Tips For Eating Well On A Budget by Raja’a Chahine
A nutritious diet does not necessarily have to be expensive to be healthy. With a little bit of planning and mindful shopping, you can easily save money while enjoying your favorite nourishing foods. Health expert Rajaa Chahine will help you carefully navigate through your shopping list so you can stay on budget while staying in top health!
Health expert Rajaa Chahine’s top tips are:
1. Prepare a meal plan
Knowing how many meals you plan on eating every day for a week helps you visualize how much food you are going to eat without having any leftovers. Otherwise, uneaten food will end up spoiled and rotten. This ends up in a waste of money and waste of food.
2. Make a list
After you make your meal plan, prepare a list of the groceries you need to buy. Grocery stores are designed to encourage customers to buy more products than they need or plan on buying. So don’t get fooled!
Draw up a weekly meal plan using up ingredients you already have and make a shopping list of any missing items. Try not to shop when hungry. People who shop when hungry are more likely to spend more, especially on less healthy foods, such as high-fat and sugary snacks.
3. Stick to the store parameters
In most supermarkets and grocery stores, the middle section is where the most expensive food, drinks, and snacks are. These will drive up your grocery bill. So stick to the store parameter such as the dairy section which is good for your health and your pocket. This way you’ll expend more of your budget on healthy whole foods like fruit and vegetables, leaving less money for expensive and unhealthy foods that often line the center aisles.
4. Buy wholefoods
Some foods are more affordable in a less processed form. For example, a block of cheese is cheaper than shredded cheese, and canned beans are less expensive than refried ones. Whole grains, like brown rice and oats, are also cheaper per serving than most processed cereals. Less processed foods are also often sold in larger quantities and yield more servings per package, saving you money overall.
5. Pick plant-based protein
Meat and fish are typically the most expensive food ingredients on a shopping list. How about adding vegetables to meat dishes like casseroles to make your meals go further? Or try a few vegetarian meals during the week to keep costs down. You can get plenty of protein from non-meat sources — beans, legumes, tofu, eggs. They're also cheaper than meat and fish.
6. Buy local
Consider buying fruits, vegetables, meats, and eggs from local farmers. When you buy local, in-season foods are generally cheaper and travel costs are minimized. And hey, if you find a really great deal - buy extra and freeze it!
7. Dirty dozen and clean 15
Even when you’re shopping on a limited budget it’s still important to think about the quality of the food you purchase. While organically grown food reduces the potential health and environmental hazards posed by pesticides, genetically modified organisms, irradiation, and additives, it can often cost more than conventionally grown food.
8. Buy Frozen Fruit & Vegetables
Some fresh fruit can be silly expensive. So instead of buying it fresh, buy it frozen so you can get more bang for your buck! Some of our favorite frozen fruits and vegetables are mixed berries, mango, green peas, and shelled edamame. Not only is it cheaper but if we don't eat it up that week, we don't have to worry about it going to waste.
9. Buy in Bulk
It's no secret that buying in bulk can save you money. A lot of health food stores have a bulk food section where you can stock up on organic goodness like nuts and spices for less. For the essentials, it's often much cheaper to buy larger quantities upfront — a big bag of rice, a couple of liters of oil — than to continually stock smaller portions.
10. Sales and promotions
Take advantage of sales. If you have the shelf or freezer space, stock up on staples or products that you use often when they go on sale. If you’re sure that the item is something you’ll definitely use, you may as well buy it now to save a little money later. Just make sure that it will last for a while and won’t expire in the meantime. You won’t save yourself any money if you buy something you’ll just end up throwing out.
These are Health expert Rajaa Chahine’s top 10 tips! How do you eat healthy on a budget? Share your tricks with us.
If you have any questions about this subject, please feel free to reach out!