By Heather Johnson
Ramen noodles may be cheap, but they sure don’t offer much in the way of nutrition. In fact, it seems that all the affordable foods in the grocery store are pretty bad for you. However, there are ways to maintain a healthy diet for less. It takes some commitment and a little creative cooking, but the 10 tips below should help you out.
Stretch Your Meat – If you are indeed a carnivore, then you know how expensive meat can be. However, you can stretch your poultry and beef out by using healthy fillers like tofu and grains.
Make a Shopping List – By planning meals ahead of time and sticking to a shopping list, you will avoid any unnecessary (and unhealthy) impulse purchases.
Avoid Processed Foods Starting with raw materials is not only cheaper, it will cut many preservatives and additives out of your diet. This can only improve your mental and physical well-being.
Drink Only Water – Your soda/coffee/juice/alcohol dependency isn’t doing your wallet or your body any favors. Water is the only liquid you will ever need to drink. So, put a filter on your tap and drink without guilt.
Buy In-Season Produce – A seasonal produce chart may help you do determine what will be cheapest at the store right now. Buying your favorite fruits and vegetables during the off-season can really cost you some major dough.
Shop at the Farmer’s Market – Are you paying gouged prices at your local health food store when you could be getting your food direct from local growers? Check out the local farmer’s market before heading to the grocery store.
Know Your Healthy, Cheap Staples – These include oatmeal, beans and rice. Foods that are filling, inexpensive and healthy should always be readily stocked in the kitchen.
Start a Vegetable Garden – Growing your own food is not only a cheap alternative, but also it offers many physical and mental benefits. Gardening is great exercise and helps to reduce stress, so there are many reasons to take up the hobby.
Avoid the Drive-Thru – When trying to save money and your life, the drive-thru can be your worst enemy. Dollar menus exist, but they are usually filled with deep-fried horrors. If you can find a 99 cent baked potato, however, knock yourself out.
Clip Coupons – This is an obvious way to save some money on food. However, be sure to only save coupons for healthy foods, no matter how much those Oreos are marked down.
Believe it or not, there are actually healthy foods that won’t cost an arm and a leg. You should also consider the ways you indirectly save money by eating well. Being healthy means having a higher immunity and making fewer trips to the doctor, for example. Whatever the reasons for making wiser decisions in your diet, you don’t have to spend a fortune at the local health food store to do it.