Filling up on nourishing food doesn’t need to break the bank. You can easily enjoy a balanced diet and balanced budget if you know what to do.
We’ve put together a list of our favorite tips and tricks to help you shake up your menu and eat healthy on a budget while saving money (and time). Combine any and all of our suggestions to really see the benefits. You’ll be amazed by how much you can save and how well you’ll eat, if you’re strategic.
Top Tips for Eating Healthy on a Budget
1. Shop the Perimeter
If you’re going to the grocery store these days, be sure to do the majority of your shopping along the perimeter of the store. The outside aisles are where you’ll find the freshest and most wholesome foods, like produce, meat and dairy. It’s the middle aisles that you should watch out for – they can be full of processed foods, which are generally heavy on preservatives, packaging and your wallet.
2. Eat Seasonally
Foods that are in-season tend to be less expensive and better for you. Consuming fresh, seasonal foods means that you’re enjoying food that is at its peak in flavor and nutrients. Local produce is also better for both the environment and your budget because your food won’t travel halfway across the world to get to your table.
Consider buying in-season food in bulk and canning or freezing it for future use. That way, you can save money and eat healthier in those dark, winter months when the seasonal pickings are a little slimmer.
3. Dine at Home
It’s no secret that cooking at home is way cheaper than eating out. But did you know that you can generally feed a family of four at home for the same price as one or two people at a typical restaurant?
By cooking at home, you also have the added benefit of knowing exactly what goes into your meals, making it easier to fuel your body with healthy, whole foods and avoid hidden ingredients.
4. Keep it Interesting With Meal Kits
Sometimes you need to mix things up a bit in the kitchen, so that you don’t get bored and start ordering take-out more regularly. Meal kits can be a welcome distraction from your usual go-to recipes. They’re a good way to try out different recipes, learn new cooking techniques and combine everyday ingredients in unique ways that you hadn’t thought of before.
HelloFresh offers a wide variety of delicious and low-calorie meal options with nutritious ingredients. They’re also the first global carbon-neutral meal kit company – so their service is not only good for you, it’s good for the planet too!
Moola offers savings on meal delivery services across Canada including:
and more! Download Moola for free and you could save up to 10% on gift cards for meal kit delivery.
5. Search For Sales on Perishable Items
Stores often offer big discounts on foods that are nearing the end of their shelf-life to drum up fast sales. You can often save upwards of 50% on fresh and perishable foods. There’s also a growing trend to try to reduce food waste by offering deep discounts on imperfectly-shaped or lightly bruised fruits and vegetables. So, keep an eye out for those brightly colored mark-down stickers. You can either eat up the discounted items quickly or freeze them for future use.
6. Schedule Food Prep Days
Sunday afternoons in our house are reserved for meal prep. Batch cooking on the weekend guarantees that our house is stocked with healthy meals for the entire week.
We whip up batches of healthy snacks, like homemade egg bites and muffins, and also cut up our fruits and veggies into grab-and-go containers. Take delivery cravings out of the equation by cooking large batches of hearty pasta, soups, chilli and casseroles that can be stored in the fridge or freezer, then quickly warmed up for simple mid-week meals.
7. Stick To Your List
How many times have you gone to the grocery store to pick up a loaf of bread and come out with two full bags of food? Be sure to do your shopping on a full stomach so that you don’t over-spend or end up with a grocery cart full of junk food.
8. Be Selective With Organics
Eating organic offers great benefits, but it isn’t always easy on a budget. When you’re shopping for organic produce, be strategic. Take a look over the Dirty Dozen and the Clean 15 lists,which outlines the kinds of fruits and vegetables that are generally exposed to the most and least pesticides.
9. Buy Groceries Online
If you’re still going to the store, consider switching to online grocery shopping. These days, most stores offer grocery pick-up, as well as door-to-door delivery services. Not only will shopping online save you time, it will also help with meal planning and ensure that you only purchase the groceries that you actually need.
10. Grow it Yourself
Spring is the perfect time of year to start planning a garden. Growing your own food is one of the best ways to eat healthy and fresh. Even if you don’t have a yard or a green thumb, you can still grow lush crops of fresh herbs, sprouts, lettuce, tomatoes and greens in small patio boxes or window containers.
BONUS: Load Up on Moola eGift Cards
Moola makes it even easier to save on your grocery bills. Try pre-loading Moola’s grocery eGift cards with a set amount each month so that you stick to your budget. There are tons of options for purchasing essential items with eGift cards at stores like Longo’s, and SPUD.ca.
You’ll also reap the benefits of receiving additional savings when you load up your cards, so your food budget will go even further.