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budgetAs I spoke about yesterday we talked about how expensive unhealthy food can be.  It seems everywhere you turn you hear just how “expensive” it is to eat healthy.  I am here to tell you today that doesn’t have to be true.

Look, as a mom of 6 kids and a family on a tight budget I know how even the slightest adjustment to the budget can put you in the negative.  So when we went into this lifestyle change to eat healthy our first scare was money of course.

We always understood the whole “invest in yourself” but we have 4 other little beings as well that also need things like running water, a roof, clothing, heat and of course food too.  So I knew to make eat healthy possible I had to find away to make it fit my budget.

In the beginning I started spending a ton and it wasn’t working for us at all. There HAD to be cut backs.  So here are the tips I have learned that I want to share with you!

Saving Tips to Healthy Eating Do’s and Don’ts:

DON’T: Drive that fast food Lane! It’s been proven that we are a society on the go.  While Fast Food SEEMS cheap and for a single person it might be BUT over all this is a HUGE expense.  I know for us at a family of 6 at just 5 dollars a person we have now spent $30 on food for ONE meal.   This also adds to your food budget because we all know that you also bought groceries that week too!

DO: Buy a lunch cooler!  While this is an added purchase now it saves you a ton later.  By buying a lunch cooler you can now bring food with you to help avoid the munchies while on the go!  Pack it with healthy snacks that will keep your metabolism up and your pocket dollars down!  This also helps for if you ended up going to the grocery store hungry… We all know what a disaster that turns out to be!

DON’T: Think you have to buy everything fresh! While fresh is best you don’t have to buy EVERYTHING fresh.  NOR does everything have to be organic (unless it’s a personal preference) a tip: Soft skin organic (if you choose) Hard skin you can skip Also keep in mind Fresh first, Frozen second and Canned Third.

DO: Buy on Sale!  Or better yet if you are a Walmart shopper make sure you price match.  You don’t even need an AD anymore to do so.  Just write down on a piece of paper the Item and sale amount and your cashier will do the rest!  I also plan my meals based on sales.  This saves a ton!

DON’T: Buy DIET food! These cost a ton and for the most part please, I ask you, raise your hand if one of these have EVER filled you up with just ONE entrée?

DO: Premake Your Lunches! Instead of that microwave dinner (blah!) take a day and make your lunches OR turn your left overs from the night before into your lunch tomorrow.  It doesn’t even have to be the same thing you had the night before just like I did in my post from yesterday! Change it up!

DON’T: Get Discouraged…. If at first it costs you more take a look at what you are buying to see where you can tweak it.  If it means you guy frozen chicken instead of fresh one week then do so.  If you need to buy a ton of chicken on sale than do it.  If you find that can green beans at .78 cents a can is just better than a 1.00 something fresh go for it! The point is you are making efforts to eating healthier!

DO: Keep it SIMPLE!  You don’t need to make grand meals.  A couple of key things to keep on hand are fresh herbs (believe me these are worth the expense! they don’t compare to dried and give your food a TON of flavor with out added preservatives!).  Eggs…. Eggs are simple, cheap and packed with protein.  We always keep eggs in the house!

DON’T: Buy a Ton of New Foods:  I Highly suggest trying new foods, there are a ton of veggies and probably fruits you have never tried.  But don’t feel you have to start buying tofu, or spaghetti squash to be healthy!  If you are like me sometimes these end up just sitting in your fridge and go bad (which is now money you wasted!)

DO: Pick A New Food: Find one new food each shopping trip to try.   As Yo Gabba Says Just try it, You’ll like it!  Okay so you may not.  But buying new things slow and easy helps you learn what you like and what you don’t without costing you alot of money.  There some great recipes out there and don’t forget to ask your friends too!

DON’T: Shop at Whole Foods: Look if you can find this in your budget ALL Power to you!  But for the most of us on a budget this won’t be in your budget. Believe me we have tried.  But, don’t fear there is hope.  There are several items I have found at Whole foods that are sold at your local grocery store for WAY less!  So don’t think because you are shopping at Kroger you can’t get good healthy foods just like you do at the Whole Foods store!

DO: Check out your local Farmers market: This can be a great family trip.  You will love it, your kids will love it AND its great exercise.  At a Farmers Market you can buy in bulk, Fresh and you are supporting your community while saving money!  Buying in bulk where you can will save you quiet a bit of money just make sure you properly care for your fruits and veggies and don’t forget it’s okay to freeze them too!

DON’T:  Say Impossible! Eating healthy on a Budget IS possible.  We are living proof of it.  Remember when you are shopping in the store to use the outer premises.  The store is usually a big square most of your good stuff will be on the outside of the square not in the isles.  Stay away from most of your isles and watch out for those end isles too those tends to have bad foods on them too.  Also be careful with a lot of low-fat products normally, to make something low-fat they added stuff so it still wouldn’t taste bad!  READ YOUR LABLES and Remember the keep it simple.  Think meats, veggies, and fruits!

DO: Use that money you are saving and treat yourself!  But not with food.  Buy some new clothes, or better yet, Join a gym!  Take a Dance Class!  Do something active.  Instead of taking your family to a restaurant take them out somewhere and use the money for active things instead of food.  Grab your cooler, pack a lunch and make a day of fun!

The choices are endless really.  I suggest google, I personally hit google hard daily.  There are a ton of ideas on there.  Pinterest is another awesome site to utilize.  Ask your friends for help!  Just get active in your life but know that doing so doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg.  And Remember YOU CAN DO THIS!