Guest Post: Eating Healthy on a Budget
The past few years while I've been working to build this business, time has definitely been scarcer than money in my life. In other words, I am willing to spend a little more money if it saves me time. Rather than drive around town to 3 or 4 different grocery stores to find the best deal, I prefer to shop once every two weeks and get it done in as little time as possible—all in one place so I don't have to shop again until the next bi-weekly trip.
This may be my biggest blind spot as a coach—I don't have a lot of tips for eating healthy on a budget simply because it's something I haven't put a lot of my own time and energy into focusing on!
You may remember that I offered a free challenge on this topic a few years ago. In that group we had fun exploring a few very basic tips together, but there's a reason it was only a single week long.
There's a lot you can do just starting with the basics—but if you're wanting to take it a step further, my team member Erin had some amazing tips to share based on her own experience, so I asked her to write a post summing them up for you. Here are her best tips!
By Erin Peterson
Living on a strict budget allows me to be at home full-time with my two daughters, so it's well worth the work I've put into it. Over the past three years since our first daughter was born, I've gotten good at healthy eating on a budget—and with the addition of our second daughter earlier this year, I've gotten even better at it. Here are the tips I've collected so far:
I like to stockpile produce and lean meats when I find them on sale and freeze them to use over time. However, that leaves less money in the grocery budget during the weeks when I stock up on a good deal. To compensate, I delay purchases of specialty pantry items that are a little more pricey, like coconut milk, almond meal, and maple syrup.
I try to plan meals around produce I know is in season and will therefore be less expensive. If I find an especially good deal, I might change my plans while shopping, buy the item on sale, and find a way to substitute it in recipes for what I had planned.
Before buying produce, I compare prices of fresh and frozen. Don't forget that flash-freezing fresh produce yourself is always an option if you have the freezer space!
I always check out the grocery store sales flyer and look for manufacturer coupons as well. These can be especially good for stocking up on pantry items. In addition, if I can save money on household and personal care items, this adds extra into our food budget.
Most of our meals have the same herbs and spices, so I'm not having to shell out money for seasonings I don't already have in the cupboard.
I meal plan for half the week and eat leftovers for the other half. This offers some economies of scale with using the same ingredients across multiple days.
I freeze leftovers immediately if I make too much or my husband doesn't love a particular recipe. This way I don't end up wasting food that's gone bad.
When possible, I swap out proteins for cheaper options that are still on the lean side.
While I do stick to the cheaper produce items, I try to still select a variety so we don't get too bored with having the same fruits and vegetables all the time.
I've read that eating a variety of produce and a larger amount is more important than having it all be organic. This is what I've chosen to live by, and I let go of any guilt over not buying everything organic.
I budget a specific amount for stocking up each week so I can do that without interfering with the meals I planned to make.
I also like to leave a little extra in the budget for items I forgot or may need fresh later in the week.
I like to schedule my grocery order for pick-up. This way I can see the total and remove items from my cart to stay within budget.
I hope these tips help! Please leave a comment with any additional tips you would add.
And if this long list feels overwhelming... remember that you can implement just one or two to get started!