LG Sister Contributors: how to eat healthy on a budget

Introducing a new series…. the LG Sisters Contributors and today’s how to eat healthy on a budget topic! These posts will consist of tips and tricks from community members of a wide variety of topics. One of the most special things about being a part of the LG Community is that there is always someone to relate to who understands what you’re going through. There are moms, college students, night-shift workers, those who work from home or stay at home, single women, married women… you get the point. We can best succeed when we share in our experiences, so I am going to turn this post over to our LG Sister contributors…

 

 

-LG SISTER CONTRIBUTORS-

Tips from Eleanor L.

 As a law student, a huge part of my life is budgeting! My biggest tip for healthy eating on a budget is buying in bulk. It saves a decent amount of money to buy a large amounts and safely store what you won’t use in the next few weeks. Plus, it saves time at the grocery store so you don’t have to keep buying the same thing every few weeks.

    Another thing is to save your containers! I’m also a bit of a recycling freak so anything I can reuse, I do! Most of my Tupperware and jars are from old products that I washed out and now re-use. It saves money on buying Tupperware or jars. Plus, you’re always guaranteed to have a container a friend can take or something it’s okay if you stain with tomato sauce!

Tips from Elizabeth W.

Plan Ahead

It is so important to plan your meals and make a list and STICK to your list. Never go the grocery store while hungry.

Snack Smart

  • carrots, snap peas, celery, hummus, a bag of apples, all healthy snacks at reasonable prices. Also- kale lasts for so long, much longer than bagged lettuce or spring mix and has a higher nutritional value. Also seasonal vegetables are typically cheaper than out of season options.

Buy in Bulk

  • Local co-ops and Whole Foods have great bulk sections I refilled my jar of dried rosemary for $0.48 rather than buying a new jar for $4.99. I do the same for all spices and herbs.

Freeze

  • If bananas start to go bad, freeze them for smoothies. If chicken or meat has a use buy date and you won’t get to it – freeze it then thaw when ready so it won’t go bad. I also make homemade sauces like pesto and chimmichuri and freeze it in ice cube trays.

Grow your own

  • All summer long we grow our own eggplant, zucchini, peppers, green onions (one store bought bunch that I planted lasted all summer) parsley, basil and tomatoes. This is coming from someone from Buffalo, we have a limited summary but manage great crops. You can freeze fresh herbs in olive olive in ice cube trays for later use.

Elizabeth w.

Tips from Heidi R.

    Healthy eating should never be hard, and it can be for all budgets! Eating clean on a budget should not stress you out, here are my tips and tricks to keep it clean + budget friendly!

  • Buy your dry grains in bulk
    • Rice & Quinoa (Check out the bulk section at your local grocery store)
  • Make a list/don’t shop when you’re hungry!
    • When shopping when you’re hungry it causes you to deter from your list and think about snacks… that are probably not the best options + you will shop with your belly!
  • Say no to the processed + junk foods
    • Typically, the healthier options are actually cheaper! For about $20 a day you can get a few hamburgers, fries, and a few sodas… but if you’re eating whole foods that you purchased (veggies, fruits, good meat cuts, etc) it will cost you about the same price!
  • Buy produce in bulk and freeze
    • I am a avid COSTCO shopper, I love buying in bulk.. but I also am 1 person, and I can’t eat 2 pounds of broccoli in a wee. I usually put aside what I eat in the week, and freeze the rest of the bag for later. Same goes with berries, which makes it WAY easier to just throw into a smoothie (I know LG Sisters LOVE smoothies!)
  • Purchase meat on sale
    • Just like your produce being frozen if you can’t eat it all, buy your meat when it is on sale. Check those weekly ads for your local grocer, buy a little extra and freeze up what you won’t use that week!

Heidi R.

Tips from Jill H.

    When I’m trying to watch my spending and eat healthy, I focus on making staple meals that I can freeze. I love doing an egg bake for breakfast or lunches and healthy casseroles for dinners. I put them in portion controlled plastic bags and keep them in the freezer. I feel like a lot of money goes down the drain in waste if you don’t eat your meals in time! I also buy a lot of frozen vegetables. They have more nutrients than fresh ones and they can’t go bad. Shop the frozen section before the fresh section and you’ll save some money!

Tips from Jillian B.

