How To Eat Healthy Even On A Budget

A new report shed light on how most Americans are inclined to choose less healthy food options due to cost. It was suggested processed foods offered more calories at a lesser price, especially compared to fruits and vegetables that are not subsidized by the United States government.

However, with a little effort, it is possible to enjoy a healthy diet without burning a hole in your pocket.

Stick to a grocery list 

Merely writing down a grocery list, which sounds rather simple, is surprisingly effective in maintaining how much you spend. Having your diet down in written form helps you visualize what you're putting into your body. Taking it a step further, this also helps categorize the list based on nutrients to make sure you're getting a good balance of proteins, vitamins, and iron, among other essentials. By sticking to a list, you can slowly condition yourself against making too many impulse purchases.

Opt for bulk purchases 

Many foods are significantly cheaper when bought in larger quantities and in frozen states.

“People should feel comfortable that if they're buying frozen fruits and vegetables, as long as there's no added fats and sugars, they're providing adequate nutrition for their families,” said  Keri Gans, past-spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Of course, if you live with friends, a grocery membership to make bulk purchases can provide access to discounts and saving offers.

Reduce or replace meat

Meat consumption can have a harmful impact on the environment. So you could be saving your money as well as the planet by reducing or eliminating meat from your diet. Beans, eggs, quinoa can be consumed as alternative sources of protein, which helps the body maintain a healthy weight and repair tissues.

Switch out over processed snacks for superfoods

While there isn't any scientific definition for superfoods, the popular term typically refers to ingredients rich in nutrients. Some examples include spinach, kale, baked beans, sweet potatoes, and whole grains.

Many superfoods are surprisingly affordable and can be used as a nutritious substitute for over-processed foods such as chips and soda. Scientists have warned highly processed foods are associated with the risk of cancer, inducing cravings and addictive symptoms similar to that of a hard drug

Ashley Gearhardt, a clinical psychology professor at the University of Michigan, highlights this addictive quality in Cheetos: "It’s something that has been engineered so that it is fattier and saltier and more novel to the point where our body, brain, and pleasure centers react to it more strongly than if we were eating, say, a handful of nuts."

Repurpose leftovers

Using leftovers is an effective but underutilized tactic, especially for working individuals. Leftover portions from meals such as salads, pasta, vegetables, soups, and stews can easily be reused as ingredients or warmed up for use for the following meal.

PM Dining Critic Hal B. Klein recently shared some tips in a recipe for a leftover vegetable soup.

"There are straightforward ways to reduce food waste such as weekly menu planning and using proper storage methods," he said. "Plus, if possible, we all should make an effort to compost scraps, peels and the occasional rotting piece of produce rather than throwing them in the garbage."