How Can I Eat Healthy on a Budget?

shopping cart in supermarket
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Eating healthy doesn't have to cost a lot of money. With these tips and tricks, you can stay within your budget and meet your weight loss or weight management goals.

Before-You-Go Guideline

You've likely heard this before, but that doesn't make it any less important: Eat something light before you leave for the store. If you're super hungry when you head to the market, you're likely to buy items you really don't need, which can be bad for your wallet and your waistline.

Purchase Seasonal Produce 

Buying produce during its peak season is a smart way to save money. There's often a higher volume of whatever's in season and stores generally lower those prices in order to sell it all while it's still fresh. You can even stock up on certain seasonal fruits and veggies and freeze them to use during other times of the year. 

Buy in Bulk

Large multi-serving food packages are almost always less expensive (ounce for ounce) than smaller single-serve items. Just make sure that the foods you're buying can be stored in the freezer or will last a long time in your pantry. Otherwise, you're likely to wind up tossing wasted food or worse, overeating to get your money's worth. You can find great bulk pricing on healthy foods at the big discount stores.

And here's a tip: Try out DIY single-serve packs. Break down bulk items into single servings as soon as you get home from the grocery store.

You'll be less tempted to keep reaching into that bag of chips if you've got to go back to the kitchen for another single serving. The best way to store the items is in sealable containers or plastic bags. 

Buy Canned Food

If you spot a deal on a healthy diet staple that comes in a can, stock up! Good options include beans, light soup, fruit in juice, crushed tomatoes (add spices to them for a marinara swap), and albacore tuna packed in water.

Save With Bread Basics 

There's little worse than throwing out half a loaf of moldy bread, so lengthen the shelf life by storing it in the fridge or freezer. Go for versatile breads like 100-calorie sandwich flats, light English muffins, and high-fiber tortillas. You can even bake up leftover tortillas into low-fat chips that will last a while.

Save on Meat and Seafood

This is where you really want to take the time to compare prices. Sometimes the meat counter will offer up the best deals. Alternately, the freezer aisle may hold the least expensive chicken breast. And you might find a great price on prepackaged fish. Poke around to determine the lowest prices.

Dairy Dos 

You're likely to find the best deal with store-brand versions of fat-free and low-fat dairy, which are typically very similar to the name-brand products. Also, fat-free plain Greek yogurt is a wonderful multi-tasker. You can use it as a stand-in for sour cream, flavor it with no-calorie sweetener for a snack, and toss it into low-calorie smoothies and parfaits.

Try Creative Couponing

There are so many ways to obtain coupons, even if you're not a Sunday newspaper subscriber. You can go virtual. Check the websites of food companies you love for special offers.

Some grocery stores don't require you to even print them out. You just click to add them to your supermarket discount card. So easy. And visit savings-based sites regularly for the latest deals. There are even phone apps crammed with coupons!

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