Eating Healthy on a Budget: It Can Happen!
Eating Right on a Budget
Not being able to eat right on a tight budget is a misconception that rears its head time and time again despite the best efforts to dispel it through education. Although bad economic times means cutting back household expenses such as food expenditures, that does not mean you need to start eating poorly to make up for the difference. Eating cheap but nutritious meals is not only possible on a tight budget, it is easier to achieve than the alternatives.
Here are some of the most important tips for eating right to bear in mind while remaining on a tight budget:
Before you head into grocery stores, make sure you draw up a list of the things that you are going to buy. Most stores are laid out to encourage impulse purchases that can often result in poor purchasing decisions. As a result, having a plan in hand when you head into grocery stores and sticking to the plan is important for making the right purchasing decisions.
If you are unsure about what foods are nutritious but still capable of fitting in your budget, there are resources available online to help. Governmental sites often provide valuable information to private individuals, though there are also numerous non-profit organizations out there that do the same. For example, the Environmental Working Group has created a guide called Good Food on a Tight Budget to help individuals learn about eating right on a budget.
Eating healthier on a budget can be as simple as eliminating processed foods and beverage. Not only do foods such as cookies and microwavable dinners contain an over-abundance of sugars, but they also tend to be more expensive than their unprocessed counterparts. Instead, focus on purchasing the healthier, unprocessed foods listed on your shopping lists. The only time when you should be deviating from your plan is if there is a sale going on for foods on your shopping list. In which case, you might want to consider purchasing extra portions so long as they can be stored safely for later consumption.
Since eating out is either expensive or somewhat less expensive but unhealthy, you should try cooking your meals at home as much as possible. If you find the process time-consuming, cook bigger portions so you can re-heat them for subsequent meals.
Looking for a nutritious food should be simple, but the large amount of conflicting information on the internet about what’s healthy and what isn’t makes the whole process of food selection far more complicated than it needs to be. On the whole stick to common sense and try to cover the bases that any nutritious diet provides; sufficient protein, vitamins, minerals and essential fats. The only two major essential nutrients I’d say are getting a little more difficult to find in foods are Vitamin D and the mineral magnesium. Run a nutritional analysis of your weekly food intake to see if you’re short on anything. If magnesium is inadequate (and it freqently is) It might be worth supplementing magnesium citrate to add what you’re not getting. If Vitamin D is inadequate try getting more sunlight exposure and if all else fails…supplement!
Creating and Finding Inexpensive Recipes
Although it might fun to experiment on creating low-cost but nutritious recipes, it is both easier and simpler to find them for free on the Internet. Sites containing inexpensive, nutritious recipes are abundant on the web. Once again, the Environmental Working Group’s Good Food on a Tight Budget is an excellent solution to this problem, though many more recipes can be found by simply submitting the right phrase to Google and other search engines.
Alternatively, if you have both the time and interest, you can try experimenting to create your own money saving but nutritious recipes. Eliminate undesirable ingredients and cooking methods while replacing them with healthier substitutes that result in similar tastes. Use your personal taste and cooking instincts to figure out combinations that you find delicious.
Being on a tight budget is no excuse for not eating well. Choosing nutritious foods over the alternatives is not only the smart thing to do health-wise, but it is also far more cost-efficient.