    My tip for healthy eating on a budge is to buy local. Support your local farm stands. Not only will you have some cute Instagram-able photos (how cute are the set ups at farm stands?!) but you’ll be supporting local businesses. This is also an awesome way to explore new fruits and veggies while learning from the experts that grow them. What’s season? How do I know if the fruit is ripe? What are you using to grow your products? Prices are always cheaper than the stores!

It also doubles as a day date! My husband and I LOVE farmers markets. Sometimes he’ll be romantic and buy me some flowers or even better… pickles!!!! Now that we have a baby girl, we LOVE brining her too!

Oh and if you want to indulge (because we know life is all about balance!!) I love me some fresh goodies from the market. I look forward to it all week!

Tips from Katie C.

    One of the best ways to eat healthy on a budget is to eat in! Going out for food is going to be more expensive 9/10 and you’ll likely eat a less healthy meal out than you would at home.

For grocery shopping on a budget, my first tip is to meal plan and create a grocery list ahead of time. Organize your list in the same order as your grocery store is laid out (ex: produce is the first dept., once you walk in the door so list all produce items together, then bakery if that’s next, meat, etc.). Stick to your list and you’ll cut down on unnecessary purchases and probably save time too!

I’d also recommend buying whole foods instead of prepackaged or frozen items. More often than not you can buy whole produce much cheaper than already chopped produce (plus the whole stuff lasts longer once you get home!).

Tips from Kelly S.

    As a single mom of one I did not think that I would ever be able to afford fresh produce, gluten/dairy free ingredients and I couldn’t have been more wrong!

– Plan our your weekly meals! You can also then buy in bulk if you know you will repeat a protein or veggie!

– Meal Prep! I have never been a “pack your lunch girl”, and easily tempted to just buying something instead. Prepping my breakfast and lunches each week is my key to successful, healthy eating and I am not tempted to spend $$ on a whim for food!

– Take inventory! Each week I clean out and organize my refrigerator and pantry! I find items I still have available and incorporate it into my next weeks plan!

  • These core tips, while not complete shockers bring my grocery bill down to $60/ weekly for my 6 year old and myself!!

Tips from Melissa H.

    To save money, I buy bulk beans, legumes and grains with Amazon subscription. You save 15% off regular price PLUS it’s way less than buying cans and smaller portions!

I also shop using the Clean 15/Dirty Dozen guide so I don’t have to buy all of produce organic. You can reduce your pesticide exposure by 80% by avoiding the Dirty Dozen!

Tips from Sarah B.

    Buying protein when it’s on sale or in bulk is a life saver for me when it comes to healthy eating on budget. You can easily portion out what you’d like to use for the day or week and freeze the rest until you’re ready to use it. This saves you money and a future trip to the grocery store, can’t beat that!

When planning meals for the week, try to be strategic about your ingredients. I like to buy a couple veggies knowing I have several uses for them over the course of the next few days. That way I know they won’t be going to waste and I haven’t wasted money in the process.

As funny as this sounds, do not go to the store hungry! Cravings can easily take you down the wrong isle and if you’re not careful, you’ll end up spending way more then anticipated. Instead, go in with a full belly and a list of things you need for the week and stick to it!

Tips from Shelley J.

    To keep our grocery bill down while eating healthy ,I always start my grocery list by listing what I already have. First, I list everything that needs to be used up in my refrigerator, freezer and pantry. Next, I look through cookbooks and on Pinterest for recipes using those ingredients and make a list of recipes to make for the next week. Finally, I use those recipes to create my grocery list by listing any ingredients I don’t already have. Using this method keeps my grocery list short and therefore my grocery bill really small!

Tips from Sommer M.

    My number one tip is to eat seasonally. Produce will always be cheaper when it’s in season. Right now, i’m eating lots of squash, beets and sweet potatoes! I love looking up new recipes every weekend to use my seasonal produce, Minimalist Baker is one of my favorite plant-based blogs.

My second tip is to only make three big meals a week, and focus on leftovers. Typically, my partner and I only prepare three dinners (Sunday, Tuesday and Friday) and that gets us through the week without any extra shopping or spending. Some of our go-to and cheap recipes that we can swap out ingredients for depending on the season are: tacos, pasta with roasted veggies and stir fry!

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