After a long, exhausting day at the office, cooking a healthy meal may not be your favorite way to relax. And you may prefer eating a pizza over something nutritious. Feeling unmotivated, you may often browse all the food delivery apps. After a few clicks, you may choose something tasty, and it arrives at your doorstep within an hour.
It may seem like the perfect way to save time and eat better—but those delivery fees add up fast. Before you know it, you may spend an extra $200 to $300 on top of your normal food budget. Figuring out how to eat healthy on a budget is never easy. But the savings and health benefits are well worth the effort.
If you struggle with consistency, here are some basic things to try.
Try prepping your meals over the weekend.
As you learn how to eat healthy on a budget, you may turn to social media for inspiration.
Instagram is full of hashtags like #MealPrep and #MealPrepSunday for a good reason. It’s one of the easiest ways to stay on track—without letting a bunch of produce go to waste.
By cooking a few things over the weekend, you may be less likely to grab take-out or reach for junk food when you are hangry.
But if eating the same thing for days sounds too boring, start small. Pick one dish you love and make enough for 3-4 meals. It may still save a lot of time and money during the busy workweek.
Buy frozen fruits and vegetables.
There’s nothing better than biting into a fresh, in-season strawberry or tomato. But research shows frozen fruits and vegetables are just as nutritious—at a fraction of the cost. Best of all, you may be less likely to waste that bell pepper or onion you couldn’t use in time.
Purchase your staple ingredients in bulk.
Keeping a well-stocked pantry can be the key to whipping up a quick, healthy meal. Buying brown rice, quinoa, or oats in bulk is often a lot cheaper. Store them in airtight containers to keep them fresh. You will be happy to have the ingredients on hand for last-minute recipes.
Go mostly vegetarian and stick with cheaper cuts of meat.
While meat may be an excellent source of protein, there are plenty of animal-free options, too. Beans, lentils, tofu, nuts, and seeds are chock full of protein—without the hefty price tag. When you do decide to splurge on meat, try less expensive cuts. If you are making a hearty stew or casserole, you may not notice the difference. You can also watch for sales, stock up on meat, and freeze it for later.
Make Your Own Coffee & Tea
Stopping by your local coffee shop may be one of your favorite rituals. But your daily habit may be taking a big bite from your monthly budget. You may save a lot more than you think by buying your own beans and loose leaf tea. By brewing coffee and tea yourself, you may create an even better morning routine—from the comfort of your own home.
Quit your junk food habit.
If self-care often involves junk food and Netflix, you may be spending too much on empty calories. Sugary snacks often feel good in the moment, but without much protein or fiber, you may not stay full for long. Learning how to eat well on a budget doesn’t have to mean deprivation, either. To avoid overeating, try nutrient-dense snacks. Think string cheese, greek yogurt with berries, or celery with peanut butter.
How to Eat Well on a Budget
Navigating how to eat healthy on a budget doesn’t have to be difficult. By making small changes over time, you may find it easier to be successful. Don’t expect major shifts to happen overnight. The journey to better health and wellness happens one bite at a time.