15 Tips For Shopping And Cooking Healthy On A Budget
Eat well at home without spending a fortune.
Are you trying to cook and eat healthier in 2019? If so, you’re not alone. That’s why we asked the BuzzFeed community to tell us about their best tips and tricks for cooking healthy meals on a budget. Here are some of their responses.
1. Strategically order groceries online.
“I live within a mile of both Walmart and Target, but instead of shopping in stores, I use their free grocery pick-up service. You order online, schedule your pickup time, and your groceries are delivered to your car when you arrive. This allows me to buy only what I need without getting distracted by the junk foods I would typically grab while trying to shop healthy.” — gracem409ffc0f8
2. Always make a grocery list.
“I always find recipes and make a grocery list before I even think about going to the grocery store. I look for recipes that require only a few ingredients, and I try to buy ingredients I can use in more than one meal. In addition to keeping me focused while shopping, trying new recipes also gets me excited about meal prepping and eating at home. — patriciacastro1174
3. Think about leftovers strategically.
“When I cook dinner, I think about what will stay good for lunch the next day. I make recipes that will stay fresh and last on my commute. That way, I’m not tempted to turn to delivery.” — samanthal4a097a646
4. Try cutting out meat from your diet.
“Eating vegan at home was one of the best things I could have started doing for my budget and health. I don’t buy pre-made or imitation products, so I rely on fresh veggies and fruit. I’ve saved a lot of money from cutting out meat, eggs, or dairy. And I feel better helping to promote a more sustainable lifestyle. — rachels4674e6161
5. Stock up on cheap pantry staples.
“I always make sure I have some affordable staple foods on hand like potatoes, oats, beans, and grains. You can cook them with whatever vegetables and spices you like best for a filling meal.” — kristinm42bb99942
6. Stick to the perimeter aisles of the grocery store.
My rule is only shop the perimeter of the grocery store, not the inner aisles. Every grocery store is basically set up the same way with the processed foods in the inner aisles and the whole foods (produce, proteins, dairy) along the sides. If you aren’t filling your cart with things like cookies and Spaghetti-Os, you can spend your budget on healthy foods. — rachelsporyh
7. Take advantage of local farmers markets.
“A big money saver for me is buying local produce from the farmers market. The fruits and vegetables are always very fresh and they seem to last the extra few days, too, since they aren’t transported across states.” — phor89
8. Rely on rotisserie chicken.
“I usually buy a rotisserie chicken from somewhere like Sams, Costco or Walmart for around $5. Throughout the week, I shred every bit from it and use the meat to make chicken salad, enchiladas, homemade soups, and more. One rotisserie chicken can easily last me three to five meals.” amandar4baeb4f23
9. Plan easy, weeknight meals in advance.
“As a single mother, I’ve found that when I don’t plan for healthy, simple weeknight meals, I’ll end up at McDonald’s. I buy easy to prepare ingredients from Costco like tilapia and frozen dumplings and pair them with fresh vegetables for a no-fuss but delicious meal. — jessicab45bac3e5e
10. Save and freeze veggie to make bone broth.
“I save my vegetable scraps like carrot tops, potato peels, ends of squash, fresh and herb stems, and I freeze them . When I make a whole chicken, I pick all the meat off and boil it with the frozen vegetable scraps to make delicious bone broth. You can do the same with beef bones too.” — Rebecca Lynn, Facebook
11. Experiment with cheaper cuts of meat.
“My whole life, I’d been making boneless skinless chicken breasts. One day, I decided to try cooking bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs in a cast iron skillet, and they were incredible (not to mention way cheaper than chicken breasts). Now they’re my go-to when cooking chicken at home. Whatever your favorite kind of meat, talk to your local butcher for a budget-friendly alternative and give it a try. It might surprise you.” — Hannah Loewentheil, BuzzFeed
12. Meal prep like a pro.
“Meal prepping is a total life saver. When I meal prep, I make sure to account for a few easy, speedy meals. That way, when I’m feeling lazy I won’t have an excuse to whip up something unhealthy.” — SophieDizyban
13. Use all your freezer space.
“Stock up on veggies and meat when they’re on sale, then freeze them for later. If you chop up mixed vegetables and freeze them with chicken breast, you have filling, ready-to-make meal whenever you want it.” — pandabear14
“Meal prep your own freezer meals that fit your diet and preferences. This way you’ll have a variety of good options without feeling obligated to eat the same thing several days in a row. I especially like to make big batches of soup with lots of vegetables and lean meats.”— Gunklet
14. Buy ugly produce.
“I get my produce from Imperfect Produce. The produce may have scars or be slightly small, but usually it’s just perfectly good surplus that grocery stores can’t sell. It’s way cheaper than what you’ll find at most grocery stores, and it’s delivered straight to your door. It’s helped me eat way more fruits and veggies and try things I wouldn’t normally buy.” — cristat
15. Diversify where you shop.
“Instead of always sticking to one grocery store, check which stores are having sales on what items and then shop there. You may buy all your food at a discount grocery store like Aldi, but you can get great deals at other places if you check their weekly ads. They’re usually available in the store, in the newspaper, or online.” — c4dd4e8b00