There is a common misconception that losing weight and eating healthy have to cost a lot of money. This, however, is far from the truth. Even if you are at or below the poverty level, eating a healthy diet is just as possible as eating an unhealthy diet.
Instead of always heading to the canned food section, check the fresh produce section for sales and marked down produce. The problem with canned produce is that it often contains sugar or salt-both of which can wreck havoc on your diet. Pound for pound, fresh produce isn’t likely to be any more expensive than the canned versions, especially if you stick to local produce instead of imported produce.
While grabbing the cheapest pork or ground beef may be tempting, meat is the one area where you will probably have to spend more money unless you can find healthy meats on sale. If you are on a very limited budget, remember that low-fat peanut butter, beans and egg whites are all inexpensive options. Chicken breasts (these don’t have to be boneless, skinless, you can always remove the skin), fresh fish, and lean cuts of beef are usually fairly cost effective.
The grain group is one group where you can shop for deals. Bread, including whole grain bread, goes on sale quite often. Whole grain pastas and sugar free, low calorie cereals are also pretty cost effective. Oatmeal and brown rice are also good options when you are on a budget.
The key to choosing milk products is to lose your love of brand names. Store brand yogurt, milk and cheese will provide the same nutrition as name brand varieties for a fraction of the cost. You should also limit your weekly milk purchases to only what you will use for that week-don’t buy ahead.
Let’s say that you have a weekly budget of $50 for food for one person. A suitable distribution of these funds would be $10 for produce, $18 for meat, $8 for grains, $8 for milk and $6 for staples, such as seasonings.
In order to make the most of your weekly food budget, check the sale papers (these usually come out on Wednesday of each week), clip coupons and always check for discounts at the store that aren’t advertised.
If you cook meals that are larger than you can eat, save the leftovers and use them another day. You can take these to work for lunch or eat them as a quick dinner when you don’t want to cook.
Save any leftover money you have from your budget in an envelope at home. As this money adds up, you can use it to treat yourself out to a nice meal or you can use it when staple foods go on sale.