Eat Healthy on a Lean Budget in the New Year

table with variety of different healthy foods including salmon, steak, cheese, nuts, and vegetables

Your health shouldn't suffer simply so you can stick to a budget. Often times, making healthy food choices falls to the wayside for people who are on a tight budget. If you look at it from a budget perspective, unhealthy food tends to be cheaper, and, more often than not, unhealthy food options have additional coupons that make it easy to stretch your money further. With that being said, there is no reason why you can't eat lean, even if your budget is pretty tight. You just need to make smart decisions. We have a few tips to eat healthy on a budget that will help you get started.

When You Are Planning To Eat Healthy Meals, You Are Planning To Save Money

Meal planning to eat healthy food is not the most exciting activity in the world, but it can be really beneficial for your health and for your financial budget. To make the most of your dollars, plan a week's worth of meals that all incorporate similar ingredients. To get fresh meal ideas, use Google to find healthy recipes based on the ingredients you have on hand.

For example, if you see a great sale on chicken breasts, plan to incorporate that into three or four of your weekly meals. If pantry staples are on deep discount, don't be afraid to stock up. You can always find ways to use extra flour and you can freeze butter. It is essential, however, that you don't get drawn in by steep savings and end up wasting food. This can be especially easy for people who are single or who have a small family size. Don't overbuy just because something is on sale, but do strategically utilize sales to your advantage.

Get The Price Of Meat Down By Buying In Bulk

Buying meat in bulk can be a great way to save and eat healthy protein, but many single people don't think they'll ever get to use all of the meat they buy. Don't worry about that too much, that is were trusty meal planning comes in. Before you decide to buy in bulk, make sure you clean out your freezer, leaving enough space for your latest discount scores.

When you bring your family-sized ground beef home, section it out into portions. One-pound portions are a good start, but if you are a single person, you can break it down into half-pound sections. Place each piece into a freezer bag and date the bag. To save room in your freezer, roll the ground beef (or ground chicken or turkey) flat before you store.

For chicken and pork, you can portion family packs out by item. So, if you regularly cook for two people, you can place between two and four pieces in each bag and label them accordingly. Once everything is placed in your freezer, make sure to set alerts for yourself so you don't forget to take them out to defrost. We think using your phone's alarm to remind you to pull something out of the freezer every morning is a good way to stay on track, eat healthy meats, and stay organized.

Make A Resolution To Eat More Legumes

Meat, by nature, is expensive, but you can get your protein needs met without eating meat at every meal. Adding beans to your diet can help you vary what you are eating and they are a great source of protein. Legumes are also, generally, cheaper than most meat. One pound of lean ground beef, on average, sells for over $5.00 per pound. One pound of black beans, on average, will cost you $1.29.

Beans are also incredibly versatile, they can be used to craft a vegetarian chili, simply added to rice, or can be thrown into salads. If you set aside a few hours on a Sunday morning, you can easily make enough beans to last you all week. If you are pressed for time, canned beans will work, too, and they are often equally as cheap as the dried, bagged option.

Eat In-Season Produce

This is one of the best ways to eat healthy food and save money. Keeping your produce in-season can make a massive dent in your grocery bill. When produce is out of season it can be prohibitively expensive. Instead, research fruits and vegetables that are in season, and focus your recipes around those items. Sure, you may not get to have strawberries in November, but are November strawberries ever as good as those picked during the height of the natural season?

You may even manage to discover some winter produce that you really enjoy that you wouldn't have given a try otherwise. Trying things out and finding new foods is not only great for your health, but it can be great for your wallet, too.