Are you trying to diet, but wondering how to work your diet around your finances? Money is tight for a large number of people, and healthy food is often more expensive than processed junk food. How can you eat well, but not go over budget? Here are some simple tips that can help you stay within both your diet plan and your financial plan at the same time.
Buy in Bulk
You can save money by buying larger quantities of items that can be frozen for extended periods of time, such as meats. Chicken and seafood are healthy sources of protein, and can often be purchased at substantial savings when purchased in bulk. Grocery stores periodically run sales on what they call their "family packs" of meat, offering big discounts for larger purchases.
You can freeze these foods raw, or you can cook them and portion them into convenient, home-cooked frozen meals. Regardless of whether you are freezing items raw or cooked, an inexpensive vacuum-sealing unit can be a great asset when purchasing foods in bulk for later use.
Get to Know Your Local Farmer's Markets
For fresh fruits and vegetables, farmer's markets are a fabulous asset. The produce is generally fresher and can be very affordable as compared to your local grocery chain. Some small local farmers employ organic growing methods without raising their prices, as large producers often do. The only downside is that many of these markets close down in the winter months.
Fresh Is Not Always Best
Fresh fruits are fabulous, but are often very expensive when out-of-season. Frozen fruits can be a good alternative. Rather than buying the costly fresh fruits in the off-season, you can save money by buying the frozen ones, which can work very well in smoothies and fruit cups when thawed.
You can also get bargains on bags of pre-frozen meats such as chicken. A large bag of frozen chicken breasts can be much more affordable than fresh chicken. Be sure to read the labels, however, as some frozen meats can contain large amounts of sodium and preservatives. There are some healthy frozen meats out there, if you are aware of what you're buying.
Make Your Own Meals
Due to busy lifestyles, many people choose to use convenient frozen meals. There are large numbers of different brands, to fit every taste and health concern. Whether your diet is low sodium, low fat, low carb or just low calorie, you can find frozen meals to fit what you need. However, these meals can be very expensive, even when purchased on sale.
A better investment would be to buy some storage containers with sections, and make your own fresh meals to freeze and re-heat. If you grill some chicken or fish, cook up some vegetables and rice and put them in these containers. You can pop them in the freezer for later.
Making your own healthy meals will also save you money and help keep you on your diet if you work outside the home. You can take a very healthy meal to work, skipping the temptation of going out to lunch, and saving yourself money as well.