Written by: Wallace Merriman

Eating Healthy on a Budget
Posted on:Jan 6, 2011

When you’re low on time and money, it’s easy to turn to processed foods, because they’re quick, easy and inexpensive. Unfortunately, they’re also loaded with sugars, fats and empty calories. If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to eat more healthy foods and the other is to save money, it might feel like you’ve lost your battle before you’ve even begun. Don’t get discouraged. A few small changes to the way you eat and the way you shop can greatly improve your diet without adding any additional pounds to your budget.
Step 1
Buy fruits and vegetables when they’re in season to save money. Shop for strawberries in the spring. Look for corn, tomatoes and melons in the summer. Buy pumpkin, squash and apples in the fall, and save citrus and grapes for the winter. Buy frozen fruits and vegetables during their off-seasons, as they’re usually less expensive and last longer. Avoid canned foods, which often are loaded with salt, sugar or other preservatives, and typically cost more per serving.
Step 2
Buy in bulk. According to the American Heart Association, whole grains and high fiber foods are an important part of a heart healthy diet. Buying large, bulk-sized bags of these foods, such as brown rice, beans, millet and oats, is more economical because you get more food for your money. Store dried beans and grains in air-tight containers, and they can last for months.
Step 3
Eat at home. Cooking meals made from fresh, healthy ingredients saves you from loads of saturated fat and empty calories. It also costs less than eating in a restaurant. Start with simple meals and aim to try one or two new, healthy recipes per week until you’re able to prepare a wide variety of healthy, inexpensive meals.
Step 4
Cook extra. Prepare an extra portion to use as a quick lunch or meal later in the week. This allows you to buy larger, more economically priced amounts of ingredients for one meal rather that purchasing the ingredients for two meals.
Step 5
Prepare a whole chicken. For the same price as a package of chicken breasts, which will yield one meal for your family, you can cook an entire chicken as one meal and use the leftovers to create one or two additional meals. Use the bones to make stocks and broths for other recipes, so that every part of the bird is used.
Step 6
Drink water. Soft drinks and sugary juices or energy drinks add calories to your body and detract from your grocery budget. Cut out all drinks but water for an entire week and see how much money you can shave from your grocery budget. This includes runs to expensive coffee houses and stops at work or school vending machines. Use The Daily Plate to calculate how many calories you’ve saved by the simple act of drinking only water.
Step 7
Plan, plan plan! Making menus helps save money in two ways. First, it allows you to take stock of items on hand, so you waste less and purchase less. Second, sticking to a list helps you avoid impulse buys, such as snacks and drinks. Planning healthy meals and creating a menu means you always know what’s for dinner and can prepare accordingly, instead of heading to a fast-food restaurant because you’re in a pinch.
Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/67733-eating-budget/#ixzz1AGQGgDhX