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When you've got a tight budget meal planning and grocery shopping can have it's challenges. But, when you have a tight budget and you're dedicated to eating healthier on a shoestring it can get even trickier. Here are six tips that can help making eating healthier on a shoestring easy peasy for you guys!
Start with a game plan and get let's go back to the basics.
Before you head out to the grocery store take a look at the food you already have in the refrigerator. Keep all these foods in mind when you'll be creating a meal plan for the week. First, create a list of what you and your family will be eating for the week. Once you get to the grocery store do not stray away from your list no matter how delicious the baked goods look. If it's not on your list don't buy it. Keep it simple!
Buy your basic ingredients that can be used for a variety of dishes. Your basic seasonings like salt, fresh garlic, and onion powder. Also try to use olive oil, coconut oil, or real grass fed butter when you're cooking.
Cut out the extras.
Are you buying anything unnecessary for example $4 coffees, bottled water, or take out food during the week Make a list and go through your food spending and see if you can identify unnecessary splurges that are putting you over your budget. Once you've determined a few non-essential items, either get ride of them altogether or find a way to make them yourself at home. You can buy a good quality mug or water bottle and fill it up before you leave the house in the morning.
Buy in Season, Buy on Sale, and Freeze your veggies and fruits.
Buy fresh produce when it's in season and freeze it. Fresh produce is always great, but the cost can add up pretty quickly especially when you want to stick to your budget. Consider stocking up when you find a good deal.
Look for sales and plan meals accordingly. If your local grocery store offers a savings card be sure to sign up and check the weekly AD's to see what's on sale. So instead of planning your meals based on your weekly plan you can consider planning your meals around what's on sale. Great idea right?
Prep time and don't waste anything.
Another great way for eating healthier on a budget is planning and prepping your meals for your work and school week ahead of time. Make sure it's something you like and don't mind eating more than once because outside food temptations can be an everywhere ... especially when you're trying to make healthier choices in your life.
Find a day that works best for you when you can do some prep cooking. For example you can make a rotisserie chicken, then portion it out and make a soup to last you and your family for the rest of the week.
If you don't like eating the same meal over and over, consider repurposing your leftovers you have in the refrigerator into an entirely new and delicious meal you've never tried. For example, if you have left over from the rotisserie chicken ... you can make it with a stir fry of mixed vegetables, serve it with quinoa, or with zucchini zoodles which is an inexpensive and tasty way to bulk up your meals. Easy peasy right? The added bonus on repurposing your leftovers ... there's no food being wasted.
Did you know organs are the cheapest source of meat available and are also very nutritious? Liver for example, is really cheap and is a nutrient powerhouse. Yes it's an acquired taste, but once you have a great recipe to make you forget you're eating an actual organ. Liver pate is a popular recipe and a delicious way to eat liver. Other tasty, nutritious, and affordable organ meats include heart, kidney, and marrow just to name a few.
What about grass-fed meat? If you can't get grass fed meat try to cook tougher cuts of meat like the shoulder, shanks, or oxtail. These cuts may require slow cooking but you'll get a more flavorful taste for a very small price tag. You can prepare in a crock-pot and have delicious stews and you'll get bones that you can use to make stock.
Visit your local farmers market.
Take advantage and go to your local farmers market. Farmers markets are an excellent place to get in season, organic, and fresh produce all year round. They offer prices lower than your typical grocery store and it's a great way to add more vegetables and fresh fruits to your plate.
Depending on where you live if you visit the farmers market at the end of the day your more than likely to score some awesome deals. You may get some great bargains on your produce since the sellers want to unload as much as possible before they close up before the end of the day. And who knows maybe they will throw in some free stuff!
For high quality dairy and healthy foods you guys can check out Udder-Milk Company. They have three spots for pick up in Forest Hills, Sheepshead Bay, and 2 locations in Manhattan. You guys can visit the website below.
Below is another link of local Famer's Markets you guys can also visit in your local area.
Let's Wrap this up.
Let's wrap this up guys! Healthy eating on a shoestring is not about having a strict diet, staying unrealistically thin, or depriving yourself from the foods you love. It's about feeling great, having more energy, improving your outlook and mood. If you or someone who know is trying to eat healthier on a budget and needs help, give our office a call today and schedule a Nutrition Evaluation. We can help.