According to a survey conducted by the Institute of Economic Affairs, healthy foods cost $1.65 more per kilogram than unhealthy ones. The key to beating the system? Planning and budgeting. Here are 10 tips to help get you started:
1. Meal Plan
It’s rule #1 for a reason. Plan your meals ahead of time to control what you buy and what you eat. Before heading to the grocery store, take stock of your fridge and pantry. Plan your meals around foods you have on hand, including any meat or produce that will expire soon.
2. Keep to Your Grocery List
Unplanned purchases can blow your wallet and your diet. Start your shopping around the perimeter of the store where the whole foods are found and stick to your list. If you’re on an aisle, shop the top and lower shelves. The most expensive items are usually placed at eye level.
3. Don’t Shop Hungry
You can’t fight a cookie craving if you’re shopping on an empty stomach. Do your waistline and your wallet a favour. Eat a little something before you head to the store. You’ll be less inclined to reach for the snack cakes and more inclined to stick to your list.
4. Go Generic
Friendly budgeting tip: buy generic over name brands. The ingredients and nutrients are often exactly the same. Only the price tag is different.
5. Buy Frozen Fruit and Vegetables
Fresh fruit and vegetables can be expensive. And if you don’t eat them quickly enough, your money can end up going down the drain. Instead, buy frozen. You won’t sacrifice nutrition, you can buy larger quantities, and you’ll always have healthy food on hand when you need it.
6. Buy in Bulk
Wholesale stores can save you a whole lot of money. Buy meat and freeze it. Stock up on spices and nuts. Go for healthy foods with a decent shelf life (nut butters, dried fruit, etc.) You’ll stretch your buck a whole lot further.
7. Cook at Home
You can do this in one of two ways. Cook a bunch of meals on one day and heat them throughout the week as you need them. Or, cook as you go. Regardless, you can feed your family for a fraction of the cost of dining out. Bonus? You know EXACTLY what ingredients go into your food.
8. Repurpose Leftovers
Leftover chicken? Make a chicken burrito for lunch. Extra broccoli? Whip up a stir fry. Get creative and stretch those leftovers. You’ll save money and stick to your healthy eating habits along the way.
9. Freeze, Freeze, Freeze
Freeze produce. Freeze meat. Label casseroles and heat them as you need them. This kitchen appliance can save you a truckload of money and time. Use it!
10. Eat Legumes
Ok, this might sound like a weird one, but lentils, chickpeas, and beans are GREAT protein sources that cost a whole lot less than meat. Consider rotating one or two in, in place of meat during the week. They’re delicious, healthy, and super wallet-friendly.
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