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Doesn’t it seem that healthy food is more expensive? Our family has made a huge decision over the last several years to focus on healthy eating and lifestyle choices, and we’ve learned a lot along the way. With 4 very active kids from teens to elementary school, my husband and I have to stay healthy and fit just to keep up with it all! To stretch our dollars while eating healthy, I always keep the following tips in mind…
1. Cook at Home
We all know that eating out is not only more expensive, but also much less healthy. The portions are typically larger than necessary and you truly don’t know what’s in your dinner. Hitting that drive-through might seem fast and easy, but we pay for it both in cost and health.
2. Plan Your Meals in Advance
One way to avoid the temptation of last-minute drive-thrus and processed, pre-prepared meals in our constantly busy schedules is to create a weekly menu plan. Sticking with simple, healthy meals along with cooking ahead and freezing meals works wonders in this area.
3. Eat Less Meat
Many times, the most expensive item on your grocery list is… (yep, you guessed it!)… meat. Although fresh meat is part of a healthy diet, don’t forget about other healthy sources of protein such as beans, eggs, fish, and even canned tuna or chicken, which is usually less expensive and just as nutritious. Toss these on a salad or whole-grain pasta dish – and there’s your healthy dinner!
4. Buy Locally
Farmer’s Markets are an excellent resource for discounts on fresh fruits, and vegetables. Many communities also have small businesses that focus on gathering fresh produce from local, organic farmers each week.
5. Save on Canned & Frozen Vegetables and Focus on Healthy Sale Items
In planning your grocery trip, focus on the healthy sale items each week. When canned or frozen vegetables go on sale, stock up… and keep in mind that just because that sugary snack is on sale, it doesn’t mean that you need to buy it!
6. Focus on Whole Grains
Stock up on whole grains when they go on sale. Cereals, pasta, and oatmeal have a long shelf-life, and you can get excellent deals on these products when combining Buy 1 Get 1 Free sales and coupons!
7. Avoid Processed Foods
Processed and pre-packaged foods are often a source of unidentifiable and unhealthy ingredients. If you focus on whole foods, you’ll avoid these unknowns all together.
8. Keep a Stocked, Healthy Pantry
We try to keep our pantry stocked with healthy choices, such as whole-grain pasta, canned vegetables, whole-grain crackers, nuts, canned healthy meats and more. Use those 6-week sales cycles and stock up at that rock-bottom price on those healthy choices! Plus, knowing that I can throw together a quick meal for my family that is both healthy and frugal gives me a small sense of peace in today’s challenging times.
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