It can be a challenge to make healthy eating choices when you're on a budget. Some people think they have to choose between low-fat items that leave them feeling starving a few hours after eating or cheap, low-quality junk food that leaves them feeling guilty and bloated. Fortunately, it doesn't have to be this way -- with a little planning, you and your family can eat hearty, healthy meals that won't bust your bank account (or your skinny jeans).
Choose seasonal items. Load up your plate with lots of healthy fruits and vegetables that will fill your belly. Save money on these types of foods by choosing seasonal fruits and vegetables that cost less when they are in their harvesting peaks. For example, in the autumn months, buy potatoes, Brussels sprouts, pumpkins, and cabbage. In the springtime, save money by purchasing asparagus, peas and strawberries. If you have a nearby farmer's market, visit it to save money on locally grown produce. Not only will this shopping strategy be friendly to your wallet, it will give your taste buds variety.
Buy in bulk. Many grocery stores contain bulk food sections with good deals on rice, pasta, coffee, cereals and snack foods, such as nuts. These types of items have the benefit of lasting longer, so you don't have to worry about spoilage.
Take advantage of sales and other types of price reductions, especially for more expensive items that can be frozen. Use this strategy when you're buying your lean meats, including chicken, turkey and seafood. Most grocery stores have marked-down meat items that are nearing expiration. You can snatch these items up and freeze them until you are ready to use them.
Cook efficiently. One of the main excuses for not eating healthy or falling off the diet wagon is time or lack of energy or motivation to cook. Many people end up buying more expensive takeout items or making unhealthy choices simply because they didn't feel like making their own dinner. Nip this obstacle in the bud by cooking in bulk when you feel like it. You can do this in two main ways -- cooking a large quantity of a staple item to use in several different meals in a week or cooking one large meal and freezing it. An example of the former is grilling a family package of chicken breasts at once. You can eat some of the chicken in that night's dinner and use the rest of it in salads for the rest of the week.
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