Eight Tips to Clean Up Your Diet Without Breaking the Bank
Healthy eating doesn’t have to be expensive, too. All it takes is a little planning and prepping to make your meals nutritious and affordable.
“Meal planning is key to staying on budget and finding the best deals,” said Anne Ailts, RDN, LN, a Registered Dietitian with Avera Medical Group Functional Medicine. “Making sure you have a plan for everything you buy is important because food waste is a big downfall when you’re keeping a budget.”
Ailts recommends following a diet that consists of whole foods such as as meat, fish, eggs, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds as well as healthy fats. Keeping it simple can also help keep costs down.
Here are a few more tips to keep your meals healthy and your budget under control.
- Avoid eating out and make friends with your kitchen, including the microwave. Preparing meals at home is your most affordable option, but don’t be intimidated because it doesn’t have to be fancy. Ground beef with sautéed vegetables on a sweet potato (microwaved) is an easy and affordable meal.
- Make a family-size meal or double a recipe and freeze the leftovers in individual portions.
- Avoid convenience foods. These premade meals are easy but they aren’t always as healthy and you pay more for the convenience.
- Cruise the ads. Before you menu plan, check the weekly ads for the best deals. Plan your meals around those items.
- Buy fruits and veggies in season. If they’re not in season, consider buying frozen. These items are frozen at peak ripeness so they have the highest level of nutrients possible.
- Keep affordable items on hand such as eggs or canned tuna. Some veggies are always in season and affordable such as sweet potatoes, cabbage and squash.
- Buy in bulk when possible.
- Freeze your veggies and fruits for later. Some veggies can easily be frozen for later use. Tips:
- Chop onions or peppers and freeze in a baggie for quick meal prep later on.
- Mash up avocado and freeze in ice cubes trays.
- Some veggies must be blanched before freezing.
To get you started, here are some budget-friendly recipes you can try for breakfast and supper:
Veggie Egg Muffins
Ground Beef Cabbage Skillet