How to eat healthy food on a low budget

Eating healthy food is now in your budget. If you grocery shop often, you probably know that organic produce and the highest quality fruits and vegetables (the ones which look bright and fresh) are all expensive. So, can one eat healthy food on a tight budget? You sure can!

The first and foremost way to eat a healthy food diet without spending a lot of money is to eat seasonal produce. Buy whole foods and plan your meals so that you can cook up a variety of recipes with the same few ingredients by tweaking one-two ingredients. Here are our top 7 tips for eating healthy on a low budget.

  1. Buy fresh local produce. Forget organic….eat local produce bought fresh from the source. This holds true for not just fruits and vegetables, but also eggs and meats. Instead of buying frozen meats, buy fresh meat in larger quantities and then create adequate portions for the whole family and freeze. Do the same for vegetables like peas and corn — they do well when frozen in zip-lock bags. 
  1. Find grocery store sales. Many grocery stores have weekly sales while others will give you discount cards. Shop from the same store every week to be able to get these discounts and know which day of the week they put all vegetables and fruits on sale. Some grocery stores also offer fresh fruits and vegetables at discounted rate after 7pm in the evening every day; so that should help you decide your shopping time too.
  1. Buy whole rather than processed. Purchase the whole chicken and cut your own boneless pieces for curries. The bones, gizzard, skin and liver can then be used to make chicken stock at home. You can do the same for most meats, including fish. Same holds good for sauces and dips — they are very easy to make at home from basic ingredients and are far cheaper plus healthier than their bottled counterparts.
  1. Learn to cook with cheaper cuts of meat. Instead of chicken breasts, opt for chicken thighs. Organ meats and meat with skin on are all cheaper. Some meats are cheaper because they are tougher, but can result in wonderfully delicious recipes in the slow cooker.
  1. Eat whole-grains bought from wholesalers. Buy grains in bulk since they don’t spoil soon. You may be able to get a bargain when you buy bulk. Local rice, dalia, dals, oats and wheat will all add fiber-rich bulk to homemade meals. Whole grains and legumes will also aid in weight loss.
  1. Be organized. A clean kitchen and pantry will not just let you throw together a quick healthy meal; they also ensure that you can find creative ways to use up the leftovers. Keep your fridge and pantry organized to help minimize food wastage.

Repurpose leftovers and create a fresh meal. This is particularly helpful for working women, as they don’t have a lot of time to cook from scratch. The leftovers from chicken curry from Sunday dinner make a quick chicken biryani for Monday. Leftover rajma can be used for quick burritos for next day lunch.