Written by Lauren Henderson, Membership Consultant, O2 Fitness Southern Village
Healthy and smart eating can seem difficult while on a tight budget, however with careful meal planning, shopping, and cooking you can trim both your waistline and your food budget. With careful meal planning, eating healthy and smart are not unattainable goals. Eating out frequently can be disastrous to your wallet, but also to your health. Even if you spend a little more on convenience items to make your lunches, you will probably save more money in the long run. Here are a four suggestions to help you get the most of your food budget:
Monthly Budgeting and Planning:
Every month, determine how much money you have for food and divide by three or four to come up with the amount of money you can spend each week. Plan meals and snacks for you and your family before you go shopping to ensure that you are not spending extra money on unnecessary items.
Shopping Strategies that Save you Money:
Remember to shop the perimeter of the store where you will find the basics for a well balanced, healthy diet. The perimeter of the store is where you will find produce, meats, and dairy products. Instead of stacking your cart full of processed, "junk" foods, fill your cart with many healthy items from the perimeter including many fruits and veggies. Be sure not to buy too many meats, fruits, and veggies if you are not going to eat them relatively quickly or else they will go bad, which in turn is money down the drain. Remember to check higher and lower levels of the shelves because the more expensive items are usually eye level.
Inexpensive ways to Buy Produce:
Remember to buy apples, oranges, grapefruits, potatoes, onions, etc by the bag and not individually. Its cheaper and will take you through more of your meals. Also, shop for produce that is in season for the best flavor and the lowest prices.
Most Economical way to Buy meats/meat substitutes:
Ready to cook meats are always more expensive. So just buy the plain and season them yourself. Use canned fish and chicken for sandwiches, enchiladas, casseroles, and salads.
[source: The Diet Channel]