Unless you are a complete health addict, chances are that you have made plans to start eating healthy and shelved them just a few days down the line. However, healthy eating is much more than a lifestyle, it is the need of the hour as unhealthy diets cause approximately 678,000 deaths a year in the United States. If you found this statistic shocking, it is time you got serious about your diet.
A lot of people push off doing so because they believe eating healthy costs a lot. However, this is just a myth. There are several ways in which you can eat healthy even as you stick to your budget. Here are some tips on how to do it and still afford that summer vacation:
Avoid spending money on unhealthy food.
This is the best way to ensure that you spend only on the right food. Canned juices, fries, candy, processed items, pizzas, and sodas don’t do your health or your pocket any good. During the summer months, it can be tempting to splurge on cool treats like ice cream and sugary popsicles. A good idea is to make a shopping list and budget, head to the produce and meats section of the supermarket first, and load up on the healthy items. A good rule of thumb is to shop the perimeter of the store before heading to the center where all the processed food is located. This will cover most of your grocery budget and you will return home with the good stuff rather than junk food. Food isn’t the only culprit though, as over-imbibing is common, especially when you are using summertime freedom to relax with friends and family by the pool or ocean. Not only will alcohol use a big chunk of your budget, but it comes with health risks too. Stick to your budget to have a happy, healthy summer.
Buy vegetables and fruits according to the season
In-season produce has the highest nutrients and is also cheaper because of the abundant availability, so stock up whenever you can. Summer farmers’ markets and discount stores are an excellent way to shop smart and you can get your hands on some good deals. Green vegetables, onions, bananas, lentils, nuts, and whole eggs are some healthy foods that are tasty as well as inexpensive. Also, there is nothing wrong with frozen fruits and vegetables as they are packed during season and directly from the farm. Buying in bulk will also get you some remarkable discounts and you can just defrost them to eat later.
Go for cheaper cuts of meat
You need the right amount of protein to stick to a well-balanced diet, but you don’t have to break the bank to do it. Choosing cheaper cuts of meat is a clever decision as you get to eat delicious meals while saving money. Chicken thighs, braising steak, etc. are some such choices. Another good idea is to buy a whole chicken rather than different parts for different dishes. You’ll get wings, breasts, drumsticks, and thighs from the same purchase, which is excellent for hosting summertime cookouts.
Pack your lunch
We often spend a major part of our earnings on eating out without even getting any nutritional value from the meals. To stick to a healthy diet and also save money, consider packing your lunch with home-cooked meals and carrying it to work. Perhaps you could use the warmer summer temperatures to have a picnic at your local park or experiment with cooking different dishes and spend time with the family as you do it—thus ensuring healthy eating for all.
Plan your meals in advance
Most people are too tired to plan a meal and cook after a long, tiring day at work, so use the weekends to prep and plan a meal schedule. Cook in bulk and freeze it, so all you need to do is defrost. Pre-cooked meals will come in handy when you’ve spent the whole day fighting back against your children’s inevitable summer boredom, or when you simply can’t muster up the energy to whip up anything coming remotely close to resembling dinner.
Now that you know healthy eating on a tight budget is totally possible, there is no excuse to keep reaching out for a bag of chips when you are hungry. In fact, according to the World Health Organization, 80 percent of Type 2 diabetes, strokes, and heart disease can be prevented by eating healthier. You can adopt one or all of these tips and start on a new diet right away—your body is sure to thank you for it very soon.