How To Eat On A Budget
Learning how to eat on a budget can help you to stay healthy and to save money. It has been said that eating out in some cases costs less than eating at home. While this is true if you factor in only the cost of the food, it becomes untrue if you think about the cost of gas and wear and tear on your car to get to the restaurant, tips you must leave and the cost of future health care costs if you eat unhealthy foods. Buying food at the store and preparing it yourself can make it much easier to eat within your budget. Despite the rising cost of food and the downturn in the economy, even a person with a very limited income, like a college student, can eat foods that are healthy.
- Fill up your cart with inexpensive fruits and vegetables. Contrary to popular belief, meat isn’t the food group that should fill up your entire plate—fruits and vegetables are. Fruits and vegetables provide more nutrients per calorie than any of the other food groups. You can choose fresh, frozen, canned or dried. If you want the healthiest food for your money, stay away from options that have added salt or sugar.
- Get creative with protein selections. Buying meat takes up the most money for most people, but it doesn’t have to. Choose meats that are on sale. Check out the canned meats and other protein options. Tuna packed in water, chunk chicken, peanut butter, nuts and beans are all other protein options. Also, don’t pass up the eggs. Eggs are one of the most inexpensive forms of protein. Pass up processed meats, such as hot dogs and lunch meat as these don’t provide much nutrition and usually have a lot of sodium.
- Don’t drink your budget. Soft drinks, alcohol and other drinks can eat away at your budget. Drink water, milk and fruit juice to save your health and your budget. While Kool-aid and similar beverages seem inexpensive, they have very little nutritional value and you have to consider the cost of adding in sugar.
- Shop around. Many national grocery stores offer price match guarantees. This means that you can scour the sale ads from other grocers in the area and bring the ad to the store with the price match guarantee to get the same price without having to drive all around town.
- Eat out for less. If you choose to eat out, do so infrequently and choose items that include a generous portion of pasta, salad or vegetables. Order off the appetizer menu or kid's menu when possible.