Every new year 80% people resolve to get healthy. But more than half of them can’t live up to the resolution. We know it is difficult, in fact you can include us in the list of people who can’t live up to their resolution. But over the years we’ve identified certain tricks that can help us achieve it.
First things first, we know that this country promotes junk food a lot. There’s an abundance of Pizzas, Burgers, Shakes and other amazing greasy food out there. What’s more, it even costs relatively less than a decent healthy meal. And that’s where the problem lies.
In USA, it is cheaper to eat out and junk food than to eat healthy or even cook.
But as we said above, we’ve identified certain tricks that can help us in our endeavour. In this guide we’ll share tips, tricks and resources that can make healthy eating (and living) affordable. So much so that even those of you who don’t consider themselves financially independent (mostly students), will be able to afford a healthy lifestyle.
We’ll begin with simple strategies for eating well on a budget, then move on to staying fit on a budget.
1) Plan your meals in advance: You’ve probably heard this before and rightly so. Planning your meal in advance does really help if you are on a budget and want to eat healthy. There a re multiple advantages of it:
- Firstly, it reduces impulse buys. Imagine going grocery shopping knowing exactly what you need (and not want). Not only will it just save a lot of time, it will also prevent you from buying stuff out of impulse which gets added not only to your waistline but also to your wallet.
- You’ll have options ready on busy days. We’ve all been in a situation where we are not able to decide what do we want for dinner. And in most occasions, we end up ordering Pizza or some other junk food. Imagine you know exactly what you are going to eat that day. Yes. It helps.
- Prevents Waste: You know what you want, and you’ll buy just that. No need to stock up perishable items like milk, eggs etc.
- Helps you budget your grocery: Knowing what you are going to buy and setting aside money for it helps. You’re budgeting your meals at the start of the month. What’s better than that?
You’ll be more likely to stick to your plan if it’s convenient. So take steps today to make things easy for future you! Start by creating several weekly meal plans to keep in your rotation (including breakfasts, lunches, dinner, and snacks). That way, you can pull a ready-made menu when it’s time to make your grocery list.
2) Buy and prepare in bulk: We know we asked you not to buy stuff in bulk. But that’s only for perishables. And if you intend to cook everyday. If you are preparing all your meals for the week / month in a single day, then things change dramatically.
We all know that buying things in bulk is cheaper. So, here’s the deal. We suggest joining a wholesale club (like BJs) and buy stuff from your grocery list in bulk. Trust us, you will end up saving a fortune.
But this doesn’t end here. Since you’ve bought it bulk, you need prepare it in bulk before it goes bad.
For those who are not used to the idea of freezer meals, here it is. Set aside a day in the week/month and prepare all your meals and freeze them.
When it’s time to eat, just heat it in the oven and you’re ready to go.
Not only does this trick save a lot of money, it saves a lot of time and it is healthy because you’ve cooked it, there are no preservatives like sodium etc. and of course it is way better than the Pizza you kept on ordering.
3) Shop Smarter: apart from a lot of other grocery store hacks that we’ve shared in another guide, here are 2 that will help you shop healthy and cheap.
- Stick to the perimeter: Most grocery stores have fresh food and other dairy items on the sides while the more processed food items are in the middle. So, to avoid buying processed food i.e. costly as well as unhealthy, stick to the sides of your grocery store.
- Eat before you shop: It’s simple, if your stomach is full, your mind won’t wander off to the ice cream section or that junk food section in the grocery store.
4) Go Meatless: Meat is one of the most expensive items in your grocery list. If you restrict your consumption of meat, not only is it healthy but it will also be lighter on your wallet.
So, there it is. We’ve just shared our tips and tricks to staying healthy on a budget. We know it can be difficult, but once you’ve committed to it, you’ll actually enjoy cooking your own food. More than that, it’s just a life skill that will help always help you wherever you go.