6 Tips for Healthy Eating on a Budget
Feeding a family – even just our family of 3 – any kind of healthy meals can be a challenge to do when you don’t want to break the proverbial piggy bank to do it. But – it can be done!
So, what’s the first step? Doing the best you can. That is probably the most important. Because you certainly do not want to add stress to what is probably an already stressful day when you are doing your meal planning. Next? Find the right resources – once you know what you need and where you need to go to get them, it makes your job as the shopper much easier!
Also – if you have to skip cooking one day and eat out – don’t be hard on yourself. With this crazy, fast paced, life we live, we cannot sweat the small stuff!
Now for the tips! Just a little bit of knowledge can go a very long way in helping you eat healthier meals without squashing your budget!
Efficient meal planning – This will go a long way to help you eat healthy and stay on budget. This means taking or scheduling yourself some time to really sit down and meal plan. It may also mean visiting several different local stores and farmers markets to get what you need at a good price.
Eat Seasonally – Eating foods in season means that you’re able to buy from a more local economy and avoid having your food ship from other countries. This means fresher foods picked at peak ripeness too! Generally these items can be found and bought more economically from local farmers markets or pop-up markets.
Shop Locally – CSA’s and local farmers’ markets help support local, often smaller scale, farmers and ranchers who are producing outside of the traditional factory-farm system. If you aren’t sure where to start, visit your local farmers’ market and start asking some question – this guide will get you started.
Conquer Labeling Confusion – Marketers create confusion with their flashy labels and clever catch-phrases. But unfortunately, sometimes they care more about finances than transparency. Words like “natural” or “humane” often don’t have any oversight to actually tell you as a consumer anything concrete. However, some phrases and labels do have regulations associated with their use, and that’s what you can start to look for as a savvy shopper. Here’s a guide to labeling to get you started.
Be Careful to Minimize Waste – One of the ways we can really eat healthy and stay on budget is by making the most of the food we purchase. Purchase only what you know you’ll use and serve the right sized portions to avoid wasting what your family buys.
Look for Certifications That Mean Something – Unlike marketing gimmicks there are certain certifications and awards that have true meaning. For example, the USDA Organic label shows that the produce grown (or fed to the animal) didn’t use banned pesticides. Others include Animal Welfare Approved or Certified Humane. So if you are unable to grab what you need from the fresh market – be sure to watch those labels!
See The Good Groceries Guide for more information about how you can shop better, eat healthier and more humane, all while staying within your budget!
Find more resources for savvy shoppers at the ASCPA Shop With Your Heart website!
And don’t forget to enter to win some fun items from the ASPCA!