are 99 cents each. Load up when you see a great deal (like the buy one get one free blueberries I spotted today) and freeze the extras.  
I always buy apples and bananas they are fairly cheap year round. However the berries get quite pricey.  I tend to only buy those fresh during the summer months and will buy unsweetened frozen during the winter months.   I attempted to grown watermelon and cantaloupe in the past but it wasn't a good success.     I also stock up on frozen vegetables each week-especially on chopped broccoli and spinach.  We do baked spinach casserole a lot with frozen spinach

Exchange packaged snacks for popcorn kernels

One bag of organic popcorn, which contains 28 servings costs around $2.50 compared to about $3.50 a bag for potato, corn, and cheese snacks with 10 servings. Pop retro style on your stovetop in oil, but hold the butter. If you need some flavor, sprinkle with fresh herbs like Italian or chipotle seasoning. 

Having individual size snacks for school lunches is SOOO easy but it very pricey.  I will sometimes buy then if they are on sale and I have a coupon-rarely though.   I stock up on large bags of pretzels and crackers.  We do pop popcorn for snacks alot at home. Sometimes those bags  in the microwave and sometimes in our air popper. 

Invest in a water filter or filtering pitcher and ditch the soda habit

Two liter soda bottles are inexpensive, about $1.00 each. If you buy one a week, that’s only $52.00 per year, but for about $25 you can buy a water filtering pitcher and get into the habit of drinking pure chilled water with every meal. 

Soda is very rare in our house and juice has been lately as well.  Water is  the drink of the day since we added in a filter a few years back.  

Overall good common sense advice and add in some meal planning you can do healthy eating on a budget. 


jide said...

Ppeople like eating with a plan or something but i appreciate your enlightenment on eating a budget. Thanks

Admin said...

Thanks you can see our weekly meal plans each week too to see how we put this into action.

Steph (The Cheapskate Cook) said...

Great tips! I hadn't heard the popcorn kernels one yet, but it's a great idea. Thanks for the tips.

phoward336 said...

I did a post a few weeks ago highlighting my FAVORITE popcorn maker. It costs around $25 and makes delicious, easy popcorn: