3 Easy ways to Eat Healthy on a Budget

Who say's reaching your health and fitness goals means you can't stick to a budget? You can eat right without spending all of your money at the grocery store.

Food is one of the biggest expenses I spend money on every month. If you want to lose weight or really just improve your quality of life, it starts with healthy foods.

Healthy foods are:

  • Lean proteins
  • Vegetables
  • Fruits and whole grains
  • Healthy fat sources

The only thing your budget should shape is the kinds of foods that you buy in these groups.

When you prepare your meals in advance, one week you might eat chicken, the next you might try beef.

Here are some ways that you can stay on track with your fitness goals and your budget.

1. Stick to Staple Foods

Oatmeal, rice, beans, potatoes, canned vegetables, olive oil. Those foods are very cheap and can make for the basis of your healthy eating.

No they aren't the most exciting but, you can change the game if your spices are on point.

My favorite three spices are:

  1. Cumin
  2. Chilli Powder
  3. Crushed Red Pepper Flakes

Maybe you can find some spices that work well for you.

A protein source is really all you need to round things out. I'll get to that at the end of this.

2. Try to Cook Most of Your Meals

By now it's no secret that eating out is more expensive. Even if you buy things on the dollar menu, the math just doesn't make sense.

Have you heard of meal prepping?

You can save some of the time you'll spend cooking if you prepare some things in advance.

Read the entire recipe before you start cooking

Do all your measurements at the same time

Get some tupperware out for storage after

Once you get the cooking practice down, it saves even more time.

To top it off, there are many, many articles written about the health cost of eating fast foods.

3. Shop Where You Save the Most

If you have a local Aldi you're in luck on the produce end!

Sales help me vary what kind of fruits and vegetables I eat. I just buy foods that seem priced appropriately.

I've bought things like:

  • Radishes for 69 cents for 8 oz
  • Sweet potatoes for 69 cents a bag (about 7-8 medium)
  • 2 lbs of carrots for 99 cents

The funny thing about some of the food is, it's literally the exact same brands you see at other stores. Aldi is just significantly cheaper.

For meats, the cheapest chicken I've seen in Columbia Missouri without a sale has been found at Walmart (1.99/lb). However, I'm not really a fan of the Walmart chicken, the quality seems off.

Hyvee has some great sales and better quality that can actually make the trip worthwhile. It might take a little more math but, I've found chicken on sale at 3.99/lb buy one get one free.

That comes out to 1.98/lb and you just have to buy more. I've also seen chicken on sale for 1.48/lb at Hyvee and 1.69/lb at Aldi.

[Bonus] 4. Buy your food in bulk

Besides saving trips across town, if you have a place to store it all, generally this is a long term game changer. Per unit, foods are typically cheaper in bulk.

A large chunk of the price is in packaging.

If you buy meat on sale, you can freeze it for later when you run out. The sale might be over when you need it.

Take that 1.48/lb chicken for example; I weigh about 215. A higher protein diet requires anywhere from 0.8-1.0g of protein per lb.

Active people and those trying to lose weight need more protein.

That means I need 172-215 grams or 28.6-35.8oz of meat in a day.

My meat budget might look like this:

  • Chicken at 1.48/lb: $80.65-100.81 a month
  • Chicken at 1.99/lb: $108.44-135.56 a month
  • Turkey breast at 2.99/lb: $162.94-203.68 a month
  • Bottom round roast at 4.99/lb: $271.93-339.92 a month

Huge difference.

To save money I could try to eat on the lower end (172 grams) and still reach my fitness goals.

Planning in advance can save you hundreds a year, or just make your goal possible financially.

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