Tips to Help You Prepare Nutritious and Affordable Meals

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Buying healthy foods when on a tight budget can be difficult.

So…

You need to spend only on the foods you can afford. Various websites focus on helping people create food budgets. As an example, the U.S. Department for Agriculture recommends the Spend Smart-Eat Smart plan developed by the Iowa State University.

The site also features cost-effective recipes based on the recommended Dietary Guidelines for healthy eating.

First, develop a budget then find an online grocery store or go through ads of related stores in newspapers to determine what’s available for sale. Consider featured items, staples, and canned foods put up for sale.

Make sure you check each food product’s use-by and expiry date before making a purchase. Buy items with the farthest expiration dates to ensure that they can still last longer before you cook them.

However, healthy foods are usually costly. This makes it difficult to prepare and eat healthy meals when working on a tight budget. Here’re tips to help you buy nutritious foods even on a budget to eat healthily:

  • Create a meal plan

Plan your meals one week early and create a grocery list of the items you’ll need to prepare the meals. Check your pantry and fridge for the ingredients already available; cross what you have off your list. Buy only what you’ll use to avoid wastage and save on costs.

  • Purchase only what’s on your grocery list

Make sure you stick to buying only the items on your grocery list. Avoid impulse buying of things not on your grocery list to stay on budget. Opt for whole foods and avoid items placed at eye level because they’re usually the most costly. Consider using a grocery shopping app to access shared lists, avoid impulse buying. It also ensures that you can access your list on the go.

  • Prepare your own meals at home

Cook your favorite meals at home to save on costs. Preparing homemade food is cheaper than eating out. The amount you’d spent out in a restaurant for two people can feed an entire family of 4 persons. Whether you cook each meal at a time or an entire week’s meals over the weekend, you’re bound to eat healthy foods. What’s more, you decide what goes into your meals.

  • Cook food in large portions and keep leftovers for later use

Save money and time whenever you cook meals in large portions. Store leftovers in the fridge for use as ingredients in other recipes, lunches or freeze them to eat at a later date. When on a budget, use your food leftovers to prepare stir-fries, stews, burritos, or even salads.

  • Don’t go shopping when your stomach is empty

You’re likely to buy foods not on your grocery list if you go shopping hungry; cravings can force you to indulge in impulse buying. Take a snack of yogurt, fruits, or any other healthy snack before stepping out to a local store. This ensures you stick to your list.

  • Purchase whole foods

Processed foods are more costly than whole foods. However, the latter is healthier. Whereas canned beans are more affordable than refried options, cheese blocks cost less than their shredded counterparts. Unlike processed cereals, whole grains such as oats and brown rice are also more affordable per serving. What’s more, they’re sold in larger amounts, hence more servings in every package.

  • Stock up food items on sales

Replenish your staples and favorites only when they’re on sale to save on costs. Make sure that the food you stock up has a long shelf life to prevent them from going bad on the shelf. Make sure there’s enough shelf storage for dry foodstuffs. You may have to use handy tools to create hanging shelves in your pantry. Use a jointer planer combo as a helical cutter when building custom shelves. Invest in a generator to light your kitchen and illuminate your cooking space. The best portable generators are Easy To Install, making them ideal for residential use.

  • Opt for more affordable meat cuts

Fish and meat are generally expensive. Buy meat cuts in lower amounts and use them to prepare casseroles, burritos, stews, soups, and stir-fries. If you need to use meat in several meals in an upcoming week, consider buying a single large yet cost-effective meat cut. You’ll prepare large meals and still get lots of leftovers from meat cuts without spending more money.

  • Opt for other proteins as alternatives to meat

The less meat you buy, the more money you get to save. Buy other proteins such as hemp seeds, legumes, canned fish, or eggs to cut on your budget. The plant proteins are nutritious, affordable, and easy to prepare. What’s more, they have a longer lifespan than meat. Prepare them once or twice a week to diversify your meals.

  • Buy local foods in season

Foods in season are usually affordable and contain optimum flavor and nutrients. However, imported foods are less nutritious and neither good for your budget nor the environment. You can buy the foods in bulk than single pieces to save on costs. Store the rest of the foods for use in other meals.

You can also buy frozen fruits and veggies at reduced costs without compromising on their nutritional value. Grow your own food in your backyard, carry packed lunch to work, make use of coupons and shop online to eat healthy affordably. Without so much money to spend on food, you can still buy healthy foods on a budget. Plan your meals, make smart shopping choices and cook your meals at home. Avoid junk food and adopt other healthy habits to eat healthy, nutritious meals on a budget.