Healthy Meals on a Budget: 13 Tips to Stay Fit and Diet on a Budget

If you'd like to lose weight and improve your health, you don't have to spend a fortune. There are a variety of ways you can stay fit and lose weight for cheap. By following the tips listed below, you'll be able to achieve a healthier you without damaging your bank account.

Budgeting Tips for the Grocery Store - Buying Food on a Budget

The key to eating healthy for cheap is shopping smart when you're at the grocery store. While it may be tempting to toss any healthy food into your cart, doing so can sometimes hurt your budget. Here are some great tips that'll help you buy food on a budget and save money while shopping for groceries.


Compare Unit Prices

To find out which food products offer the best value, it's a good idea to compare unit prices. Your grocery store likely sells carrots in different forms and different sized bags. If they're selling two pounds of carrots for $1.89 ($0.94 per pound) or one pound of full-size carrots for $0.68 ($0.68 per pound), the full-size carrots are the better deal. Most supermarkets provide the per-pound price (or unit price) on the shelve labels to make this comparison simple.


Buy Generic or Store Brands

Believe it or not, many generic or store brand products are just as good as their name-brand counterparts — sometimes they are even sourced by the same distributors. A study by Consumer Reports discovered that store brands offer the same overall taste and quality as name brands and are typically 15 to 30% lower in price. You may be surprised to find out that store-branded cheese is just as good as any of its branded counterparts.


Buy Bulk or Family Sizes

Even if you don't have a big family, you can save big by buying in bulk or going for the family size pack. If you see a sale on chicken, for example, it might make sense to buy in bulk and load your freezer so that you can defrost and then cook it over the next month. Meat is expensive, so it's a great item to buy in bulk.


Use Frozen Fruits and Vegetables

Produce can help you lose weight, but the truth is, it's expensive. Since most frozen fruits and veggies are steamed, boiled, or blanched and frozen within hours of being picked, they offer a fresh taste and nutritional value without the high price tag. They're also available year-round, so you don't have to wait until the summer to get your corn fix.


Find Cheaper Cuts of Meat

To save money on meat, go for cheaper cuts. Rather than top sirloin, try pork loin. It's one of the most affordable meats because of its nutrient value and tastes delicious with a quick seasoning rub or long marinade.

When looking for chicken, chicken thighs offer great value when compared with chicken breasts: so, look for the cuts that offer the lower unit prices to maximize your savings.


Find Other Proteins to Fill You Up

If meat is too pricey for your grocery budget, there are other delicious and cost-effective proteins to fill you up. Eggs are cheap protein sources that you can enjoy scrambled, over easy, or hard boiled. If you're not a fan of eggs, cheese, soy, yogurt, lentils, and quinoa can keep you full for a lower cost than comparable portions of meat.

Losing Weight on a Budget - Cook at Home

After a long day at work, it's all too easy to order some Chinese takeout or cruise through the drive thru line at a fast-food chain. Takeout and delivery also tend to rely on salts and calories to keep you coming back, making it more difficult to meet your weight loss goals. Try these options instead to maintain a healthy diet on a budget:


Set Up a Meal Plan Schedule

Meal planning is one of the best ways to resist the urge to eat takeout and fast food. Dedicate some time on Sunday to create healthy meal plans on a budget, for the upcoming week. Make sure you have all of the ingredients in your fridge and a written meal plan of what you'll be eating for breakfast, lunch, and dinner each day.


Make Dinner Portions for Tomorrow's Lunch

Make a little extra when you're cooking dinner so you can set a portion aside for your lunch or your children's lunchbox the next day. This way, you'll have a nutritious, homemade meal to eat and you won't be spending your hard-earned cash on unhealthy and high-calorie lunches out.


Start a Garden

Gardening is a great way to get physically active while treating yourself to fresh, affordable produce. You may be motivated to eat more veggies when you know they're garden fresh and you've worked hard to bring them to life.


Use Every Scrap

There's no reason to throw out scraps of food when you can easily use them for other meals. For example, if you have leftover fruits and veggies, save them for a smoothie or soup. Before you toss scraps in the trash, get creative and think about how you can use them to prepare healthy meals including soups and salads or even flavors to boost your next meal.

Find Support Online - Healthy Meal Plans on a Budget

The internet is packed with resources that can help you make healthy meals on a budget. Some of these resources include:


Meal Plan Recipes

Unsure of how to meal plan? Search for healthy recipes for weight loss on a budget and you're sure to find countless ideas to help you maximize nutrients and minimize cost. Meal plan recipes can open your eyes to new dishes that will encourage you to maintain healthy eating habits every day.


Family Shopping Blogs

There are many bloggers that openly share how they eat healthy for less. These blogs can give you some inspiration to build recipes and meal plans that satisfy the entire family and maintain a healthy diet on a budget.


Find Coupons or Savings Apps

Online coupons or savings apps can also help you save on healthy meals. Check out online coupon sites for printable coupons and use them for buying food on a budget. Research and read reviews of various savings apps, that can be downloaded for free and help you with your budget plan — or see if your preferred supermarket has an app, download it today and start eating healthy on a budget.

The above information is provided for informational use only. Advance America is not responsible for any loss or damage resulting from your reliance on the material provided. This information is accurate as of the time it is posted; but it may not be updated regularly, so it may not be current information depending on when you read it. You should consult with your own financial professional when making financial decisions.

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