People are consuming far more proccessed and fast foods than ever. What this means is that we are getting more calories and less nutrition in our diet. There is a pretty simple recipe for decreasing the amount of "junk food" your family consumes, and saving money at the same time. Simply increase the amount of healthful, home made meals and healthy snacks they have available to eat at home.
Studies show that eating healthy food actually saves money. Convenience foods are far less healthy and more expensive than eating home made meals prepared with whole food ingredients bought from your local grocery store. With a little organization and creativity, you can save money and still prepare quality, healthy meals for your family.
You may experience a bit of a learning curve as you develop healthy eating habits and get into the mindset of healthy eating, but you'll find it really is less expensive to prepare healthy home cooked meals than to buy take-out or pre-packaged, processed food. It just involves a little planning and perhaps some education on how to shop for healthy ingredients and turn them into delicious meals your family will enjoy.
List Your Weekly Meals
Make a list of the meals you want to prepare this week. Planning your meals ahead of time can have a huge impact on your food budget and help you in your quest to eat healthy food. Meal planning also allows you to prepare some foods ahead of time and have them available for lunches or dinners on busy days. Buying groceries for the week means you’ll make fewer trips to the store and purchase only what you need.
Make a Grocery List
Make a list of the items you need for your meals for the week and check it twice. Having a good, organized grocery list will help you avoid buying things you don’t really need and cut down on return trips to the grocery store.
Saving money at the grocery store involves more than getting lucky and finding a few items on sale. You need to have a game plan and make smart decisions about what to put in your cart.
Here are a few things you can do to be a smarter shopper:
- Eat before you shop. If you go grocery shopping when you are hungry you may find yourself buying more unhealthy food and other things you don't really need.
- Check the stores sales flyers. Sales flyers are usually put out mid-week and can be found at the store’s entrance, in the newspaper, or on their website.
- Look up and down for savings. Stores often stock the most expensive items at eye level. You can save money by checking out the items on the upper and lower shelves too.
- Check for store brands. Most stores offer their own brand of products that often cost less than name brands and are usually of at least equal quality.
Prepare Healthy Meals
If you are new to cooking on a regular basis, a good rule of thumb is to keep it simple. Healthy and creative meals don’t have to be complicated. The simpler the menu, the less it will cost in money and stress. You can involve your family in the preparation of the meal. Divide jobs among family members. Remember – kids love to be in the kitchen.
With just a little bit of planning and thought you can be on your way to eating healthy on a budget in no time at all!