How to Eat Healthy on a Budget

One of the questions I receive most when I post about healthy eating is how to buy nutrient-rich, unprocessed food on a budget. A good balanced diet that includes fresh produce, whole grains, and proteins low in saturated fat can seem financially intimidating if you don’t know what to look for when shopping. The trick is to avoid packaged foods that are loaded with ingredients you can barely pronounce and know when to buy the fresh foods that will give you energy, reduce weight gain and lead to overall better health. There are plenty of nutritious foods that cost less that $2.00, but I wanted to share my affordable eating tips to help get you on the right track to eating healthy on a budget.  

Healthy Eating on a Budget

Know Where to Buy

Whether you’re buying organic or simply trying to find affordable fresh foods, where you purchase from can make all the difference. Look to retailers such as Trader Joe’s, your local farmers market or Super Walmart to find below average prices for fresh veggies and packaged grains that you won’t find at your typical grocer. Walmart recently expanded their health food offerings thanks to a partnership with Wild Oats, which means that you can get great organic products for at least 30% less than comparable items. Search your area for the most affordable retailer and use them as your go-to resource for organics.

Shop in Season

You don’t need to eat the same produce year round. If you explore new recipes and only buy fruits and vegetables that are in season, you will save money. Vegetables that are in season will cost less than when they aren’t, so learn what is freshest when and start planning. Also, don’t feel restricted to buy a specific type of produce. Just because kale is all the rage doesn’t mean you need to eat it to be healthy. If it’s more cost effective to buy spinach, select this green instead. Try to find produce that maintains the nutrients of your first choice and add it to your next salad or pasta dish.

Buy Frozen Produce

For out-of-season vegetables, or to incorporate a necessary ingredient in your favorite meal, think frozen. Frozen produce and meat is an excellent way to buy large quantities of healthy food that won’t go bad and can feed an entire family. You can use frozen fruit in smoothies or quickly heat up corn or broccoli as a quick side dish for your little one.

Freeze Meals

One of the biggest culprits of eating junk food is being hungry without a meal plan in mind. When I want something quick, the last thing I want to do is cook. That’s usually when most of us go for the unhealthiest foods. Instead, plan meals in advance, cook them and freeze them for a later date. You can make casseroles, soups or any number of these healthy freezable meals and when you’re hungry, pop them in the oven or microwave for a few minutes to enjoy.

Buy in Bulk

Stores offer excellent deals on many food staples. To get the best bang for your buck with these items, buy as much as you can when they are on sale. If your family routinely eats rice, you can purchase multiple bags and store for future meals. Think about purchasing fresh goods for large families at places such as Costco. or Sam’s Club. You’ll get twice as much at a quarter of the price per unit. Before you shop, learn how unit prices can make a big difference in your grocery budget.

Having all of the right foods is just one step in the journey of healthy eating, your mindset matters as well. Read my Think Your Way to Healthy Eating post to learn how to change your eating patterns for the better. 

Xx,
Tamera

  • Stephanie Ofordire

    I’m so glad you started doing daily blogs again. I was so sad when your website with your sister went down. You guys help me so much when it comes to life planning. Thank you!

  • Matseliso

    This is such a great post. I’m a student living off a really tight budget, so this helps a whole load. I know the site is probably not aimed at people my age, but this is some really great stuff, a lot of these tips I have tried myself.
    with love all the way from South Africa.

  • TT Talk (Fan Crew)

    Excellent article Tam Tam … These tips are AWESOME! ✔️

  • Jessie

    Your blogs and advices are the best keep up the great work

  • Tanya de Almeida

    Thank you! You should have your own show on style. Pick up where Stacy and Clinton left off on TLC!! You can also have a show on healthy living. :)

  • Pamela

    You and your sister have such a great sense of style. You should have your own maternity collection!

  • Great Tips Tamera!!!! Seriously will be applying this!!! :)

  • Pam Jackson

    Thanks for posting this. I really needed this information.

  • Nadina

    I totally agree with Tamera, it is difficult to buy fresh, but by golly it makes all the difference in your body, your body will thank you later…
    I’ve been guilty of not planning my meals and turned to junk, so now i have a plan, i stick to it, which means i save more because i know precisely what i need. Plus because i enjoy cooking, i love coming up with creative ways of menu planning, Thanks Tamera!

  • Ina Turner

    Tamera, What a great post, You are so right about every point you made,we can eat healthy even if our budget is tight,I have learn that the prepackage
    food is more expensive than fresh. We just have to change our mindset and be willing to spend the time to shop around, and enjoying cooking all that fresh food. Our health will thank us in the long run.

  • PhOzia Jansen

    I’m a Registered Dietician and its so refreshing to see people in the public eye advocating balanced healthy eating without all the fad diets. Keep on spreading eating the healthy way. xx

  • Dawn Smith

    I appreciate this post but I really would like to challenge health experts and money management experts to shop healthy in urban areas with food stamps. While I can afford to leave my neighborhood and go to several grocery stores that you listed, that is not an option for a great number of people. I am trying to teach a community that I serve how to do what you listed but find it difficult when battling a number of roadblocks. If you can find somebody to help with my challenge, I’s appreciate it.
    Thanks so much.

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  • Ruth Justiniano

    I love all the pics you have given me I do to healthy eating is just so hard for me to lose weight and thank you for the tip Ruth from Philadelphia pa

  • Rhonda

    Good info! I keep forgetting about places like Walmart and my local farmer markets for shopping for healthy but less costly options. I am a widow with two girls who struggles to put good food on our table so I can lose weight and be healthy but also so my girls will maintain normal weights and be healthy and have healthy attitudes and habits towards food. Thanks for the reminder that where there is a will, there IS a way!

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  • Kay Leigh Dopslaf Gamboa

    I think you blog is wonderful! It is really organized and really thought out. I found some really great tips that I did not know! Thanks again!

  • Kyra Drew

    I have found that if you take the time to separate the bulk items into single or servings for two then when you are cooking it saves time. I also like to wash my veggies when I bring them in. This helps to keep the fridge cleaner and saves prep time. Your article gave me some wonderful new ideas. Thank you.

    • abby

      Hi Kyra thanks for the follow, hope u win that beautiful price, I am from S-Africa so i don’t stand a change, stay positive, take care and God Bless.

      • Kyra Drew

        You are so very welcome. I would like to think our chances are equal, and they are. I would like nothing better than to see my new friend win. So good luck to you as well.

        • abby

          Awwww, so sweet of u.

  • Jennifer Torres

    I love this post!!! Thanks so much for sharing! Fruits and veggies can definitly get expensive but these tips help! I will look into freezing meals too!