Wondering how to eat healthy on a budget? Find healthy, delicious healthy cooking on a budget, from the food and nutrition experts at Bad Foodie.

a plate of fresh healthy food on top of a dinner table
After two weeks of living on bourbon and donuts (okay, fine. Two and a half.) I decided it was time to kick myself into healthy gear. Pulled out favorite fresh veggies, drizzled with sesame oil, rice vinegar, and a kiss coconut aminos. And reminded myself that fast food doesn’t have to come from a drive-through. Image Credit: Brook Lark

Strive for five. The slogan reminds us to eat a variety of fruits and veggies every day.

Nothing wrong with that, but many families face the reality of five servings times three, four or more people per day!

That’s a lot of produce!

Certainly, advice abounds touting the benefits of having more produce into a daily diet but rarely does this advice tell you how to accomplish this when your family is on a budget. Consider these money-saving tips.

1. Skip the grocery store

Sounds strange, because that’s usually where you buy food. But your local food mart is not the only option for obtaining good-for-you fare. Try your local farmer’s market! Typically open at least once per week, this is a wonderful place brimming with fresh produce (and often cheese, eggs, and meat) that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.

Often great deals are to be had here (think three green peppers for a dollar or a large bunch of asparagus for under two!), and the selection is just as good, if not better than you’d find at the grocery store.

2. Grow your own

Not a new concept: if your grandma didn’t have a garden, your great-grandma probably did. Having a garden is the ultimate way to slash your produce costs. Don’t let inexperience or lack of space make gardening seem daunting and unmanageable.

Tips, tricks, and techniques abound on the internet and in home improvement stores. A container garden is also an easy way to combat a small or no yard situation. Plus, common sense tells us that if we can grow it, it’s good for us.

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3. Go frozen or canned – the store brand way

When fresh produce prices skyrocket or aren’t as readily available (in winter, perhaps), head to your store’s frozen and canned aisles. There is a wide variety of bagged or boxed frozen veggies out there produced by your store; it’s just as good as its name-brand counterparts, plus offers all the nutrition of fresh produce.

A bagged veggie of your choice, often to be had at under a dollar, is an essential dollar-menu side dish or meal-stretcher for your family. Canned store brand veggies, too, are a great bargain. Coming in at fifty cents or less per can, many stores offer varieties with no added salt or sugar.

4. Eliminate junk food

When you want to eat cheap it can be easy to turn to buy processed foods, soda, desserts, and prepackaged meals at the grocery store since they are less expensive. If your goal is to find the cheapest way to eat healthy then cross these items off your list.

5. Buy in bulk

Dieting on a budget doesn’t mean that you can’t find ways to save money. You can often find deals by buying items in bulk. Grains, canned goods, and dried beans are healthy and can be purchased in bulk for cheap. Have a Costco, Sam’s Club, Walmart, or Aldi nearby? You can buy perishable foods like meat, dairy, and even bread in bulk and freeze them.

6. Buy frozen produce

Eating well on a budget means you are still getting in your needed nutrients. According to Healthline, fruits and vegetables are picked and frozen at peak ripeness, and studies show that they retain a comparable vitamin, mineral, and phytochemical content to their fresh counterparts. In fact, many fruits and vegetables actually retain more nutrients when they’re frozen than when they’re eaten fresh. The best part is that buying frozen produce is less expensive and there is less waste.

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7. Find alternative sources of protein

Learning how to eat healthy on a budget takes time and you can learn as you go. Even though protein is an important part of many different recipes — a cheap diet can be difficult to meet with costly meat prices. You can find alternative sources of protein such as canned fish and chicken, beans, lentils, and egg whites. Also, you can buy whey protein and make homemade protein shakes for after the gym.

8. Take advantage of discounts

When you are learning how to eat on a budget finding ways to get free food sounds like a dream. But you can actually find free food through coupons and store promotions. Also, don’t forget the value of clipping coupons or using grocery rebate apps to help you save even more.

You can find cheap ways to eat healthy without sacrificing quality, and cheap recipes can be just as hearty and nutritious as expensive ones. Cooking on a budget takes some planning, but these and other healthy eating tips make it a snap.

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Bad Foodie is a site dedicated to delivering our readers with simple solutions to eat good, travel well, and grab some deals! Understanding how to make that perfect recipe can easily become understandable and applicable to everyone when you have a good recipe, to begin with. We truly believe there is magic in simplicity and honesty – and the quick and effective results our reader’s experience are nothing short of it.


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