If you’re like most people today, a good portion of your monthly budget goes towards purchasing food. There’s no shortage of options; from creating meals from scratch, purchasing ready-made meals from the market, eating out at restaurants, or hitting the drive thru window there are associated costs, both physical and financial involved. If you’re looking to eat better while still keeping your budget on a diet here are five ways to do both. I have been definitely trying to get healthy on a budget.
1) Meal Plan.
How can you be sure you’re staying on track with your eating and your budget? By making a plan! Everyone can use a road map to help them be successful. Meal planning is a must for anyone who wants to eat better and watch their spending. Some people choose to only plan dinners, while others map out each meal and snack. Find a system that works for you and stick with it. You’ll be sure to purchase only the food you need – or to plan your meals better based on the budget you have available. When I am meal planning I use my Flipp app to make my list.
2) Get in Your Kitchen!
You’ve heard it before, but one of the best ways to save money while eating healthy is to get in the kitchen and make the food you’ll be eating. Don’t rely on processed foods for your family meals. This allows you to control the ingredients that are being used and whole ingredients are less expensive than purchasing meals. The trade-off is that it will take some of your time – but probably not as much as you think. Keep your meal options simple, use fresh whole ingredients.
3) Eat in Season.
The price of strawberries in December is staggering. Today, thanks to a global marketplace, we’re fortunate to have access to almost all fruits and vegetables year round. The further your food has to travel the more expensive it will be. If you consciously make an effort to choose produce selections that are in season you will see a major cost savings.
4) Cut Back on Meat.
Meat is expensive to purchase, and if you want to buy free range or organic products you’ll see an even higher price tag. You don’t have to completely turn away from meat but cutting back on the amount used in recipes or swapping for a less expensive option can save you money while still enjoying the taste and health benefits found in meat. A swap example would be to choose a locally caught lake fish instead of an imported ocean fish. Just like produce, meat and fish also have seasons. Take some time to learn when your favorites are in season and stock up. Freezing meat for later is a great way to take advantage of sales.
5) Look at grocery store alternatives.
One stop shopping is attractive for the convenience however it might not save you money. Seek out other sources for the items you enjoy. Some gas stations sell produce like onions, potatoes and bananas for a fraction of their grocery store competitors. Investing in a Good Food Box ( here in Toronto) is another way to try out great, local produce. People pay a flat fee up front then weekly or bi-weekly get a box of produce that has been harvested mostly locally. If the cost and amount of produce is too much for your family you can pair up with a friend to split a subscription. Have you checked out a local farmer’s market lately?
These are just a few ways you can save money and eat better. What other tips do you have? Do you do any of these things already? Join us on TuesdayApril 29th for the #cdnmoney chat from 7-8 pm EST.