When it comes to eating healthy, there are millions of products on the market with promises to help you shed pounds, pack on muscle or even strengthen your heart.
However, there is no magic pill that will get us from point A to point B overnight. In fact, many people suffer the discouraging thoughts that come with not having their expectations and goals met, especially because it is often hard to find healthy food if you have a modest budget.
When it comes to eating healthy, there is a general consensus that “healthier” foods are more expensive than processed foods. Thus, some people may say that eating healthy on a budget is quite challenging.
However, it’s often not finding cheap healthy food that is the problem. The problem is usually that people do not know what to look for. When looking for healthy meals on a budget, you want to be sure that you first stick with a recipe that is simple and quick to make.
There are many cheap easy healthy meals and good habits to eating healthy without breaking the bank. Cooking at home, planning your meals, and finding simple recipes for cheap healthy meals are all just a few ways we can eat healthy without spending too much money.
1. Cook at Home
While the convenience of eating fast foods (or even food at many fast-casual and full-service restaurants) is quite appealing, our bodies eventually bear the consequences. If cooking seems too time consuming, you may want to re-evaluate your approach and find quicker alternatives. This can significantly cut down on time and money.
As stated, there is a consensus that eating healthy is a luxury that is too expensive to afford. This belief doesn’t give you much incentive to eat healthier, and it isn’t always true.
If you want to eat healthier without increasing your food spending, then you may need to cut out eating out altogether. Even at “healthy” restaurants, menu items often come loaded with salt, which can be dangerous in high quantities.
Instead of doing out, cook at home by finding meals that work for you. This means you’ll need to experiment a little bit before you find your staple foods to eat. Look at it as an investment into your health. As you become more familiar with new flavors, textures, and combinations, you’ll notice that you spend less time and money in the kitchen.
2. Plan Your Meals
Many people have a habit of picking up a bunch of items from the grocery store that they don’t necessarily need. People often forget about certain items in their fridge which then go into the spoil pile. This wasted food cost money.
One benefit of planning your meals is less food waste. If you have an exact recipe in the meal plan, you know exactly how much of an ingredient you need for each serving. Planning meals also helps you to save precious time.
You can plan your meals days or even weeks in advance. So, you would want to pick one day out of the week or every other week to prepare your meals. When planning your meals, try to take into account factors like leftovers, double- or triple-usage of ingredients, coupons, etc. This will help you stay healthy while making the most of your time and money.
3. Cook Large Portions for Leftovers
Always make a little bit of extra food when you have the opportunity to cook. If you have a busy work week, then take advantage of the time you have free. Don’t just cook meals for the next couple of days.
If you find an item that was on sale and that will keep well in the fridge, cook a little extra to make your days stretch. Instead of making one serving of baked chicken breasts that you bought on sale, consider buying more and making a bigger batch. That way, you can either mix and match the chicken with different sides throughout the week or just keep it in your freezer for another time.
Another great meal that you can make extra of is stir fry. A vegetable stir-fry is simply a bunch of delicious veggies lightly fried or sauteed on the stove top. You can have your stir-fry with rice or even make your own wraps with the leftovers. Wraps are actually a really fast, easy and cheap way to create healthy meals.
You can use tortilla, cabbage leaves, lettuce leaves, and more to wrap with. Affordable dinners such as wraps are very easy to make. Other cheap and healthy meals you can make in large portions include chicken tostadas, porridge, fruit salad, and tuna salad.
If you are looking for more low-calorie meals on a budget, then another great dish to cook large portions of is cabbage soup. It’s cheap, filling, and you can eat as much as you would like without worrying about gaining unhealthy weight.
4. Supplement Meats With Plant-Based Proteins
Meat is not the only place we can find protein. There are many plant-based foods that are immensely rich in proteins. Not everyone’s body agrees with meat and dairy. Some people may have a meat or dairy intolerance. Others may simply want to test out a vegetarian or even vegan diet. It’s important to know the foods that are rich in proteins. These food products include tofu, tempeh, edamame, lentils, chickpeas, peanuts, almonds, quinoa, beans, and chia seeds.
5. Cheap Healthy Snacks and Quick Hacks
The following are a few cheap healthy dinner ideas and eating hacks.
- Experiment with different healthy wraps.
- Feel free to use smoothies as a meal replacement from time to time.
- If your body is craving something sweet, try some apples with a little bit of peanut butter.
- Try fun new recipes with healthy alternatives. For example, black bean brownies are a great source of protein and require no dairy at all. Healthy doesn’t mean you have to take the enjoyment out of eating.
- Oatmeal is a cheap healthy snack. It’s very filling, made easily, and can be garnished with fruits.
- Whole almonds are also a great snack with several health benefits.
- If you want to snack on something sweet, try Greek yogurt with honey, oats, and fruit.
Eating should never feel like a chore or be something that you dread doing. It is a necessary part of our body’s maintenance and well-being. It’s also necessary to keep our bodies healthy, and this surely can be done without breaking the bank.