Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Save Money, Eat Better

Save Money, Eat Better

Choosing healthy foods on a tight budget

Looking for ways to save money and lose weight at the same time? Before canceling your gym membership, take a second look at your food spending habits. From eating out to buying pricy processed foods, your food budget could likely use an overhaul. Many people have the misconception that healthy foods and home-cooked foods are more expensive. But with the right ingredients you can easily prepare a home-cooked meal for your entire family for the amount of money it costs for just one restaurant meal.

With a few simple changes, your family can reduce your grocery bill while cutting calories and eating healthier at the same time. Sound good? Read on to find out how.

Plan Ahead

It's five o'clock and you haven't given a thought to dinner. Of course eating out is an option, but it doesn't have to be your default choice. Take a few minutes each week to plan a menu. Then head to the grocery store to buy a week's worth of food so you have the ingredients you need on hand for easy, last-minute meals.

Avoid Waste

It hurts to throw out perfectly good food that gets forgotten in the bottom of the refrigerator. Every time you waste food, you're wasting money. This is one reason why it's helpful to plan ahead. See what you already have on hand before buying new food. When you're not sure you'll be able to eat something before it goes bad, label it and stick it in the freezer to save for later.

Buy Generic

You may be surprised at how good generic brand foods taste compared to name brand alternatives. Generic foods are manufactured under the same standards and may taste slightly different, but they are quite a bit cheaper.
Many people enjoy shopping at new, sparkling supermarkets, but you'll likely leave with less money in your pockets. Shop around for the best deals.

Choose the Right Foods

Healthy doesn't have to be expensive. Whole foods bought in large quantities yield numerous servings at a fraction of the cost of processed foods. Think of how cheap a bag of beans or rice is and how many servings it provides.

Meat is often the most expensive item on your menu. Try preparing a few meatless meals each week to save money. For protein, center your meal on legumes, beans, or eggs.

For a healthy, low-calorie diet you'll want to load up on fresh produce. To save money, look for produce that's in season and comes in a bag rather than individually. You may find out-of-season produce is cheaper in the frozen section. When you buy frozen, you don't have to worry about it going bad.

When a staple food item is on sale, stock up with enough to last before it expires.

Cut out the junk and processed foods from your grocery list and you'll be sure to save money and calories.

Take Advantage of Leftovers

Unless you're picky and won't eat food that's been in the refrigerator from a previous meal, you can save time and money by enjoying leftovers. When you take the time to cook, plan to make extra servings that can be saved for lunch or dinner the next day or saved in the freezer for another time.

If you don't want the same meal again, repurpose the food into another dish. Use leftover meat to make sandwiches, stir-fries, soups, or salads.

Don't Grocery Shop Hungry

Walking up and down the grocery store aisles when you're hungry can be dangerous to your budget. You'll be more likely to make impulsive decisions about what to throw in your cart and will crave unhealthy options. Before heading to the grocery store, eat a small snack to curb your hunger, then stick to your list when you're at the store.

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