It’s National Nutrition Month! The theme for 2016 is ‘Savor the Flavor of Eating Right’ – which means finding enjoyment and pleasure in eating nutritious foods! It can be hard to switch from our ‘normal’ way of eating (which usually means a lot of processed foods), but it can be even harder if you’re on a tight budget. If you’re ready to make the switch from processed foods to healthy ones, and are worried about whether or not it can fit into a tight budget – have no fear! Making healthy choices for you and your family does not have to be expensive, and with a little preparation and planning, you can eat very well even when you don’t have much to spend.
Some tips for eating healthy on a budget:
- Buy in-season produce and freeze it. In-season produce is less expensive, and freezing your fruits and veggies retains their nutrients! Here is a list of what’s in season by season to help you know what to stock up on when.
- Plan ahead and work around sales at the store. If you can, look at the grocery store ad before planning your next week of meals. That way you can make choices based on what is on sale and fresh at the store, stretching that dollar a little further.
- Shop the farmer’s market at the end of the day. The La Crosse area has some awesome options for fresh produce – and if you get there toward the end of the day, you just might be able to bargain for a better price on remaining options.
- Make a list. Making a list (and sticking to it!) is a great way to save extra money. You’ll avoid grabbing those ‘impulse’ items that can add up in a hurry and can ensure that you’re making the healthy selections you want.
- Know the Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen. If you can’t afford, or maybe can’t even find, organic versions of your favorite fruits and veggies, consult this list to determine which commercially grown options are okay to buy (the Clean Fifteen) and which ones should definitely be organic (the Dirty Dozen).
- Double up. If you’re making a meal that easily doubles (like soup or pasta), make a bigger batch and freeze leftovers for a quick, healthy meal on a night you’re not in the mood to cook.
- Make substitutions. Swap out meat for healthy and inexpensive options like beans or lentils. These can be made in big batches and can be frozen for later use.
All of the tips above will help you stretch your food dollar on items that you really want to eat, instead of buying the least expensive item on the shelf just to put something on the table. Also, cooking from home and cooking from scratch is far less expensive overall than eating out, and can provide a great opportunity for family bonding!
If you’re looking for some healthy budget-friendly recipes, check out the links below!