7 Tips for Healthy Meal Planning on a Budget in 2023

It’s a common misconception that it is more expensive to eat healthier. Eating out is actually one of the easier ways to drain your bank account. There are many affordable, nutritious and filling options, even on a budget. Follow these seven tips for healthy meal planning on a budget in 2023.

1. Set Your Budget

Before you head to the store, setting some ground rules for yourself is crucial. The U.S. Department of Agriculture developed a report to show you how much money you should spend at the grocery store weekly and monthly.

Men on a low to moderate plan should spend $66 to $82 a week and for women, $57 to $70. Keep in mind this will vary depending on where you live and where you go to buy your groceries. Some stores have higher prices than others.

2. Browse Your Kitchen

Check your kitchen for items you can use before making a list. Chances are you will find some food items you didn’t remember you had. You can plan your menu around these foods to reduce food waste and money.

3. Decide Your Nutritional Goals

Everyone’s diet is different, so consider what you need to make you feel good and energized throughout the day. Your diet may look different if you have restrictions, allergies or are more active than the average person.

To ensure you get the proper nutrition intake while staying full, you will want to aim for all three macronutrients in each meal. That means it includes a protein, fat and carb and adds a fruit or vegetable to make it a balanced meal.

Before you go to the store, come up with meals that follow these guidelines to avoid impulse buying. Some great options for each food group are:


  • Chicken
  • Eggs
  • Lean ground turkey
  • Lean ground beef
  • Tuna
  • Shrimp
  • Salmon


  • Avocado
  • Hummus
  • Olive oil
  • Nuts


  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • English muffins
  • Oats
  • Bread


  • Blueberries
  • Bananas
  • Apples
  • Pineapple
  • Kiwi


  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Green beans
  • Lettuce
  • Zucchini

Aside from meals, you should throw in one or two snack times during the day. If you purchase snacks to eat at work, you can use a deductible that can cut the price in half. Healthy options could be yogurt, veggies or beef jerky, depending on the offerings.

4. Buy Store Brand Items

When shopping, be sure you know the items you pick up. Often, people will see the item they need and grab it without considering the cost of each brand. Knowing the price difference between premium and store-brand items will save you a lot of money. Even if you’re used to a particular brand, it doesn’t hurt to try the store brand since they generally taste the same.

5. Buy Versatile Items

The last thing you want to do is spend money on items you will use in one recipe and never touch again. It’s a waste of money and ingredients, so try to keep your plans as simple as possible.

Simple does not mean it won’t taste good — there are many delicious ways to spice up a meal. You can decide on a base of various spices and sauces that fit into a couple of meals.

To take things a step further, you can find ways to reduce food waste if they go unused throughout the week. You can make stale bread into croutons and vegetables that lost their crunch can go into soups.

6. Buy Frozen Fruits and Veggies

Many think frozen fruits and veggies aren’t as nutritious as fresh. Frozen produce may retain vitamins more efficiently than fresh produce in the fridge for a couple of days.

Plus, frozen items will allow you flexibility when it comes to prepping your meals. You won’t have to worry about the food and money you wasted when you didn’t have the time to make your meals yet.

Stock up on fruits and veggies to have on hand since most adults don’t get the required amount. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said only one in 10 adults eat enough fruits and veggies daily. Getting two to three cups of veggies and one and a half to two cups of fruit is best.

7. Prep Meals Strategically

To ensure you get to enjoy each meal, you shouldn’t over-prep. Preparing your entire week’s worth of meals may seem like a great idea, but it’s important to remember how long food will last in your fridge.

Eating meat stored for too long is unsafe and you may not want to eat the week-old chicken you prepped. Try to finish your meals within three days or make them to ensure they are safe and taste their best.

Find Ways to Stay Healthy on a Budget

Eating healthy does not have to be expensive or complicated. Choosing options you enjoy and making a continuous effort in the store will dramatically help your spending. Next time you need to go grocery shopping, follow these tips to eat healthy meals on a budget.

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 20, 2024

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