Sometimes at the grocery store, it seems like there’s a choice to make: you can either save money and sacrifice nutrition or shop healthy and go over your weekly food budget. Alas, there’s good news! Keeping the whole family healthy on a budget is easier than most people realize. Here are a few tips for those hoping to maximize their health and budgets at the same time:
- Drink water
Water is free, can be found at any establishment, and has zero calories. It’s OK for you and your little ones to have juice and other specialty drinks every now and then, but look for easy opportunities to cut back. Instead of a soft drink with lunch, pack a (reusable) water bottle. Drink a glass of water in the morning instead of a glass of juice. Simple switches can have big results.
- Turn your scraps into supplies
Make your own chicken stock by saving your vegetable scraps in the freezer and using leftover chicken drumsticks or other bones. Stock is an excellent way to turn just about any other ingredients into a meal, so it’s a great thing to have constantly on-hand and replenished. Got plenty of stock but too many vegetable scraps? Freeze them to add to a stew or crock pot recipe. Extra ground beef can be frozen to include in meat pies for dinner next week.
- Make your food count
Want to see major improvements in your family’s nutrition even more quickly? Simply focus on buying nutritious food and keeping the junk off your shopping list. Fresh and frozen vegetables are going to be your friend in this endeavor, and that’s a good thing. Vegetables are nutrient-rich, easy to find, and come in so many varieties that, truthfully, you’re bound to find at least one that you like. Fruit is not only healthful, it’s delicious and can do wonders to kick a serious sugar craving. Try to stick to whichever produce is seasonal when you go shopping—you’ll usually find better deals.
If you think your family may revolt without at least a few of their old favorites, limit it to one or two per person. Make healthy, fiscally smart switches where you can. Greek yogurt with granola can be a cheap, healthy substitution for a pudding cup, and zucchini bread can give you the essence of indulging in a cake or pastry but with fewer calories.
- Plan and prepare
Over the weekend, decide with your family what meals you’re going to eat each day of the following week. Don’t forget snacks! Make your shopping list based on this conversation and don’t deviate from it unless you’re making smart substitutions—substituting the ground beef in your lasagna for the ground turkey that’s on sale.
After your trip to the store, set aside a few hours each week to prepare the meals together as a family. You can cook some completely ahead of time and freeze or refrigerate them for the next few days, or you can add fresh ingredients the day you make them.
- Switch your meat for more legumes
Meat—especially fresh meat— tends to be one of the most expensive items we require of most meals. It can also be one of the easiest healthy, cost-cutting changes you make! Legumes are actually an excellent source of protein, and best of all they’re inexpensive. That doesn’t mean you have to cut out meat completely. Cook smaller portions and supplement them with a hearty serving of legumes and your entire family will leave the table satisfied!
- Get active together
Exercise just isn’t as fun by yourself, so make it a family activity. Go to the park and hike a trail together or jump into the pool for a game of water basketball. When your physical fitness becomes a game, you look forward to doing it. Who needs to join an expensive health club when you’ve got a team to keep you on your toes right at home?
Eating on a budget doesn’t have to be unhealthy or unappetizing. Keep these tips in mind and you’ll be on the road to better living!
Copyright © 2017 Katybeth Dee
All Rights Reserved
While www.impactofvitamind.com is dedicated to health and wellness, there is also place on this website for articles on lifestyle, in as much as lifestyle can have an impact on an individual’s health. Katybeth’s article is all about eating well on a budget. Nevertheless, the suggestions offered will also help one lead a healthier life.
Katybeth Dee created SelfExam.org after her sister received a cancer diagnosis at a young age. Her aim is to spread awareness about cancer prevention and she strives hard to offer support to those battling cancer.
Copyright © 2017 Eugene L. Heyden, RN
All Rights Reserved.