News flash – you can eat healthy while keeping your grocery bill low. Below are some of our favorite tips and tricks for helping you eat delicious and nutritious meals without breaking the bank.
First, the shopping tips:
· Buy fresh produce in season and freeze it. Food is much cheaper in peak season. Check out this list of seasonal fruits and vegetables: http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/what-fruits-and-vegetables-are-in-season. When produce is not in season, choose frozen alternatives.
· Make the majority of your meals from budget-friendly items such as beans and rice, peas and lentils, or pasta. Be sure to choose brown rice and whole grain pastas, which are less processed and healthier than the white versions.
· Meat is often the most expensive part of the meal. Stock up on lean meats, chicken, and fish when on sale and freeze them. Also, bigger cuts of meat are usually cheaper and go further – try making a roast with lots of vegetables. And canned salmon and canned tuna can also be great affordable seafood options.
· Plan weekly meals around sales and coupons. When sales and coupons are not an option, buy store brands and in bulk whenever possible. Both can be significantly cheaper than branded or packaged versions.
· Choose food in its most natural form. Pre-cut or pre-washed produce will be more expensive than whole, unprocessed fruit or vegetables.
Next, the cooking tips:
· Cook large batches of foods such as soups, casseroles, and meats so you can freeze leftovers into right-size portions for you.
· Repurpose leftovers into other meals. Leftover chicken and veggies can be turned into a soup. Fruit becomes a delicious smoothie. Pasta and rice combine with a few other ingredients for a filling casserole.
· Try ethnic cooking. Since they often focus more heavily on beans, veggies, and grains, Mexican and Asian dishes are among the best value for your budget while packing in lots of flavor. Just remember to use brown rice or other whole food options to maximize the nutritional benefits of your grains.
Check out these healthy and budget-friendly recipes:
And ask your coach about ways you can incorporate budget-friendly and nutritious meals into your weight management plan.