Eating Healthy on a Budget

A woman is checking her list while shopping at the grocery store.Money is tight for many Americans right now, and one of the biggest monthly expenses for the average family is food. When it’s time to tighten the belt, so to speak, how can we eat healthy, while sticking to a smaller budget?

Plan your meals

Finding a recipe and then going to the store every day is a surefire way to overspend on groceries. Try to spend time each week planning meals for the following week. Make sure to take stock of what you already have in your pantry and fridge, and then try to plan around those items to save money and avoid wasting food.

Make a list… and stick to it

Once you know what you need for the upcoming week, make a grocery list and only buy from that list. (An exception to this rule is when shopping sale and BOGO items each week—if it’s something you use on a regular basis, be sure and buy it when it’s on sale, even if you don’t plan to use it over the next week.) And, for goodness’ sake, don’t shop when you’re hungry!

Cook at home

Cooking at home is almost always less expensive than dining out—especially for a family. If you find yourself deciding to eat out at the last minute, due to a lack of time or motivation to cook, then make sure you build in some easy grab-and-go meals when planning your meals for the week.

Buy (and cook) in bulk

If you find a great deal on a large package of meat, veggies or other ingredients, go ahead and buy it and cook double (or triple) portions of a good meal. Leftovers can be frozen to eat another time, or used as the base for another meal that week, such as soup, salad or tacos.

Healthy recipe ideas

Here are some budget friendly and healthy recipes you can make at home, created by BayCare executive chefs.