Eating healthy doesn’t mean you have to increase your budget. In fact, there are a number of tools and tricks to help you stay on track. Here are our top 4 tips to help you stay on budget and eat healthier this year.
Make a plan (and stick to it)
Having a plan in place before you shop for groceries can help you stay organized, save money and choose healthier options. It’s also a great way to cut back on food waste because you’ll only be buying the items you need.
To get started, create a menu for the week that includes all of your meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks). If you're new to meal planning, it's helpful to keep your meal and snack options fairly simple from day-to-day until you get more comfortable with the process.
After you’ve planned out your meals for the week, start to identify which ingredients you already have on hand and which ones you’ll need to purchase. Make a commitment to stick to your list: avoid buying items just because they're on sale or because they sound good in the moment, and don't grocery shop while you are hungry. This will help ensure that you stick to your meal plan and your budget.
If you’re worried about items that may or may not be available, consider alternatives. For instance, if you are planning to make mashed potatoes, you may want to consider getting a boxed variety if the produce variety is sold out.
Check for coupons or discounts
Most major stores offer digital coupons. Some stores, like King Soopers or Target, will even personalize coupons based on what you most frequently purchase. Once you’ve made your list, check store apps or websites to see if there are any coupons that align with your meal plan. Remember to stick to your list and not buy products based on the coupon. Alternatively, you can adjust your meal plan based on items that are deeply discounted that week.
Swap items to save
There are a number of simple swaps that you can make to help you save a few bucks. Here are a few examples to consider:
Make it yourself
Preparing meals at home is a great way to save money. It’s also a great way to ensure you have healthy, filling options readily available. Need ideas? Check out these cheap and easy meal recipes or these dietitian-approved breakfast options.