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Top 10 Tips For Eating Healthy on a Budget

Grocery store - smiling woman shopping choose fruitEating healthy doesn’t need to cost your family a fortune. With a little practice, elbow grease, and smart thinking, you can eat nutritious foods without breaking the bank.

Here are my top 10 tips to get you started:

1. Review your budget

The first step to eating healthy on a budget is reviewing your budget. Decide how much you want to and can spend on healthy food. You may need to reevaluate how much you are spending on less important expenses like entertainment.

2. Plan ahead and make a list

Before heading out to make your grocery purchases, prepare a meal plan for the week and a grocery list based on that plan. When you’re at the store only purchase what’s on your list.

3. Eat seasonally and purchase locally

When foods are out of season they are much more expensive, purchasing foods in their right seasons can help cut down costs immensely.

Locally produced food can be cheaper because the food doesn’t have to travel as far. Local foods are also more nutrient dense because they can be picked after they are ripe, so dollars per nutrients you are getting a better deal. Try shopping at your local farmer’s market.

4. Stock up/purchase bulk

Purchasing bulk when you can will help you save. Dried beans, grains, flours, and nuts & seeds can all be purchased bulk and easily stored. Stock up on in season fruits & vegetables when they are cheaper. (See tip 5)

5. Learn how to preserve your food

Preserving the foods you purchase in bulk and stock up on takes some work, but will save you money and is a healthier option. Some preserving techniques include: freezing, canning, and dehydrating.

6. Grow your own food

The best and cheapest way to ensure your family is eating nutrient dense organic fruits & vegetables is to grow them yourself. Even if you have limited space, it is possible to grow your own food. If you have a small yard, try square foot gardening. If you only have a patio/balcony, you can use pots. If you don’t have an outside space, there are many resources for do it yourself window gardening that will show you crafty inexpensive ways to grow your food.

7. Make it from scratch, it’s healthier anyways

Make anything from scratch you would purchase in a package, including condiments and sauces. You will save money and won’t be ingesting all the artificial ingredients that also come in those packages.

8. Dirty Dozen, Clean 15

If you are interested in eating organic, the Environmental Working Group has a dirty dozen clean 15 guide (http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/summary.php) to help you choose which foods to purchase organic. Following the guide will keep as many herbicides and pesticides from your plate as possible, without breaking the bank.

9. Eat less meat and more plant proteins

Meat is a big expense in any grocery budget. Try cutting down meat intake to 5 days a week and eating vegetable proteins like beans/lentils two days a week. This will save you some money and add variety to your diet.

10. Don’t eat out

Eating in restaurants is expensive and will break your food budget very quickly. Most restaurant food really isn’t healthy anyways. Save eating out for special occasions and have a separate food or entertainment budget for this. Your dining experience will be special and something your family can look forward too.

Written by: Krystal Bernier, RHN Holistic Nutritionist

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About the Author

Krystal is a holistic nutritionist and mom-to-be. She loves writing about nutrition throughout pregnancy, breastfeeding, and the toddler years on her blog MOMMY-NESS (www.krystalbernier.com).

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