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TOPIC: Eating Healthy on a Budget

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February 12, 2012 12:25 PM
Its hard to eat healthy while keeping it on a budget! All of the healthy foods are more expensive and when you are tight on funds (all the time) this makes it hard. I'm open for any suggestions on affordable healthy food options!
February 12, 2012 12:29 PM
As a student, I basically live on fajitas! Just half a pepper, half an onion, a carrot, Half a teaspoon of oil for the pan, quorn chicken (or normal, but I'm veggie) and 6g of spice from the packet, and you're done! Throw it all into a pan. I don't bother with the wrap bits, but put 15ml of sour cream on, and it's really healthy- about 300 calories, 20-30 carbs, 10-20 fat... Very easy too! And yummy. Sometimes I eat it 4 or 5 nights running :)
February 12, 2012 12:29 PM
Wish I had suggestions but my grocery bills are a lot higher since I started eating healthy. I do save money though by not ordering pizza etc...but I still don't think it really balances out.
February 12, 2012 12:30 PM
Try lots of vegetables, fresh vegetables can be expensive, but frozen vegetables are good to use. Simple meals of brown rice, vegetables and a lean meat will not break a budget most of the time.
February 12, 2012 12:30 PM
Same here!!! Looking forward to see how others are doing it............
February 12, 2012 12:31 PM
if you have an Aldi's near you , their produce and everything is so much cheaper! they have a brand called fit and active too. they offer a lot of healthy stuff, and for a family of 4 I can usually walk out with a week's worth of groceries for around $80.
February 12, 2012 12:31 PM
See I'm never one to order out or even go out to eat. I can afford to do that maybe once a month. I try to keep weekly grocery bills under $25 sadly. Gas going up doesn't help leave more money in the budget but I do my best to look for what healthy things are on sale!
February 12, 2012 12:33 PM
Try going to a bulk food store if you have one locally-I have found our bulk heath food store is awesome-and alot of the healthy stuff is cheaper than in the regular supermarket can get the amount out of the bulk bins that you need so you don't have tons of something-and its cheaper since you don't have to pay for packaging...there are tons of varieties of beans, lentils, brown rice, 7 grain oatmeal mixes, bean soup mixes, etc...I can get what I need for a week for about 10.00 and then I get my produce to go with it...which I go to a local farm market for-and its usually way cheaper than the store too!
February 12, 2012 12:34 PM
Frozen veggies and fruits are great-but always look to see what produce is in season as it's typically cheaper! If you get a good deal on some fresh produce but can't use it all, use what you can and freeze the rest! My grocery store also does discounts on meat/pork/poultry when it's a few days before it's use by date...I snatch those up because they're really cheap and I can go home and divide as necessary and freeze! Also, you can get great bulk deals at places like Sam's Club and BJs. Sometimes I hit 4 or 5 different stores throughout the course of a week...but if I know some place has got it a LOT cheaper, I'll go for it! Hope this helps!
Edited by saverys_gal On February 12, 2012 12:34 PM
February 12, 2012 12:35 PM
Stay out of the middle isles. Eat real whole food. Processed food (especially "health food") is expensive.
February 12, 2012 12:36 PM
I am fortunate to have a Trader Joe's in my area. I never realized how much cheaper they are then my local grocery store. I buy as much as I can there and then my grocery store. One thing I started eating on weekends are luna bars. At the grocery store, they are 1.29, Rite-Aid - 1.79, and Trader Joe's - .99!!! There should be a Trader Joe's everywhere
February 12, 2012 12:37 PM
If you're on Facebook look up my friend's page, Surviving and Thriving on Pennies. She feeds her family of 4 a mostly organic diet for about $50/week. Some of the ideas she uses are difficult if you aren't a stay at home mom but, many of them work for anyone.
February 12, 2012 12:38 PM
Actually, fresh veggies and fruits that are in season are resonable. Add whatever lean meats are on sale, you have a budget meal!
February 12, 2012 12:39 PM
Food prices vary so much according to where you live. Having a freezer really helps. We shop the lost leaders, and load up the freezer. Have a garden in the summer and freeze what we can. We have a great green grocer who stocks several grades of fruits and veggies. We cook everything from scratch and stay away from the prepared foods. And we buy beans and grains in bulk from a great little East Indian shop that has extra low prices.
February 12, 2012 12:40 PM
you will actually save money if you cook at home, carry leftovers for lunch and freeze things for your own frozen dinners. look at sales and plan your meals accordingly. frozen fruits are a good alternative and they don't go bad. i buy what i want at the grocery store now but when we were first married and our kids were little we were on a much tighter budget and i still managed to cook healthy for my family. i know it is a challenge but you can do it!
February 12, 2012 12:41 PM
Fresh is best, but if not possible frozen is a close second place.
Watch out for added sugars and sodium and instead of buying prepackaged sides (Rice a Roni, for one) buy regular rice and add your own spices. Even the "low sodium" is insane.
Be sure to always have high fiber and protein foods at hand. They keep you full longer. Look for almonds, granola bars that don't look like candy bars, and those 100 calorie packs can be imitated for MUCH less by buying a regular bag of chips/pretzels/etc and spending a little time making your own snack bags with zip bags.
On top of that, portions are going to be a huge changer for you. I know, used to get all of my "meals" from the Dollar General. Hard to be healthy that way. So long as you are cooking it from step one, you know what is in it and you know how much you can eat.

