How to Eat Well for Less Money
It’s easy and convenient to sit in a drive-thru, order food and swipe a credit card. However, those fast food meals might seem cheap, but they add up very quickly. Plus, there’s no reason to purchase unhealthy junk food when you can make delicious gourmet meals at home for a fraction of the price. Adopt these ideas in order to eat well for less.
Fruit is nature’s candy. It’s healthy, sweet and most people love it. In order to eat filling servings of fruit, you’ll want to stick with what’s in season and also consider the options that tend to be the cheapest. Bananas are always the cheapest fruit to choose from. They go well in smoothies and add creaminess. They also work perfectly on top of cereal. They can also serve as a snack on their own.
Berries tend to be pretty inexpensive when you purchase them in a frozen state. The same concept applies to pineapples. Visit your local farmer’s market to check out the sales on seasonal fruit as well. Sometimes, the peaches, mangos and apples are incredibly inexpensive. Consider purchasing a large watermelon during the summer months. Cut it up into small chunks and enjoy a watermelon salad. A watermelon will easily last a few days.
When it comes to vegetables, it’s best to gather a mix of both fresh and frozen vegetables. Typically, vegetables like broccoli, brussel sprouts and carrots tend to be cheaper when they’re in the frozen section. Keep in mind that when it’s frozen, it’s at the peak of its nutritional value. Don’t assume that you’re missing out on nutrients because the vegetable is frozen. Corn, mixed vegetables, green beans and green peas tend to go a long way as well. Instead of purchasing a fresh onion, purchase frozen chopped onions for cooking. You can saute, bake or fry with the amount you need and freeze the rest. Green, leafy vegetables are important to purchase for their fibrous content.
While the frozen options are available, the fresh options tend to be better for salads and smoothies. Kale and spinach tend to be the most versatile and nutrient-dense green, leafy vegetables. They’re also the least expensive. Depending on the grocery store, kale can easily be $1 for a pound. While spinach tends to wilt easily after it’s cooked, kale doesn’t have the same effect. Saute a large bowl of kale and it’ll be incredibly filling.
If you’d like to enjoy inexpensive meat, it’s best to purchase chicken, beef, ground turkey and certain cuts of lamb. You can easily make chicken a number of ways and enjoy as an entree. Add it to casserole dishes to make it stretch more. Use ground beef or turkey to make delicious homemade meatballs. Mix the ground meat with herbs, spices and egg. Fry or bake the meatballs and serve it with tomato sauce, spaghetti and a side of vegetables.
It’s also possible to purchase specific cuts of lamb at inexpensive prices like the lamb shank. The best and most efficient way to cook lamb is in a soup. Make a giant pot of lentil soup. Potatoes are pretty inexpensive. Peel and cut up a few potatoes to add to the mix. Add spices as well. Once you’ve cleaned and seasoned the lamb, cut it up and place it in the soup to continue cooking. The flavor of lamb will add a delightful twist to a lentil soup. Plus, the lamb chunks mixed with potatoes will be divine. Serve the lentil soup with a slice of bread and herbed butter for a delectable and inexpensive comfort meal.
4. Nuts, Grains, Seeds, Cereals
If you are a vegan or vegetarian, chances are you are very familiar with preparing nuts, grains and seeds for various meals. If you purchase them in a regular grocery store, they will cost a pretty penny. However, these foods are very healthy and beneficial for everyone. In order to eat well and still purchase these foods, it’s best to be strategic. Visit local health food marts that sell these items in bulk. They tend to be a lot cheaper this way. In fact, if you purchase the amount you’ll need, chances are you’ll spend a fraction of the price of a normal size in the regular grocery store.
It’s also wise to consider which options will give you healthy kick you’re looking for. Chia seeds and flax seeds are filled with fiber, but chia seeds have a lot more health benefits. Add two teaspoons of chia seeds to a smoothie and it’ll keep the belly feeling full for a longer period of time. Cereals tend to be pretty inexpensive. To keep costs low, stick with oatmeal. It’s healthy, filling and can still be delicious. Make a pot of oatmeal. Add some brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Top the oatmeal with bananas or frozen blueberries and you won’t miss out on flavor.
5. Snacks, Desserts
If you or anyone in your household has a sweet tooth, snacks and desserts are essential items. Pick up the boxed cake and brownie mixes. All you’ll need is a little bit of oil and a few eggs to make a delicious cake or set of brownies to enjoy for the week. In most grocery stores, the boxed dessert mix is typically under $2. Snacks like chips tend to run pretty high. Instead, purchase popcorn kernels and make your own popcorn at home. A standard bag of popcorn kernels isn’t more than $3. A 1/4 cup of popcorn kernels will result in a huge bowl of popcorn. Season it with salt, garlic and other seasonings. Melt a tablespoon of butter to drizzle on top. You’ll be able to enjoy a fun snack that tastes even better than the kind at the movie theater.
There are so many ways to cut corners and eat well for less. Don’t forget to take advantage of coupons. If you coupon correctly, you can easily get a lot of packaged foods for free and stockpile. Sure, it might take a little bit of research in the beginning, but over time, you’ll get the hang of it. Plus, you’ll have a lot more money in your pocket to save!