When you’re on a tight budget, preparing healthy meals that don’t taste like cardboard may seem like an impossible goal. But healthy eating doesn’t have to be expensive! As part of RediClinic’s Weigh Forward® weight management program, we stress the importance of diet and nutrition in achieving healthy weight loss and improving overall health. Here are 10 smart tips from our experts that will help you stretch your grocery dollars while eating well.
- Eat at home and brown-bag your lunches. By cooking budget recipes at home and packing lunches rather than dining out, you’ll cut costs and have complete control of what you eat. The average American household spends $2,620 per year on restaurant meals. Eating out one or two fewer times per week could save you $15-25 per week.
- Cook meals from scratch. Home-cooked food is healthier because it contains more fresh ingredients and fewer fats, preservatives and processed items. Limit or cut out your intake of unhealthy processed foods such as soda, cookies and prepackaged meals.
- Learn to prepare freezer-friendly, make-ahead dishes. It saves time to cook once and eat multiple times. Meals prepared in advance help you to avoid the temptation to eat out when you don’t have time to cook.
- Keep a meal planner and updated fridge and pantry lists. Look at your pantry before heading to the grocery store. Take inventory of what you have and incorporate those ingredients into a plan for a week’s worth of meals.
- Cross-reference your shopping list with #4. By knowing what you need at the store to prepare the meals you have planned, you will make fewer impulse purchases and stay within your budget.
- Think seasonal. Fresh fruits and vegetables that are in season will be the most inexpensive items on your shopping list. Seasonal foods are also fresher, tastier and more nutritious.
- Eat more plants. The healthiest diets are loaded with vegetables, fruits, beans and grains, and short on fatty meat, fish and dairy.
- Get creative with your proteins. Beans, eggs and whole grains are excellent sources of protein and cost far less than meat. Also try reducing the amount of meat you use when cooking, and buy meat in bulk to save on the cost.
- Buy these in bulk: freezables, pantry staples and meal bases with long shelf lives. These items are the building blocks of healthy, cook-at-home meals.
- Buy generic. Shopping for store brands of cooking staples and produce, among other items, means an average savings of 30 percent.
Find Your Weigh Forward® at a RediClinic Walk-In Clinic
RediClinic is the leading medical clinic in Texas and many other metropolitan areas. Find a RediClinic near you to enroll in Weigh Forward, the first third-party weight loss program to earn certification by the American College of Preventive Medicine (ACPM).