It is possible, if not a touch harder, to do this on a budget and still get all of your nutrients and make your tummy happy. It'll take some research in the beginning, but you'll get it figured out!

Best of luck!
February 12, 2012 12:43 PM
Thanks :)
February 12, 2012 12:43 PM
Bump, will have to follow this thread as my shopping bill is soooo high.
February 12, 2012 12:44 PM
February 12, 2012 12:47 PM
will be watching this !
February 12, 2012 12:57 PM
One thing we do is roast a chicken on the weekend. We pay $10 for a large plump chicken, which will make several meals for a family of 3 (and lunches too!) Another thing we do is buy black beans and other beans dry, which are pretty cheap and they are both healthy and cheap. We buy some fresh produce,like apples, but for the most part we buy frozen vegetables. With frozen veggies we can portion out what we'll eat for each meal and save the rest. I buy whole grain or whole wheat bread when it's on sale and it goes in the freezer.

If I were single I could easily live on $25 a week for groceries. For the 3 of us I spend between 50-75 a week.
February 12, 2012 1:01 PM
I agree with the PP who mentioned Aldi... I can easily drop 30-40 bucks and have FRESH produce and healthy food for two weeks!
I love having peppers, carrots and hummus for lunch, and I can get all of that from Aldi... seriously, you'd be surprised at all of the food they have now
February 12, 2012 1:37 PM
I just got back from the grocery stores-Yep, three stores today, but this is what I got-
Aldi- 2 3packs of kiwi .99 each
Anjou Pears about 7 in a bag for $1.39 (2lb. bag) bought 2
Honey Wheat Pretzels, large container $3.99
Neufchatel $1.19 each
Romaine Hearts $1.89 (3 pack)
Spinach $.99

Now their sales change during the week, so I know the produce prices will change.

I went to Kroger and got their cottage cheese (it's my favorite) $1.99, bought three containers (ok, I'm feeding three kids and a hubby too)
1/2 gallons of 1% that were marked down to .99, Sell by date 2/20
Luna bar that I got free (catalina coupon)
1 doz. eggs that I got free (coupon that Kroger sent me in the mail for shopping so much with them)

Unbleached all purpose flour $1.59, I do a lot of baking
Clearance orange & yellow peppers,a bag of four peppers for less that $1.50 It seems their clearance produce is out on Sunday/Monday.
I will also get strawberries there tomorrow when I return a Redbox movie.

I watch sales, go to several stores and plan my meals around sales. Above is mainly dairy and produce that I got on sale for the week. I still need to plan meals around what I've already got in the freezer. If I find bananas on clearance, I will freeze them for muffins & smoothies and I've also chopped up peppers before for fajitas & other cooked items (you can't use them as if you were going to fresh if you freeze them.)
February 12, 2012 1:49 PM
Oats, frozen veggies, frozen chicken breasts, canned tuna.. try to buy things in bulk.
February 12, 2012 1:54 PM
Blue Diamond, Kashi, Morningstar, Cascadian, Annies and several others always have coupons. I print tons of coupons to help cut the cost. Kroger doubles coupons for even more savings. And as mentioned, Aldi's has great prices on produce. I price match Aldi's at WalMart since WM is closer to me. I also stockpile and have a year supply of HBA stuffs that my only shopping expense for the month really is only food and since we have stopped eating out so much that has helped with the grocery budget too! And dont forget to buy store brands too. Just as good at a fraction of the cost. I LOVE Kroger brand CARBmaster yogurt. Yummy and low in sugar and cheaper than Dannon, Yoplait or Chobani. I put Kashi Go Lean Crunch in mine every morning!


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