Are you trying to eat healthily but feeling like it's out of reach? Unfortunately, 65% of Americans say the cost of healthy foods has "frequently" or "occasionally" deterred them from eating as healthy as they would like. Eating healthy on a budget can pose some challenges, but it is really an opportunity to get creative and resourceful on your healthy eating journey. Here's how to get started.
Join a Food Co-Op
A food co-op is usually owned by people in their community and operated independently. Co-ops are generally open to the public, but if you're a member or a partial owner, you usually get ongoing discounts and a more significant say in what type of foods are stocked in the store. Beyond savings, co-ops help put more money back into your local economy.
Switch to Meal Planning and Delivery Services
Sticking to a grocery budget is challenging when prices are constantly changing. Meal planning and delivery services take the guesswork out of budgeting. You know how many meals you're getting, what they cost, and their nutritional value.
FitTrax offers 7 to 21 meals with special dietary considerations, including athletic performance, gluten-free and vegetarian. You can pick your meals and delivery date and know you're getting easy-to-prep meals that include organic and seasonal produce and grass-fed beef options.
Cook Meals in Bulk
If you have the time to cook in bulk, you can save a bundle and get everything done in one day. Some people prep and cook meals one day a week, or even the month, and freeze them to pop into the oven after work. You do more work upfront, but then you're ready to go for the week and have more control over your budget.
Buying in bulk usually means a discount, or at the very least, you know you have everything you need. There are no last-minute trips to the grocery store that add on miscellaneous items and packaged snacks you could do without.
Choose Fresh Fruits & Veggies on Sale
One of the benefits of big box grocery stores is their ongoing sales and weekly specials. Their produce is usually less expensive than packaged foods and snack items. Focus on planning meals around fresh fruits and vegetables and let the sales dictate what you eat that week. You end up with more variety in your diet and the opportunity to choose new foods.
Select Alternate Proteins
If you're on a tight budget, choosing alternate protein sources helps reduce your food bills while filling up on healthy options. Beans, eggs, legumes, dark leafy greens, and options like artichokes are all packed with protein at a fraction of the cost of meat. Whenever possible, make sure you're eating fresh protein options to enhance your nutrition and health.
Grow Your Own Produce
Starting your own garden is a long game that takes time to get up and running but yields cost-effective results. You end up with a fresh produce source, from colorful peppers to lettuce, in your backyard. You can also opt for indoor gardening with small plants, like basil and cherry tomatoes, that can be grown vertically or in small spaces.
Get Honest About Your Grocery Bills
Are you sure you're spending too much on eating healthy? Get honest about your food bills and see what you're really spending on different food categories. You may realize you're spending most of your budget on processed foods, desserts, and sugary drinks that could be eliminated in favor of fresh (and less expensive) produce.
It also doesn't need to be all or nothing. You don't have to slash everything from your budget or your diet, but add more healthy options or meal delivery services to your routine.
Focus on Feeling Satiated
Eating healthy can sometimes feel challenging if you're accustomed to eating chips, crackers, and sugary cereals. You may not know what foods will fill you up. For example, blueberries alone probably won't make you feel full, but adding some whole-grain oats or healthy yogurts will.
Keep a food journal and jot down the foods you enjoy, how your body feels afterward, and which ones make you feel full. When you feel satisfied, you're less likely to fill up on junk food. The same thing goes for grocery shopping. Don't go to the store hungry, or you'll end up with a cartful of unhealthy food options that give you a short-lived, feel-good boost that's followed by a crash.
Ready to take control of your healthy eating journey? Enjoy our macro-friendly, nutritious meals and side dishes with orders of 7 to 21 meals at a time. Or you can create custom meals on your own through our a la carte option with our bulk items to maximize your favorite flavors and nutrients. Get started today.