4 Tips to Eating Healthy on a Tight Budget
Eating healthy isn’t exactly easy, especially for someone on a budget. Why dish out $15 for a salad when you can get a slice for a dollar?
Every nutritionist has heard this excuse – and it’s a hard one to counter. Foods that include fruits, vegetables and lean proteins are often more expensive than carb-heavy alternatives, particularly when dining out. For anyone willing to put in the extra thought, though, it’s totally possible to eat well on a budget. Below are some helpful tips to give patients who want to take care of their body without breaking the bank.
1. Stay Seasonal
Watermelon… in the winter? Supermarkets are able to keep out-of-season foods in stock year-round by importing them from various locations around the world. It might seem outlandish to pay $7 for a carton of strawberries, but when you consider the additional shipping costs, it’s really not. Advise your patients to go for in-season produce next time they hit the grocery store to avoid paying those inflated prices. A quick google search will produce a full list of each season’s best.
2. Try Frozen Fruits and Veggies
Contrary to popular belief, frozen fruits and vegetables are just as nutritious as their fresh counterparts. Research has shown that once harvested, produce immediately starts to lose nutrients, meaning fruits and veggies that are promptly frozen lock in the highest levels of antioxidants and vitamins. Buying frozen over fresh also gives patients the ability to keep healthy foods in stock at all times, not needing to worry about finishing fresh items before they spoil. Best of all, frozen produce costs only a fraction of the price!
3. Meal Prep, Meal Prep, Meal Prep!
Few of us have time to make lunch every morning, but preparing our own meals is one of the best ways to eat healthy and save money. If spending 10-15 dollars on a healthy lunch isn’t an option for your busy patients, encourage them to designate one day a week to lunch prep. A great time to do this is on Sunday night, before the work week begins. They’ll be delighted to see the savings, and will likely feel better too. Many restaurants (even those advertising healthy options) cook with unhealthy additives like sodium and butter to enhance the flavors of the foods they serve. Prepping meals at home is the only way to have full control over our diets.
4. Cooking Large Batches and Repurpose Leftovers
Cooking large batches goes hand in hand with meal prep. Patients on a busy schedule can make one oversized meal and effectively feed themselves for several days. The principle is simple: leftovers should be stored in personal-sized containers and refrigerated or frozen, for later use.
If a patient hates the idea of having the same meal twice, it’s also easy to get creative with leftovers to make an entirely new meal. Let’s say the patient makes a chicken roast with vegetables, and has quite a bit left over. There are literally dozens of meals that use the same or similar ingredients. Suggest your patient uses the leftover meat and veggies in a salad, adding nuts, cheese and dressing for a new flavor. He/she can also boil down the chicken carcass into a broth, which can be used as the base of a soup.
By following these tips, eating healthy on a budget is totally possible. If your clients are willing to think ahead, it shouldn’t get in the way of their busy schedules, either.