Healthy Eating on a Budget

I’ve been doing a lot of reading about healthy eating lately. It is unfortunate that most people think eating healthy is very costly (i.e. must buy all organic, expensive ingredients, etc.) That is simply not true. You can eat very healthy on a budget. It just takes a lot more time.

Practically all the experts say that one of the main ways to eat healthier is to avoid processed foods. Healthy foods come in this order: fresh, frozen, canned or boxed.

Fresh is always best. The problem with fresh is that it spoils quickly and so it takes more thought to be able to use it wisely. Only buy what you need or freeze for later use.

If you freeze or can your own foods, you know what is in them. You can also control the amount of sugar or salt that goes into any food you eat – both are bad for you in large doses.

When you buy a can or a box and read the label, note all the ingredients that you cannot pronounce and don’t have a clue what they are. Many of those are preservatives. It is best to stay away from them if possible.

It is always better to cook regular oatmeal, grits, rice, etc. The instant variety is not only more expensive, but more processed.

To eat healthy and frugally involves thinking ahead. This is not difficult with refrigerators, freezers and crock pots – things our ancestors did not have.

Take the time, maybe once a week, to do the following and you will eat better on whatever budget you have:

  • Cook dried beans. They are a great source of protein. Cook an entire bag and freeze in small portions.
  • Cook healthy meat dishes in quantity and freeze portions. You can actually save time this way. There are tons of crock pot and healthy main dish recipes online.
  • Don’t throw away tiny bits of leftover vegetables. Freeze them and save for soup.
  • Don’t throw away bits of leftover fruit. Freeze and use in smoothies or popsicles for the kids.
  • When you drain vegetables and fruits (if you must buy canned variety), save the water or juice. Vegetable liquids can be used in your soups and fruit liquids can be used in smoothies or make flavored jello from powdered gelatin (which is much cheaper).
  • You can find recipes online for homemade cheese, homemade yogurt and homemade potato chips (without using any grease!)

With a little planning and wise use of your time, you can stretch your food dollars and eat healthy.



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