There's a common misconception that eating healthy is expensive; the truth is, for the most part, it is the total opposite when you do it the right way.
When you learn the tricks of grocery shopping while keeping a budget, you'll see the added benefits such as more nutritious food, which leads to a generally healthier body and mind, and in the long run, reduces doctor bills.
The first step is to calculate how much money you have on average to buy food each month; if you don't even have a budget, it's time to take out all of your bills and create a list of all your expenses; without a budget, you'll lose your money.
Once you identified your budget, I recommend you follow these tips to buy healthier choices while keeping within your budget; these tips apply to most economies. At first, these tips will feel oppressive, but after a while, you'll get used to this new spending habit and will never run out of food while reducing your food waste.
Buy healthy food on a budget!
1) Plan your meals before shopping
Internet is a wonderful tool that makes life much easier. Whatever diet you are on or want to save cash by eating healthy but affordable meals, you can Google pretty much everything. Pinterest is also a great option when it comes to recipes.
Pick two to three meals, avoid the temptation of doing too many dishes at once, it might be overwhelming to keep track of all the items, and the cooking process will feel endless. I recommend going grocery shopping twice per month. This varies depending on how many members your household has.
The rule of thumb is to try to go the least amount of times to the supermarket, not only you save time and reduce the temptation of buying something you don't need.
2) Make a shopping list
I've mentioned this before many times. A shopping list is your guide to navigating through any store; it will help keep focus and search only for what you need.
Once you have your plan and your two to three meals decided, write down all the ingredients you'll need to buy and go through your pantry, refrigerator, or freezer and put a check on all the stuff you already have; this tip helps avoid buying duplicates.
Remember, when making this list, you are meal prepping for an entire day, so breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Even though some people prefer to eat two large meals (breakfast and lunch) to save money, it isn't the wisest choice as you might feel hungry at night.
Don't forget to include some snacks, like fruit or nuts. These healthy options are great when you have a craving.
3) Eat something before
Our mind is too powerful, mix that with a grumbling stomach, and it's a recipe to drain your budget.
Make sure to eat something light before heading out; if your children go with you, have them eat something; if you don't, you are more likely to buy things you don't even need or are heavily processed!
If you go grocer shopping after work, make sure to pack extra snacks or a sandwich to eat before; if hunger attacks when you already are there, grab a fruit or a small turkey sandwich, but stay away from sugary and processed products.
4) Make some time to go shopping
People make time to watch tv, meet with friends, or do whatever, but when it comes to grocery shopping, everything is last minute and in a rush.
If people were aware of their damage to their economy and health by not taking some time to educate themselves and become intelligent consumers.
Manufacturers know this and take advantage of their consumers; they pay millions (if not billions) each year on ads, product placement, promotions, among other things, to tell you what you need, it's in your hands, showing you have control of your money.
Depending on how much food you buy, I'll recommend separating 30 to 60 minutes of your time to shop without rushing through, making bad decisions.
5) Buy as natural as possible
When picking your food, ask yourself if the product is highly processed; if you want to take care of your health is crucial to buy food as naturally as possible.
Certain things can't be bought without any level of processing but as a general rule, try to buy items as close to nature as possible.
6) No sugary drinks
Avoid putting in your shopping cart any sugary drinks, including juice, soda, energy drinks, among others. Not only do they add extra calories without filling you up, but they also cost a lot of money and create more waste.
Nothing beats water, but you don't want to buy bottled water. Once again, thinking of the environment, get yourself a water filter that can easily be installed on your kitchen sink, on Amazon you can buy a Brita Faucet Water System for less than $30, with over 21k reviews this #1 seller is a great option.
Healthier alternatives include getting a glass pitcher to fill it with water and sliced fruits of your preference.
Other healthy drinks include tea and coffee without sugar.
7) Shop the perimeter
This last tip might not apply to all supermarkets but is usually part of the general layout of these buildings. One reason is easier access to fresh food that needs to be switched more frequently, but typically produce, meat, cheese, bread, and other similar food is located within the perimeter.
In the center section, you'll find all processed food and other items (like home decor, beauty products, office supplies, etc.)
Your shopping shouldn't have more than 20% of the center area.
Your health is essential, and it is never a good idea to be cheap with the stuff you consume as you get old; your body will pay the consequences of bad eating habits.
With these tips, your budget won't suffer, and you'll be able to eat healthier and delicious meals at home.
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