Eating healthy is rarely the most affordable option. With just an ounce of creativity, however, it’s possible to bring healthy, budget-friendly food choices home to your family each and every night.
Consider the following tips that are sure to please your palate and your pocketbook.
1. Rarely eat out
Eating the majority of your meals at home has two wonderful benefits:
∙ For one, the amount of money you spend on food will be significantly less. Eating, and especially drinking, at restaurants is often much pricier than you even realize.
∙ Eating out usually doesn’t allow you to control your diet. Most restaurants, even Mexican and Chinese restaurants, cater to American dietary staples which means carbs, carbs, and more carbs. If you eat vegetarian, paleo, or primal, it can be very difficult to find a meal out that doesn’t break your self-imposed dietary restrictions.
2. Grow your own vegetables and herbs
You’ll be shocked by how much you can save by becoming a gardener. Even in a small home with minimal outdoor space, it’s still possible to have your own garden in pots.
∙ Fresh herbs and vegetables are not only tastier and healthier than store-bought products, they cost pennies by comparison. A very small package of organic basil will cost several dollars and only contain a few leaves. For less than $2 you can buy enough seeds to have several dozen basil plants that will last all year. Consider selling your extra plants or trading them with friends.
Below are a few cooking techniques that are both healthy and affordable.
1. Grilled or baked vs fried
Fried foods are cheap to produce which is why we’re inundated with them. Unfortunately, most mass-produced fried foods are just plain terrible healthwise. Get your kids on board with grilled foods from an early age.
∙ You can still enjoy healthier versions of American classics like fried chicken. Prep the chicken exactly the same way and then simply bake it in the oven instead of getting out the fryer.
2. Use homemade condiments
Store-bought condiments are stuffed full of corn syrup and a laundry list of preservatives and stabilizers that few people can pronounce. An alternative is to make your own relishes and sauces at home. An added benefit is that you can make them in bulk for pennies per ounce compared to what you’ll pay at the store.
3. Make your own juices
You shouldn’t be surprised that store-bought juices are brimming with sugar or artificial sweeteners. Save yourself the extra dollars and your family the extra calories by making juice at home. Fruit is relatively affordable if you buy it locally in-season and in bulk.
Busy families often end up choosing the more expensive and less healthy eating options for their families simply because buying pre-made healthy meals is ridiculously expensive. It simply doesn’t have to be. A little creativity and imagination can help make for a healthier meal on a budget.
Now is the time to put your thinking cap on and find a smarter way to eat with healthier and money-saving outcomes!