There's a huge myth that healthy equals expensive. Here are six tips to help you eat right and stay on budget.
"It's too expensive to eat healthy!" This myth coupled with the busyness of raising children and rushing to and from work has caused many families to live most days in the drive thru lane.
However, with a little creativity, it is possible to make healthy eating easy, inexpensive and enjoyable. Here's how.
1. Shop in Season: The key to saving money on produce is to buy it fresh and in season. Then, freeze and/or can the items for the remainder of the year. Produce can be nearly half the price while it's in season which can lead to drastic savings.
Bottom Line: Stock up and save!
2. Shop Around the Sales: Check out sales flyers that highlight the week's best deals, which will often include healthy meals, produce and much more. Be sure to check online as well—some stores will let you search circulars at stores nearest to you (you know, like Food Lion's Weekly Specials does). Simply shop for the week around these items and you'll save money instantly while also learning fun, unique meals to make with your new finds.
Bottom Line: Read 'em and you'll stop weeping over prices.
3. Plan Ahead: Menu planning is key to saving time and money no matter what you might be purchasing. If you think about your meals ahead of time, you'll be less likely to act on impulse, picking up unnecessary items or forgetting needed items at the store. Simply take a little time at the beginning of the week to think through meals and snacks—then, make your grocery list. Or, to make it even easier, check to see if your store allows you to create a shopping list on their website.
Bottom Line: Plan to save.
4. Use Coupons: Did you know there are coupons for healthy foods, too? Many companies offer great money saving coupons, covering produce, meat and organic and specialty foods. For instance, Food Lion's MVP Program constantly offers you chances to save—in-store markdowns, a weekly savings email, the ability to load coupons to your card, and more.
Or, call your favorite companies and ask if they have any available coupons, many will mail them to you directly!
Bottom Line: Clipping coupons will clip dollars off your food bill.
5. Make Meals from Scratch: Skip costly prepared meals and make meals for your family from scratch. By purchasing your items around sale prices and stocking up on good deals, you'll have plenty on hand to prepare a meal. Plus, you'll know exactly what you're putting on your plate for your family—no more hard-to-read labels or complicated ingredients.
Bottom Line: A little extra effort goes a long way dollars and cents-wise.
6. Prepare Meals & Snacks: Take a little time to prepare healthy meals in advance, divide them up and store them in meal containers to make it easy to grab a healthy meal when you're in a hurry. It's also a good idea to cut up your fruits and place them in easy-to-grab containers for on-the-go snacking. Since most of us eat unhealthy foods because we're in a hurry, preparing meals and snacks ahead of time will make it less likely for you to grab an unhealthy option.