10 Tips for Eating Healthy on a Budget

Eating healthy on a budget is HARD. Like, way too hard. With so-called superfoods and anything labelled “organic” costing an arm and a leg, it’s no surprise that most college students settle for ramen packets and instant coffee – hey, no judgment here. But, if there’s anything I learned during my “healthy” phase of quarantine (wya my fellow home workout fanatics?), it’s that eating healthy on a budget is doable if you go into it prepared. To make things easier on you and your wallet, I’ve compiled my top 10 tips for spending less while eating better. 

Flatlay of food on green background Photo by Vitalii Pavlyshynets from Unsplash

  1. Keep an eye out for flyers and coupons (hello, deals!) 

You never know what kind of deals you might get if you shop mindfully. Some stores even have their flyers online, so you can check them quickly on your phone before making your list or heading out to the store.

  1. Take advantage of your grocery store’s rewards program 

This might not be an option everywhere but if you’re able to, look into your usual store’s rewards program and get those rewards! In most cases, you can rack up points that can then turn into free or discounted groceries – and who doesn’t like to get things for free? 

  1. Don’t shop when you’re hungry 

If you’ve ever been shopping on an empty stomach, you know what I’m talking about. (Almost) everything seems appetizing when you’re hungry, so eating a meal or even a quick snack before going grocery shopping could stop you from buying things you don’t need – believe me, your wallet will thank you. 

  1. Make a list and stick to it 

Like the last tip, this one will stop you from making impulse purchases – see tip 6 if you’re unsure what you should be putting on your list!  

  1. Buy frozen produce when you can

Although fresh produce is SO yummy, it usually doesn’t last long. When you can, try to buy frozen instead of fresh because it’ll keep for much longer – hence, saving you money since you won’t be having to buy new produce constantly – and you can usually find pre-cut frozen fruits and veggies that make it even easier to cook your favourite meals!

  1. Meal plan 

Try to plan one or two meals (depending on how much variety you want) that you want to make throughout the week. This way, you only have to cook once and then you’ll have ready-made meals for the rest of the week. So, not only are you saving money, but you’re also saving yourself tons of time! 

Extra tip: when planning more than one meal, try to find recipes that use similar ingredients so that you can decrease waste AND save money! 

  1. Treat yo self! (but set limits too…)

Not everything you buy at the store has to be super healthy, but make sure to limit how much junk food you buy – not only is it (usually) jam-packed with preservatives but buying too much of something that may seem cheap adds up pretty fast. 

  1. Substitutes are your best friend 

Foods like eggs, canned beans, oatmeal, and granola (and the list goes on!) are packed with nutrients and are usually pretty cheap, which makes them perfect for incorporating into your diet when you want to get the nutrients you need in a day, but don’t want to break the bank. 

  1. Don’t just look for name brands 

Although you may have a favourite name brand (and that’s totally fine if you’re willing to spend the extra $$), generic brands usually have cheaper versions of the same products you know and love; so why not save money? 

  1. Don’t be wasteful

Try to use up what’s left in your fridge/pantry before making a trip to the store; you never know what creations you could come up with! What’s even better though, is that doing so will save you money and decrease food waste – and who doesn’t love being environmentally conscious?