One of the complaints that many people have about eating healthy is that it can be expensive. If you go to the grocery store and look at the low, low cost of high-sodium, high-sugar pre-made convenience foods, it becomes apparent that this is the case. Sugary drinks like soda and Kool-Aid cost less than healthier juice and milk choices. Single serve microwave dinners are often on sale for less than the cost required in stocking up on fruits and vegetables.
However, it is possible to eat healthier and save money on your overall food bill. Here are 5 ways to save more money on food, and improve the health of your meals.
1. Grow Your Own Food
This is a basic answer to the question of spending money on fresh produce. Grow some of your own food, and you won't spend so much at the store. It's possible to grow some items in containers, or use square foot gardening to make best use of space. If you can only grow a few things, consider what you like to eat, and what costs more. Fresh herbs, berries, and some vegetables are more expensive than other produce. Grow the most expensive items to save, at least during the summer.
2. Preserve Your Own Food
Another option is to preserve your own food. If you grow a lot of food, you can freeze it, dry it, or can it and save it for winter. It is relatively inexpensive to get started in these areas, and you can have low-cost, healthy food all year round by preserving your own food.
3. Eat Less Food
Even though Canadians aren't facing an obesity epidemic in the same way that the United States is, there is still a growing problem with portion distortion. Many of us eat more food than our bodies need — especially if we aren't particularly active. Train yourself to eat less, and to eat foods (like fruits and vegetables) that fill you up with nutritional calories, so that you don't feel like eat so much. You can eat less food, and you'll be healthier in the long, run, as well as save money.
4. Plan Your Meals
Meal planning can go a long way toward helping you save money, as well as helping you eat healthier. When you have a meal plan, you are less likely to splurge on eating out or getting take out (which is often unhealthy as well as costly). With good planning, you can prepare balanced meals, and prepare lists that help you shop for what's on sale, or what you have coupons for. Plan your shopping list around your meals, and plan your meals around what's on sale, and you can save money and eat better.
5. Reduce the Meat You Eat
You don't have to go vegetarian to benefit from less meat in your diet. Consider whether or not you could replace some of the meat in your diet with vegetarian or other options. Since meat often costs more, you'll be saving money, as well as improving the health of your meals.
What tips do you have for saving money on food while eating healthier?