Top 10 Keys to healthy meal planning on a budget
1. Stick to your List. It’s important to make a list and stick to it. Be prepared when you go to the grocery store. Do not go with a list in your head or you WILL add a lot of unwanted items to your grocery cart.
2. Eliminate junk food and foods loaded with preservatives and sugar. The first step in achieving an ultimately healthy lifestyle is removing dangerous foods that cause you to crave other dangerous foods. Foods that are not healthy for you or your budget. Try removing one thing at a time. If you try to go cold turkey and remove everything at once you are setting yourself up for failure. We, as humans, desire most what we cannot have. I have learned the substitution method. I pick an unhealthy food that I really enjoy like a dish with pasta and I replace the pasta with cauliflower and now my brain is triggered to believe I am still getting the wonderful (not so good) foods I used to crave.
3. Do not go to the store hungry. The quickest way to blow the budget and your health goals is to go the store hungry. Your emotions of hunger can take over and convince you to buy things that you do not need.
4.Buy local. You can buy beautiful, wonderful whole food if you shop local, in season. Watch for the ma and pa stands. Sometimes they can be pricier than the big box store, but if you search around, looking for roadside stands, you are bound to run into a reasonably priced market of wonderful food that will keep you in your budget. I usually can find those types of markets on the more urban side of side like perhaps a Latino store, featuring Mexican food, may have ridiculous low priced produce. They also will carry unusual items so that you can give your family the opportunity to try new foods.
5. Double your Portions when cooking. This way you will not only save more by buying in bulk in a sense but you will save time. Instead of making 7 dinners a week, you may only need to make 4 because you can have leftover day. For example when we have tacos I make plenty of meat and the next day I take my leftover meat and cook it up with some chopped tomato and onions and then I add some cooked pasta. I serve with thinly chopped cilantro, grated cheese and sour cream over the top.
6. Shop the perimeter of the store. Most everyone knows this old trick but it’s still a good reminder to shop the outside isles of the store because the center contains all the canned and boxed food (unhealthy food) whereas the perimeter of the store carries the bulk of the fresh whole foods such as meats, fruits and veggies.
7. Buy in Bulk. The more of something you purchase, generally the less expensive it will be. I always, always compare prices and I will always, first scan the local ads for the deals of the week. Once your scan the ads then you can begin purchasing certain things in bulk, creating generous savings throughout the year.
8. Learn different methods of preserving food because when in season you can purchase bulks of food for extremely low prices. This is when canning, freezing, dehydrating and drying will come in handy especially towards maintaining you lower food expenses.
9. Plan & Prep meals ahead. See an article I did on this subject and why it is so important.
10. Lastly have a plan. Give yourself a budget and stick to it. Recruit the family. Make yourself accountable to them. If need be google how to eat healthy on a budget and there are plenty of great, very informative articles that will list very inexpensive healthy foods