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© 2014 Shanna Lea
Many people think that eating healthy means spending a fortune on fresh, nutritious food. Preparing delicious healthy meals on a limited budget can seem challenging, but you don’t have to buy lesser quality ingredients all the time. Follow these simple tips below, and you can prepare healthy meals for your family more often.
Stop Buying Junk Food
Our food system is set up to make food-like substances cheaper and more appealing than real food. A bag of Cheetos cost less than a bag of apples, but that’s no excuse to buy the Cheetos. In fact, the money spent on junk food could be used to buy more nutritious foods. Challenge yourself when you buy groceries—just don’t go down the processed food aisles. You’ll be surprised how much money you save by skipping those aisles altogether. Pass up the sodas, sugary cereals, chips, candy bars and snack cakes. Instead, buy a variety of nuts, sugar snap peas, plain yogurt, and rolled oats.
Buy Frozen Fruits and Vegetables
Frozen fruits and vegetables are usually cheaper than fresh. Preparation is also easier, since they are already pre-washed and pre-cut, saving you time. Frozen fruit and veggies are more nutritious than fresh, since they are frozen immediately after harvest. The fresh varieties may be harvested before fully ripened and then lose more nutrients the longer they are in your fridge. Remember to also buy in bulk when you can and when there are sales.
Buy Inexpensive Protein
Can’t afford the salmon or the rib-eye steak? Save those for special occasions like your birthday or anniversary. There are a lot of good sources of protein that are cheaper. Try ground beef, canned tuna, ground turkey, frozen chicken breast, eggs, cottage cheese and milk.
Stock Up on Nutritious Basic Foods
With a little planning, you can prepare gourmet-quality meals without a hefty price tag. A search online will reveal thousands of recipes for cheaper meals that are healthy. Make sure you always have these staples on hand. They are easy to cook and budget-friendly:
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
Soups are the most basic staple—every culture for thousands of years has kept a basic soup as part of their traditional diets. Soups are an easy meal to whip up. You just add veggies and leftover meat.
Watch for sales and you can stock up on the basic staples, saving money on future groceries.