Common sense for eating healthy on a budget

Food—for too many of us, we have a love/hate relationship with what we eat. You want to eat healthy, but you also want to save money, and all too often the food that is good for you is not kind to your wallet.

Yes, you can eat healthy and enjoy it too. (Credit: MemeCenter)

Yes, you can eat healthy and enjoy it too. (Credit: MemeCenter)

Common sense tells us there has to be a better way. Read on for some tips on eating healthy on a budget.

Simple healthy solutions

Sometimes the best way to jump start your plan for eating healthy on a budget is to go back to the basics. Here are five tips you can follow to start to eat healthier and save money:

  • Only eat what grows. Sure, that spongy snack cake may tickle your tastebuds, but if you can’t identify the plant or animal something comes from, much less pronounce the ingredients, it isn’t doing you any favors.
  • Go crunchy when you snack. Anything that makes noise when you bite into it, à la apples, carrots or nuts (NOT CHIPS) will make you fuller because they take you longer to chew.
  • Don’t have it and you won’t eat it. If you don’t stock up on the junk food, odds are you won’t get up from your sofa to drive and get it.
  • Sit at a table to eat. When you aren’t distracted by eating in front of the TV or munching on the run, you will probably eat less.
  • Eat more in the morning. Eating a big meal at night doesn’t give your body a chance to burn the calories. Start with a big breakfast and eat less for each subsequent meal.

How to not waste food

One of the biggest issues when it comes to eating healthy on a budget is making sure those fresh fruits and veggies don’t go bad before you can chow down. For instance, here’s a common sense tip to keep your berries fresh longer: simply mix three parts water with one part vinegar and give your strawberries or raspberries a little bath. This can help them last up to one week longer. It can also help if you don’t buy anything too far in advance of when you plan to eat it—no throwing away rotten food means you save money.

Lettuce or other greens looking wilted? Soak them in ice water to crisp them back up. Keep your tomatoes fresh longer by storing them on a flat surface, stem side down. For even more tips, check out brokeandhealthy.com’s post “Food Hacks to Keep Your Bounty Fresher for Longer.”

Late night munchies

You’ve stopped buying foods that are processed, you avoid the chip and ice cream aisles like the plague, and you try to purchase fresh veggies and fruits right before you need them. Congrats on making an effort to eat healthier and save money! But inevitably you are going to get an attack of the late night munchies, and then what?

Greatest.com has some suggestions to keep you eating healthy on a budget when the cravings attack in “52 Healthier Alternatives to Late-Night Snacks.” For instance one tip is to swap out those fast food fries for a baked version you make at home. It’s common sense, right? Baking is better for you than frying. Make your homemade fries spicy with a hit of paprika or cayenne to amp up the flavor.

Looking for a fast snack that also doubles as an easy breakfast? Make an avocado and cheese quesadilla on a whole wheat tortilla. Missing the crunch of your favorite snack chip? Try making your own kale chips, which you can flavor with anything you want, from lemon to miso, to make them your own.

You can even make your own dessert, like a milkshake featuring peanut butter, banana, cacao nibs and raw honey when you simply must have something sweet, yet healthy, to eat.

How are you eating healthy on a budget? Any common sense tips you can share to save money and eat healthier? Let us know in the comments.

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