Eating Healthy on a Budget…
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When people discover that I coupon and work hard to eat healthy, I seem to get asked the same questions over and over again… How do you eat healthy on a budget? Don’t you find that all the coupons out there only allow you to save money on junk food purchases?
Check out this email from Hip2Save reader, Meg…
I’ve always maintained that it is expensive to eat healthy. (Great excuse, huh?) Specialty foods, fresh produce, etc. are not cheap. People who are on a tight budget find themselves eating lots of grains and carbs that are not good for them and can pack on the pounds. I’d love to hear your suggestions on how to be healthy and frugal.
Although I admit that I do love to have a stash of junk food for those late night cravings (there’s nothing better than a double-stuffed Oreo at midnight 😀 ) and appreciate having mac & cheese or frozen pizza available for those nights when I cannot drag myself into the kitchen to prepare a home-cooked meal, I do try to maintain a fairly healthy lifestyle for myself and my family. So here are some of my favorite tips for eating healthy without breaking the bank:
* Buy fresh fruits and vegetables that are in season: Summer – melon, corn, tomatoes, peaches, berries; Fall – pumpkins, squash, apples; Winter – oranges, grapefruit, apples, grapes; Spring – strawberries. Check out your local farmer’s market or fruit stand…you’ll be supporting local farmers AND typically saving some money as well! For a list of the cheapest fruit and veggies month by month, click here.
* Eat frozen or canned fruits and vegetables when fresh ones cost more or are not in season( frozen ones have less salt than canned). Be sure to buy canned fruits that are “lite” or use natural juice and not syrup.
* Grains: Eat whole wheat or whole grain bread, pasta and cereal. When you find a great deal on bread, stock up on several loaves and freeze them to use later. Consider stocking up on hot cereals like oatmeal, grits, and cream of wheat, when they are on sale as they have a longer shelf life and typically cost less than cold cereal.
* Proteins (meat, poultry, dried beans, eggs, fish): Choose low fat meats and buy in the “big” package when it is on sale (split it into several meals and put it into the freezer until needed); Remember that turkey typically costs less than chicken. And don’t forget the beans! Beans cost less than meat and are great for you with lots of fiber. They typically make meals more substantial and filling!
* Grow your own produce…start small and start simple. Easy to grow crops include onions, peas, beets, rutabaga and zucchini squash. For more information on starting your first vegetable garden, click here.
* Consider replacing the oil in recipes with an equal amount of no-sugar-added apple sauce. It won’t change the taste of your recipe, but it will change the healthfulness of it.
* Reduce your cholesterol consumption by substituting the eggs in baked goods with a tablespoon of soy flour. You can pick up a bag for as little as $2-$3, and it will last you for quite a long time.
Also, remember that there ARE manufacturer’s coupons available for healthy foods and even fresh fruits and veggies. Here’s a round-up of some of my favorite coupons for healthy and nutritious products:
*Horizon Organic Dairy products
*Stonyfield Organic coupons
*$0.55 off any Mann’s Fresh Cut vegetables
*$1 off any two Birds Eye C&W Vegetable Products
*$1 off one package of Al Fresco All Natural Chicken Sausage
*$0.75 off one package of Gold ‘n Plump Ground Chicken
*$2 off Sara Lee Pre-Sliced Deli Meat
*$1 off ANY flavor/variety Cascadian Farms product
*Various Organic and Natural product coupons on Mambo Sprouts
*Save $0.75 on a 4 ct pack of Santa Cruz Organic Sparkling beverages
*Save $0.75/1 Voskos Greek Yogurt
*Save $1.50/2 WASA Crackers
And lots more!
What do you think? Do you have any suggestions/tips? Let us know in the comment section below.