Weight Loss and Diet – 7 Ways to Save Money While Eating Healthy Food: When considering what food to eat, whether on a weight-loss program or not, we frequently think of the matter of cost. Healthy food can sometimes seem to be expensive. A walk through the produce aisles can at times convince us that lots of tasty and healthy items may stretch our budgets. People often assume that eating healthy foods costs more money. In reality, with a little menu planning and some basic cooking skills, it can be affordable. We also save the money we pay at the register for convenience; the more processing a product has had, the more costly it usually becomes. Here are some suggestions to help you save money on your weekly groceries while making healthy choices.
1. Plan your menus. Take 15-20 minutes each week to plan several dinners. Use the weekly sales flier to guide you in your selections, and make a list and stick to it. Avoid impulse buying when you get to the store, to prevent extra expense and unnecessary purchases.
2. Coupons can help. They can save you as much as $ 10 to $ 20 on your groceries. Be sure to cut out ONLY the coupons for food you would normally buy. Otherwise, you will be tempted to pick up this and that and the other thing because it looks like good deal. You may spend more money and sabotage your careful planning as well.
3. Compare unit prices. This tells you how much you will spend per ounce or pound or whatever unit is being used. One thing to keep in mind, however, is whether the store brand in reality is a better buy. For example, if the store brand contains extra liquid instead of the vegetables you are buying, then a brand-name product may be a much better buy. Once you try them, you will know which is really the better value. Buy only what you will use or can store. Throwing away unusable perishables or other food is not a savings, no matter how great the price was.
4. Don’t shop when you are hungry. You will be tempted to buy more food than if you shop after you have eaten. Stay away from those empty calorie foods such as chips, cookies, sodas, cakes, and candy. They tend to be especially tempting if you are hungry. Also, take a look at the prices. Often a large bag of potato chips is the same as or a greater price than a bag of baby carrots. A 12-pack of soda is often more expensive than a gallon of skim milk. Go for the good stuff!
5. Leftovers can become a meal. Use them for one dinner each week and save a few dollars. Oh, and you won’t have to cook on that night, either! If you have leftovers that can go into a soup pot, you can make a wonderful “new” meal with them. Soup and salad can be a tasty, healthy, and filling combo.
6. Do you need individual servings to take to work or send to school with the kids? Don’t spend your money on the individually packed snack foods. They may be convenient, but they are also costly. Plan ahead if you need snacks to go. For example, buy a large box of crackers and package them individually. You can use travel cups for drinks and plastic baggies for many kinds of snacks. Fruit and berries as well as cut up vegetables pack well in baggies or in small screw-cap plastic containers which can be washed and reused again and again.
7. Meat is not necessary at every meal. Substitute beans or eggs for meat from time to time. Beans and rice or an omelet or homemade soups or other vegetarian dishes can be healthy alternatives and a nice change of taste for the pallet. To save money, you can cut up your own vegetables or buy frozen or low-sodium canned vegetables when local or less expensive fresh produce is not available. You can also buy and freeze many fresh vegetables and fruits when they are in season, if you have freezer space in which to store them.
Using these tips can help you save money and enjoy good eating all year around. Soon, the delicious flavors of fresh fruits and vegetables and fresh-cooked foods will probably make you wonder why you thought you preferred those chips and cookies in the first place. Plus, eating good food is a very important part of your weight loss and fitness program. Here’s to great food and good health!