Eating healthy is becoming a way of life for more and more people, but this can definitely be hard to do when you are short on time or money. With limited time, it seems easier to just grab some takeout, which is usually not the healthiest option. And when you are short on money, some premium healthy food choices can really break the bank.
The best way to balance it all is to buy healthy food at the grocery store. You don’t have to shop at high-end organic stores, either. There are plenty of options for eating healthy on a budget at your local store; you just have to do a little planning and pay attention. Here are some tips:
Always Have a Meal Plan
One of the best ways to keep yourself from overspending at the grocery store is to go in with a plan. Take an hour once a week to come up with a few meals. You can search online at healthy eating websites for some inspiration. Be sure to add a few healthy snack ideas and quick things that you can grab for lunch. You don’t have to set your meal plan in stone, but take it with you when you shop, or better yet create a shopping list based on your plan.
Always Create a List
If you don’t take the time to create a meal plan, at the very least make sure you create a shopping list. A few minutes of time and effort up front to create a list will help you feel in control in the store. Sometimes the grocery store can be overwhelming; there are so many choices. When you get overwhelmed you can completely forget what you came in for and end up a buying a bunch of stuff you don’t need. Has that ever happened to you? Once you create your shopping list, make sure you follow it. Refer to it often while you are in the store, and make sure you have a good reason for deviating from it.
Aisles to Avoid
If you don’t see an unhealthy item, you are less likely to buy it. If you don’t even go down the potato chip aisle, then your brain will not try to convince you that you absolutely must buy the party-sized bag of salt and vinegar chips. Stay away from the candy aisle, the soda aisle, and the cake and cookie aisle too. You’ll pay too much and before you know it you’ll be eating unhealthy food.
Products to Avoid
As a general rule when you are trying to eat healthy and save money, stay away from all processed and packaged food. Frozen dinners, meals in a box, and anything high in preservatives and food coloring should be avoided. These may be cheap and easy, but they are definitely not healthy. Also avoid pre-cut fruit and pre-sliced cheese and deli meats; while these may be healthy, you’re going to pay more. Just buy some fruit and cheese and cut it yourself instead!
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