A healthy diet is essential for the entire family. Everyone from the youngest baby to resident senior citizens will benefit physically, mentally and emotionally. Eating healthy can seem expensive, especially when you look at the price of fresh fruits and vegetables. Fortunately, there are ways to eat healthy while sticking to a sound budget.
Regular trips to the store every week lead to impulse purchases that can blow your budget. Take the time to sit down and plan a menu for the week. Decide on the dishes you will make and create a list of necessary ingredients. Do the shopping once a week to reduce impulse purchases, saving you time and money.
Use the Store Flyers
Stretch your dollars further by planning your menu around the grocery store sales. If ground beef is on sale that week, then plan on making dishes like lasagna, spaghetti, meatloaf or fantastic dirty rice.
Clipping coupons doesn’t have to be a full-time job. Clip out the coupons that arrive in your Sunday paper or mailers during the week. Use them on items that are already on sale to maximize the savings.
When trying to cook healthy meals, you should avoid convenience foods. The exception, however, is frozen vegetables. They have all the same nutrients as fresh vegetables, but they are easier to store and you won’t have to worry about using them before they go bad. Watch for sales where you can use a coupon and they will prove to be less expensive.
Embrace Rice and Potatoes
Although it’s a starch, rice is a healthier choice than pasta. Cooked in a rice cooker and mixed with vegetables, it’s an easy side dish that is healthy and delicious. It’s also incredibly affordable. Replace pasta with rice in alfredo dishes to stretch your budget even further. Potatoes make a number of easy dishes that are affordable, nutritious and a hit with the entire family.
Bags of apples or oranges are more affordable than purchasing a single piece of fruit. When you’re ready for fresh fruit, look for the large packages to save money. When you get home, keep the fruit in a spot that is easy to see and access. This will help you make sure it’s eaten and enjoyed rather than forgotten and wasted.
Unless you are stacking a sale and a coupon for amazing savings, leave the name brand items at the store. Opt for generic foods that are just as tasty and a fraction of the price. Avoid foods with the organic label; these tend to be the most expensive items in the store.
Sugary sodas may be satisfying to the kids, but they are bad for their teeth, their health and your checking account. Encourage the children to drink water for greater health and savings. If they really don’t like plain water, buy mixes of sugar-free lemonade or punch. The kids will still enjoy it, they will skip the unhealthy carbonation and you will watch your grocery expense drop.
You can eat healthy, even if you are on a budget. It will take some planning and patience, but the entire family will thank you for it. Plan your menu using store flyers, and increase your savings by taking advantage of sales and coupons.