If you’ve ever tried to start a healthy eating plan, you’ll know how much hard work it can be. Not only is it tough to change your routines, but it can look really expensive to eat good food.
With this in mind, you might easily slip back to fast food and ready meals. But does healthy eating really have to be so tough?
First, we’ll take an honest look at why it’s often so hard to stick to a healthy eating plan. We’ll consider expense, a force of habit, and common questions that keep people confused about what they ought to eat.
Next, we’ll show you how you can start saving while eating consistently healthily.
We’ve got nine effective tips up our sleeve, and we’ll explain how you can use them to make real changes to your everyday life.
Finally, we’ll give you some extra advice that could make all the difference.
When you decide to make a change to the way you eat, you usually plan to stick to healthy eating for life.
You aim to get all the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients you need from wholesome but tasty food, and you hope to feel amazing as a result. In reality, however, this gets complex pretty quickly. As we’ll explain in the next section, it can be costly.
But before you even get to the stage of buying anything, you might run into difficulty.
In particular, you might hear all sorts of conflicting information about how much you should be eating of what – and when.
So, why are healthy foods expensive compared to the stuff you know is stuffed with empty calories? There are lots of different factors in play here.
For one thing, food produced for health-conscious people tends to require ingredients that are carefully sourced.
This can mean more expensive, whether because of better farming methods or different approaches to cooking.
In addition, there is typically more care put into products that are healthier, because there is planning that goes into creating well-balanced, good-tasting food. In contrast, the cheaper, less healthy options of the world are often mass-produced.
However, there are lots of myths around the affordability of healthy food. The above factors present some roadblocks in some cases, but they don’t apply to all possible healthy foods, and there are clever, straightforward ways to get around worries about price.
Before we look at some of the best tips, however, let’s pause to think about what you actually need to get out of your daily diet in the first place.
The average intake of calories varies in relation to your age, your sex, your height, and your average activity level, so there’s no “one size fits all” answer to the question of what you should eat each day.
Roughly, most adults will be looking to have an intake of between 1,500 and 2,000 calories a day, with this dropping down to a lower range in the person is actively trying to lose weight.
However, we also have our own handy healthyeating.com that can tell you exactly what you should be consuming.
Simply input the basic facts about yourself, and we’ll give you a precise number to aim for starting today.
Just another thing you can do to take the fuss out of healthy eating!
Now, as we’ve covered, healthy eating isn’t always expensive, but it’s certainly more likely to be.
Consequently, it can be tough to get all the nutrients you need if you’re trying to save money or your financial situation is uncertain.
However, whether you’re focused on healthy eating for kids or on getting yourself in the best shape of your life, all it takes is a bit of strategizing.
To that end, let’s look at nine things you can do to make sure you’re eating simple, delicious, and nutritious food at every meal.
Firstly, note that there are several different types of foods that are actually a lot cheaper when they’re less processed.
Sometimes called “whole” foods, here we’re thinking about the money you save when you opt to buy a large block of unprocessed cheese instead of a pack of slices.
Similarly, it’s a lot more affordable to pick up a can of beans than it is to source refried beans.
And the same is true of whole-grain foods like brown rice when you compare them to their processed cereal counterparts.
You’ll also get products for your money with these unprocessed goods.
Meat is most people’s go-to food for the protein they need for a steady supply of healthy energy and to build strong muscles.
And although meat can be a fantastic source of protein – especially lean meat – it’s far from the only way to get the protein your body craves.
In fact, meat substitutes can taste just as good, nearly give you just as much protein, and maybe even cut back on some of the fat you find in real meat.
You can use products that aim to mimic meat, or you can go for legumes, eggs, and fish as a centerpiece. Why not try it one day a week?
While it’s important for the planet and your bank balance to avoid wasting food, planning big portions of food can save time and money, as well as providing meals for later.
Here, consider some of the food that makes the best leftovers, and also food that you can take out of the freezer in portions.
Leftover food can help to make brilliant salads, as well as healthy stir-fries.
Meanwhile, food like chili, soup, and bolognese can be made in large batches after buying cheaply in bulk, and you can defrost it to feed the whole family as needed.
Lots of fresh produce – especially fruits and vegetables – arrive in particular seasons.
They’re often pretty expensive during the few months of the year that they actually appear.
This is something you might particularly notice with fresh berries (e.g., strawberries and raspberries), but it can affect vegetables like asparagus as well.
In contrast, quick-frozen produce is available all throughout the year, rather than just in one season, and it’s so much cheaper to buy.
You might worry that you’re losing nutritional quality, but all of those vitamins and minerals are still just as present in the frozen form.
As noted above, bulk cooking healthy food can do a lot to help you save both money and time. So, it stands to reason that the same is true of bulk buying food.
Generally speaking, the larger the box, bag, or set of things you buy, the cheaper that thing will be per kg or ounce.
So, if there are products you absolutely know you like – especially if they are non-perishable – go ahead and stock up on large amounts, especially if they’re on sale.
Many of the best superfoods can be added to an omelet, allowing you to get the best dose of nutrients for your money. You can throw in as many vegetables as you like, according to taste, but the core ingredient – egg – is amazing in itself.
For example, eggs boast vitamin B12, which is an amazing source of energy, along with iron to make sure all your vital organs get the oxygen they need.
Meanwhile, vitamin E promotes everything from great skin to a robust immune system.
And finally, vitamin A is great for bone health and your eyes too.
Another good way to ensure healthy eating on a budget is to keep your eyes open for coupons.
Often, coupons are for unhealthy foods, though, and only give you access to process items that won’t really help you improve your diet.
However, there are good coupons out there, so it’s just a matter of looking through them all to find high-quality deals.
And this tip doesn’t just apply to food, either – coupons are still a smart, low-effort way to get money off your monthly staples, cutting the price of everything from cleaning products to cosmetics.
Not all places that sell healthy foods are created equal – it depends on all sorts of things, from the location to the sourcing and the intent behind the branding.
So, look out for retailers offering both healthy and cheap foods.
Sometimes, the best place to go for this is actually online, where you might find healthy foods for up to half price, along with free delivery to your home.
When you find such places, it’s a good idea to buy as much as you can use or freeze – to stock up on all the healthiest things the store carries.
Finally, not everyone has the time to do this, but if you have a green thumb or an interest in learning then you can try your hand at growing your own food.
You’ll also need appropriate space, of course, but it’s a satisfying hobby that can also save you a lot of money in the long run. As a bonus, you know exactly where your ingredients come from and how they have been grown.
You know nothing has been processed, added, or treated with chemicals you don’t want on your food.
So, hopefully, you can now see how you can start and sustain a nutritious diet without breaking the bank.
While healthier food can be more expensive (sometimes for legitimate reasons), it’s possible to be smart about shopping and planning in a way that allows for cheap healthy eating for your whole family.
And if you join us at HealthyEating.com, we can help you learn even more about healthy eating on a budget.
We’ll help you create a fresh diet and meal plan that caters to all your specific needs, and we have a huge selection of both meals and snacks.
We even have a tool for generating your shopping list based on the meals you choose!