Eating Healthy On a Budget

Without a doubt, one of the most popular resolutions for a person to make is to lose weight. That resolution may appear at the top of a person’s list at multiple points throughout the year. It’s one of those resolutions that’s easy to make but much more difficult to keep.

There are a number of reasons why a weight loss goal might fail, but don’t let the difficulty of fitting healthier, fresher food into an already stretched budget be the reason. Setting aside a bit of extra time for planning can ultimately save you a lot of money and make sticking to your nutrition plan a goal that is finally within reach.

Here are some quick tips on how to shop healthy while staying within budget:

  1. Plan ahead. Create a list of a week’s worth of meals and shop in advance. When you’re pressed for time, you’re more likely to eat what’s on hand or find yourself in a drive-thru. Being rushed may not lead to be the healthiest, budget-friendly choices.
  2. Stay organized. Each week compile a list of the items you have in your cabinets, freezer and refrigerator and a separate list of the items you need to grab. Knowing what you have and what you need will eliminate a lot of waste, both of food and money. Keep your lists on your phone in case you make any unexpected stops at the store.
  3. Start couponing. Coupons are for everyone and can be a great way to maintain the family budget and keep meals nutritious and healthy. Spend a little time each week searching for coupons for those healthy food items you eat regularly. You don’t even need to grab a pair of scissors. There are many websites that offer printable online coupons for the budget-savvy shopper.
  4. Make it yourself. Growing your own vegetables and making food from scratch may sound time consuming, but it can save a lot of money and contribute to a healthier overall lifestyle. A relaxing hobby, gardening has the added benefit of producing fresh, preservative-free vegetables and herbs right in your own backyard. You can even go the organic route in your garden, which means you won’t be paying the organic price tag you’d find at the grocery store. Making things like popcorn, baked goods and salad dressings from scratch is cheaper and lets you know firsthand all the ingredients in your food item.
  5. Educate yourself. Find out the average cost for items you regularly purchase. Knowing what you should pay means you’ll be better equipped to spot a deal when it comes along. Also, consider shopping and cooking with the seasons in mind. Some fruits and vegetables are considerably cheaper when they’re in season than when they’re not.

Make this the time you put a stop to recycled resolutions. How do you fit healthy food into your budget? What else are you doing to meet your weight-loss goals?

NorthShore University HealthSystem is a comprehensive, fully integrated, healthcare delivery system that serves the Chicago region. With leading hospitals in Chicago and the surrounding area, NorthShore provides patients with the care they need from certified nutritionists and other health specialists.

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Article is originally posted at Healthy Family Matters.