None of us won that big lottery jackpot last week. So this week we are going to talk about eating healthy on a budget. Lucy and I hear it all the time, “I can’t eat healthy because it so expensive.” We are here to help you out a bit. There are many ways to save money while trying to eat healthy. The three main steps are: planning before you shop, purchasing the items at the best price, and preparing meals that stretch your dollars.
Before you go to the grocery store, make sure you plan out your meals for the week. You want to think about making meals like stews, casseroles or stir-fries. These are meals that stretch out for the week. Before leaving the house, make sure you check on what foods you already have to avoid buying something you do not need. DO NOT go to the store hungry. This will lead you to buying things that are not on your list, and may not be the healthiest for you. Don’t forget while planning out your meals to also plan out your snacks.
While shopping, make sure you are looking at the price of items. Check your local sale papers, listen to the radio, check online and cut coupons to help save. Look for sales on meat and seafood. These are sometimes the most expensive things on your list. Many local super markets have great sales going on each week on different things. Don’t be afraid to shop somewhere you haven’t before just to get better prices. Also, try keeping a running tab of how much each item is. As you buy it on your list, mark down how much the item cost so you're not surprised when you hit the register. Also, you can make better buying decisions this way.
Try buying your fruits and vegetables in season. This will help avoid paying that jacked up price for your fruits and vegetables. If you are not going to use them all right away, buy some that still need time to ripen like bananas, peaches, melon and a number of other things. You also want to remember as well that the convenience of something may raise the price as well. Try buying fresh strawberries and cutting them up yourself to make your smoothie instead of buying the frozen already cut ones. Buying things that are frozen, pre-cut and instant will cost you more than if you make it from scratch.
There are some foods that are low cost almost all year long. If you are looking for a less expensive protein, try beans. Carrots, greens, or potatoes are low cost all year as they hardly go out of season. Fruits are the hardest thing to find in season all year long. Apples and bananas are good choices to turn to.
We all know it, going out to eat is the most expensive way to eat. You still can. However, watch how much you spend if you get that urge to go out. Eat at the early bird special or look for the 2 for 1 deal. If you are trying hard not to go out at all. Cook once and eat all week. Prepare large batches of meals that you like. Freeze individual servings in containers and use them throughout the week. Don’t be afraid to spice up your left overs so you don’t feel like you are eating the same thing every day. Trying these few tips will save you some money the next time you go food shopping. Don’t forget to try out our farm stand that will be coming to the Y in June! For more information, please contact the Y at (570)253-2083 or online at ymcawayne.com.