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Healthy Eating on a Tight Budget : Tips and Tricks

It can be difficult to eat healthy when you have a limited budget, as nutritious food can be expensive, and fast food ironically is cheaper. However there are various clever methods by which one can eat balanced diet consisting of vegetables and fruits even on a tight budget.

Healthy Eating on a Tight Budget : Tips and Tricks

Healthy Eating on a Tight Budget : Tips and Tricks

Plan Your Meals In Advance

Planning your meals beforehand is important to save money. When it comes to saving money at the grocery store, planning ahead is essential.(1) Set aside one day of the week for planning your meals for the entire week and make a list of all the grocery items you may need to prepare the meals in the upcoming week.

Also, before purchasing any food item, it is also important to check first what you already have in your pantry and fridge and also check the expiration date and purchase what is needed only and plan your meals accordingly.

Do Not Deviate From Your Grocery List

After planning the meals for the following week and making a grocery list for it make sure that you stick to it.(1) One can get easily sidetracked or distracted at the grocery store leading to unnecessary purchases and expense. The general rule of thumb is to shop first at the perimeter of the store where whole foods are usually present and let this fill your cart first. Most processed foods are present in the middle of the store and when there, search the top and bottom of the shelves, as the expensive items are often kept at eye level making it easy for you to buy those.

Other than this a grocery list app can also be downloaded to help with shopping where your favorite food items can be saved and the lists can also be shared among multiple shoppers. Using an app is also beneficial in case you forget your list at home.

Cooking Large Meals Can Enable To Use the Leftovers

Cooking large portions of meals can help in saving money as well as time, as the leftovers can be used the next day for your meal in other recipes such as salads, stir-fries, stews, burritos etc. Having leftovers is an efficient way to prevent you from eating out and also helps you when you don’t feel like cooking from scratch. Another option is that the leftovers in single-portion sizes can be frozen to be eaten at a later date.

Home Cooked Meals Are Best

Dining out is an expensive affair and it always advisable to cook at home to save money.(1) One can feed a family of four people for the same price, which is for dining out for two people at a restaurant. There are some people who cook their meals for the complete week on the weekends; whereas some prefer to cook a fresh meal daily.

When you are cooking at home you know exactly what ingredients are going into your meals and also you can be assured of the hygiene when preparing your meals which can’t be said when dining out.

Stay on Budget with Healthy Whole Foods

Foods which are less processed are more affordable,(2) such as block of cheese is less expensive when compared to shredded cheese; and similarly, refried beans are more expensive than canned beans. Whole grains, such as oats and brown are also cheaper per serving when compared to processed cereals. These less processed foods are also available in larger quantities, which give more servings in a package thus saving money.

Never Shop When Hungry

When you go out shopping when feeling hungry the chances are you will purchase something on impulse which is not there on your grocery list, such as processed foods with lesser nutrients, which are not good for your health as well as your wallet. Before going grocery shopping it is better to eat something such as yogurt or fruit to avoid hunger pangs and prevent impulsive shopping when outside.

Save Money with Generic Brands

There are generic brands available for almost every product in many stores. Generic brands are often the same quality as that of other national brands in lesser price. However, just to be on the safe side it is better to go though the list of ingredients to check if the product is of the same quality without any unexpected allergens or other added ingredients.(1)

Stay Away From Highly Processed Food

Prepackaged meals and other highly processed foods, such as cookies, crackers and soda are very expensive even though they do not contain the daily nutrients which our body needs and in fact are high in sugar and salt.(3) Spend your money on nutrient-rich higher quality whole foods instead of processed food and reap the benefits of eating healthy.

Purchase Cuts of Meat Which Are Lesser Priced

Fish and fresh meat can be expensive, but there are various cuts of meat which cost less.(4) Some of these are pork top sirloin steak; chuck steak, ground meat, whole chicken or poultry. These meats are excellent for using in stews, soups, casseroles, burritos and stir fries.

Buying a large and inexpensive cut of meat is also helpful, which can be used in different meals throughout the week.

Make Full Use of Sales

Whenever any staple or your favorite product, which is frequently used in cooking is on sale, not only grab it, but stock up on it to save money in future. Make sure that the product is not near its expiration date and you can use it for some time in future.

Other Proteins Can Be Used In Place Of Meat to Save Money and Amp up on Health Quotient

Consumption of less meat helps in saving money; where twice a week you can replace meat with other sources protein, such as eggs, legumes and hemp seeds.(5) All these proteins are not only inexpensive, but also high in nutrients and easy cook with a considerable shelf life.

Frozen Vegetables and Fruits Is Also A Good Option

Fresh berries, fruits and some vegetables are present in season for some months in a year and can be expensive. An alternative can be frozen produce, which is equally nutritious and also cheaper and is also available throughout the year.(1)

Frozen produce is also excellent for making smoothies, or to be used as toppings for yogurt and oatmeal.

Shop for Seasonal Produce

Seasonal and local produce is often cheaper when compared to out-of-season food products.(6) Seasonal produce is also rich in nutrients and flavor. It is also recommended to purchase produce by the bag as it is inexpensive when compared to buying it by the piece.

Save Money by Growing Your Own Produce

Growing produce in your backyard or joining a community garden is a great way to eat healthy food on a budget. Seeds are inexpensive and with some time and effort one can start growing your own sprouts, herbs, onions, tomatoes and other vegetables.(1)

Home-grown produce also is high in taste and nutrition than the produce purchased at the stores. One can pick their home grown produce when they are ripe at the right time.

Buy in Bulk Quantities

Buying certain foods items in bulk helps in saving money along with enabling you to continue to eat healthy. Some of the grains that can be purchased in bulk are barley, brown rice, oats and millet to save money.

When stored in airtight containers, these grains can be stored for a long time. Other food items that can be purchased in bulks and stored for a long time are dried fruit, lentils and beans.

Make Wise Use of Coupons (1)

Coupons an efficient way to save money when purchasing food provided they are used wisely. Find the quality deals and stock up on nutrient-rich foods and other staples. You can use coupons to buy cleaning products and the money saved here can be used in buying food products. Do not buy processed food with your coupons.

Purchase from Cheap, Online Retailers

Many online retailers sell nutritious foods for a vey less price when compared to grocery store. By registering to these online retailers one can get easy access to daily deals and discounts and the products are also delivered to your house and you can eat healthy on a budget.

Less Expensive Foods Are Also Good

There are many foods which are not only cheaper, but also nutritious. By trying new ingredients and making minor adjustments in meal preparation, one can get introduced to new food items and try new recipes and save money with inexpensive meals.

Making more use of beans, seeds, eggs, frozen vegetables and fruits; and less expensive cuts of meat help in saving money and allowing you to eat healthy and tasty food on a budget.


There is no need to break the bank when trying to eat healthy food as there are many methods, which by incorporating you can eat healthy and tasty food on a budget. Some of these methods include meal planning in advance, growing your own produce, cooking at home, using coupons, using lesser priced cuts of meat; and buying in bulk etc. So, be smart and incorporate smart shopping and smart cooking and smart eating for a healthy life and save money along the way.


Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:February 1, 2023

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