Contrary to what many people think, saving on food bill does not necessarily mean having less healthy choices. Nor does scrimping justify you to eat unhealthily.
Getting your hunger pangs fixed from fast food joints that offer cheap meals is not only bad for your health, but for your long term finances as well. Just consider the increasing cost of medical services that you may need to incur as a result of bad eating habits.
Medicines to manage high cholesterol and other diseases associated with obesity and poor eating is stressful to imagine. And getting sick and unable to go to work compounds the total cost.
There are many ways to provide healthy options for you and your family even with a limited budget. Challenge yourself when planning meals. Do research and browse through healthy recipes to help you learn how to shop and prepare dishes that are cheap but are still good for you. Here are some tips for keeping your health and your budget in check.
1. Choose Foods That are Filling
Calorie-dense items such as potatoes, eggs, oats, whole grains and legumes are great for literally filling up your tummy. That is because these items are high in protein and fiber that you’ll feel full quicker with and thus eat less of. Items mentioned are relatively cheap but are nonetheless nutritious.
Avoid buying food that have empty calories, meaning those that may be high in energy but has poor nutritional qualities. This include processed foods like french fries, hotdogs and sweets. So make sure you always have enough stock to whip up easy recipes to feed your very hungry family.
2. Plan a Vegetarian Dish Once a Week
Meats are expensive and your body does not necessarily need it everyday. There are plenty of vegetarian alternatives to meat out now in the market that will give your body the satisfaction that meat dishes offer. Beans for instance are high in protein and can be cooked in ways to mimic meat dishes.
Black bean burger is one popular vegetarian dish that you can try at home at a fraction of a cost of meat and the same healthy value.
3. Plan Your Meals with Seasonal Produce
Educate yourself with what vegetables or fruits are in season when you plan your meals. Out of season products are costly and I am sure you can get away with not cooking the family’s favorite stew for a few weeks.
Furthermore, those items in season are guaranteed to be at its freshest so you gain heaps more healthy benefits by using them in your meals. Your dishes will end up more delicious with the in season ingredients and at a very affordable cost to you.
4. Learn to Cook and Prep
There is no doubt that cooking at home comes down cheaper than buying frozen and ready made meals. Plus you know exactly what are in your food as well as their quality. Also notice how cheaper unprepared ingredients are when you shop at your grocer. Vegetables that are cut up and sliced meat are obviously more dearer than those that are not.
So always picked up loose veggies instead of the packaged ones as they are likely to be more fresher too. And just do the prep work yourself by learning how in free cooking classes that your local community may offer. Otherwise, watch cooking shows or read up books at the library to improve your skill and save more dollars in the long run.
5. Plan Your Own Garden
It may sound tedious but it will be worth it at the end as you harvest your own produce and use items straight from your backyard. Many famous chefs boast of their own veggie garden so why not do the same. Yes, there will be upfront costs but this can be easily recoup once you start harvesting.
Plus it is an excellent idea for the family to do together and learn about the importance of planting as well as the healthy benefits of using the freshest produce. If you do not have space for a garden, then join a local co-op that may have a garden that you can shop from in exchange for a small amount of donation or volunteer time. Co-ops usually sell their produce at a cheap price than those sold on grocers so considering joining one may be the cost-saving plan you need.
Never compromise your health even when times are tough and money do not flow in as before. Getting sick and having health care bills to address is more problematic than spending time to plan and prepare healthy meals at a budget. Just keep your eyes and mind open as there are many affordable ways to keep yourself and your family eating healthy all the time.