If you’re finding eating healthy is breaking the bank, I totally feel you. When I first embarked on my mission to cut out the junk, my body rejoiced but my credit card cried out!
And it’s not just me saying it. The folks at Harvard1 actually researched this. And they found out it costs $1.50 more per day to eat healthy. Give or take a dollar or so, that adds up to a massive $550 per year…
It’s no wonder so many people give up on healthy diets…
But, thankfully, it doesn’t have to be that way.
Here are the grocery-bill-slashing techniques I wish I’d known when I first started eating healthy. I’ve found these out by interviewing nutrition experts (i.e. folks that know a ton more about food than me!). By following these 3 techniques for the past 3 months, I’ve managed to get my weekly food budget down to $35. All while losing weight and getting healthy.
Some of these may sound a little tough. But make sure you stick around till the end. Because I’m going to let you in on a simple way to nail all these techniques in one fell swoop – even if you’re nowhere near comfortable in the kitchen (because I, for one, am not!).
#1 The Magic Word – Plan
Planning out your weekly meals is a surefire way to slash that grocery bill. It means you won’t pick up any unnecessary purchases that don’t fit in any recipe. And you won’t end up overbuying ingredients just for them to go bad in your refrigerator. (We’ve all been there, where that veggie compartment starts looking like a science experiment!)
To get best results, you should plan breakfast, lunch, and dinner every single day of the week. It can be time consuming, but your budget will thank you! (Also, there’s a great way to cut the time it takes to plan your meals, which I’ll let you know a little later)
#2 Swap Out The Store-Bought Snacks & Desserts
Healthy snacks and desserts are perfect for crushing those food cravings. And they’re great for powering you through the day. But all snacks and desserts aren’t created equal.
Nowadays there are plenty of healthy treats lining the supermarket aisles. But unfortunately, they can come at eye-watering prices. What’s more, they’re frequently labeled as healthy but contain hidden nasties.
Swapping out these store bought snacks and desserts for homemade ones is easier than you might think. And the best part is – you save money, and you know exactly what’s going into them.
All it takes is a little planning and meal prep – and you’ll be whipping up energy balls, granola bars, sweet treats and dips in no time. There are plenty of recipes out there that take less than ten minutes and need pretty much zero kitchen knowhow.
#3 Use Ingredients Again… And Again
As you’re planning your meals for the week, think of how you can use ingredients in multiple recipes. Maybe the cherry tomatoes you buy for a salad one night can go into a pasta sauce another night. Then later in the week they can make another appearance in a curry.
When you use this thrifty technique, you can buy in bulk, which is often cheaper. You’re also going to cut out those wasted ingredients.
The easy way to a healthy (and thrifty!) weekly meal plan in no time flat
Now, you may be shouting at your screen, “Sure, Megan, those techniques make sense, but where am I supposed to find the time (and cooking skills) to do all that?”
I totally get it…
To be honest, when I first started using these techniques, it would take me literally three hours on a Sunday evening to plan the meals for the week.
I’d browse google or use blogs for inspiration. But I’d mostly find recipes that looked ridiculously hard to prepare. Or that contained ingredients I hated. (And like I said, I’m no cook, so I certainly had no idea what ingredients I could substitute!)
I was close to giving up on the healthy eating thing all together…
Then, one day while browsing Facebook, a friend’s post stopped me mid-scroll. She’d posted a food pic that almost made me drool on my keyboard! I thought she was at some fancy brunch place.
But the pics kept coming day after day… She must have been spending hours on end meal planning to make so many delicious looking meals…
I knew she was into healthy eating, so I had to message her for a little bit of recipe inspo. And it turned out she’d been using an app called PerfectBody.
She told me that the app’s made by professional nutritionists and cooks. All you have to do is fill out a quiz on the food you like and it makes your meal plans for you. So you can get your meal planning done in minutes rather than hours.
I decided to give the app a go…
And when I did, all these thrifty healthy eating tips started falling into place.
The app already knew my food preferences from filling out the quiz. So I wasn’t wasting time looking at recipes that didn’t fit my tastes. It even let me know ingredient substitutions. In case I did fancy trying a meal with one ingredient I wasn’t keen on.
And the app created the exact shopping lists I needed. So I wasn’t picking up anything I didn’t need in the supermarket. In fact, lots of the ingredients could be used across multiple recipes.
The app even had recipes for healthy snacks and desserts, so I could replace all those expensive supermarket treats.
And luckily for me, everything was created for people who don’t have tons of time to cook. (or Rachael Ray like cooking skills!)
PerfectBody was the missing piece in the puzzle that made it easy for me to eat healthy on a budget.
I’d recommend it to anyone who wants to get their grocery bill down, without resorting to ramen and ready meals!
Results may vary due to personal features