Eating healthy on a budget

Tired of the grocery bills being in the triple digits because of your healthy-eating lifestyle? Well, this stops today because eating healthy on a budget is possible and definitely affordable. When it comes to eating healthy, everyone automatically thinks organic and dollar signs. However, there are many ways to eat clean while saving money. Here are some tips that will have you on the right track to eating healthy while spending less.

Bargain Hunting
Everyone loves a bargain because sales help you to pay less than the original price. For example, fruits are probably one of the most expensive healthy items on your grocery list. Strawberries cost about $3.99 to $4.99 for a small plastic carton. On the other hand, if you are lucky, you can catch a bargain where the prices are two for $5.

With bargain hunting comes the luxury of buying in bundles. This allows you to buy on sale and in large quantities to stock up. Going back to the example of the strawberries, one might buy one carton of strawberries at the price of $3.99, but with the sale price end up buying four. You¹re saving, getting more for your buck and stocking up your refrigerator. Now that is a deal!

Cross Shopping
Cross shopping is another technique used to save money. At home, spend time looking up different local supermarkets, food markets and even department stores like Walmart and Target in your area. This will allow you to cross shop products that are on your healthy grocery list and compare prices. Sometimes, the same items that you are waiting to go sale in one location is already on sale at another or even regularly priced cheaper than other stores.

Seasonal Shopping
Seasonal shopping is another way to save money. For instance, seafood can be very costly, especially salmon because it is high in nutrients and in high demand. Salmon contains protein, which is good for body growth and maintenance. In addition, salmon consists of the Omega 3 fats (good fatty acids), which help fight many health problems such as diabetes and cancer. So when is the best time to buy salmon? The answer is from May-September because this is when fish is more prominent in the water and large quantities can be sold to consumers at cheaper prices. Now that you have bought all your items, next is to determine how you cook them.

The way you prepare your food is very important. Let¹s take a look at chicken for a moment. As we know, fried chicken is most common, not only at home but in fast food restaurants. Yes, it might be enticing and satisfying to the stomach, but fried food also absorbs large amounts of grease and oil. Grease and oil breaks down into what is known as “bad” fat, which can clog arteries and cause heart disease and strokes. Baking, steaming, boiling and grilling are cooking alternatives that are much healthier. If you do choose to incorporate a little oil in your meal, cooking with extra virgin olive oil is recommended because it contains heart-healthy antioxidants. Remember to remove all skin and fat from the meat. A clean meal is a clean body!

Portion Control
Paying attention to how much food you are consuming is critical to eating healthy and sticking to the budget. Portion control is vital. It allows you to monitor your food intake, as well as budget your shopping list. For example, if you tend to eat larger portions of fish rather than steak, your budget will take in consideration the price of fish, going back to the idea of seasonal and bundle shopping. Portion control also brings about the strategy of substitution, where instead of having larger portions of fish, consider switching it up with shrimp or scallops. In this case, you are still obtaining protein but leaving yourself with options to make new dishes and try new foods.

Stay away from junk food. Substitution is key! Snacking can get the best of us because junk foods like potato chips, cookies and ice cream taste so good. We think it is OK because we are only consuming small amounts. However, you can find healthy snacks that taste great, too. For example, instead of having ice cream, look at having yogurt. Yogurt is nutritious and light. As for potato chips, try baked chips like tortilla chips or even rice crisps; you can even take it a step further and make your own. Remember, make smart substitutions!

You can eat healthy regardless of your budget. Do not get discouraged by high costs of eating healthy. Conduct research and find ways to beat the prices. Your body is important, and eating right is a major step to staying healthy or improving your health. With all the tips above, you can eat smart, save money and live healthy!

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By Akilah C. Thompson

Akilah C. Thompson earned bachelor’s degrees in accounting and business economics from North Carolina A&T State University. She is an IRS enrolled agent, certified life coach, licensed Zumba instructor and inspirational speaker. She is the founder and CEO of ACT Inspires, Inc. and the nonprofit Generations Inspired, Inc. Thompson is also a model, actor and author.