Member Comments for the Article:

Eating Healthy on a Budget

Save Money Without Sacrificing Quality


4/14/2010 11:13:01 AM

Personally, I prefer to meal plan by the month - it relieves a lot of stress. I try and shop just once a week and stick to the list. My family has favorites that I rotate in so we all are happy about our supper time. Sprouts is a great place to buy produce if it is available in your area. I also use a lot of spices when cooking, cumin is a family favorite as well as smoked paprika and italian seasoning.
3/31/2010 8:47:16 AM

WHEREIS170's SparkPage
I don't buy junk food or prepackaged products anymore. They are full of too many preservatives and salt. I have changed my grocery habits to getting only what will get me thru 5 days. I also have a standard list of spices I keep on hand to add flavor and better taste to simple receipies. My favorite one is "Smoked Paprika". It is great on everything. I use Thyme alot on pork and chicken. Yum
4/15/2009 12:59:27 PM

I only eat out about once a month, when I meet up with friends for dinner. I rarely buy takeaways, as they are high in cost, fat, salt & calories. I live on my own, so I tend to batch cook at the weekends, portion out the meals and freeze them for later on during the week, so that I don't end up eating the same thing 4 days in a row. I make 2 or 3 dishes to give myself a bit of variety, plus soup for lunch, which is low in cost & calories.

I always make a list before I go shopping and try not to impulse buy, as I don't like wasting food. I usually buy generic brands (or whatever is on offer - BOGOFs, 3 for 2, etc), although there are some items where I prefer a named brand. For those items, I buy them in bulk when they are on offer. I like to shop at Lidl, which is often a little cheaper than Tesco or Morrisons. I'm also Queen of the "Reduced for Quick Sale" aisle, and will buy meat, bread and veggies that can be frozen or will keep in the fridge for a few days until I can use them.

It isn't necessary to eat low quality meals just because you are on a budget. With a little careful planning and preparation you can eat healthily without breaking the bank.
4/14/2009 8:47:51 PM

FSOFINDY's SparkPage
I shop Aldi's and hit the farmers markets in the summer for great savings on produce and fruit in season. I also get fantastic savings at every week shopping at Krogers and Meijers using coupons for so many healthy, nutritious foods that are on sale that week. It always saves me a ton of money and I rarely spend more than $50 each week and sets me up for at least a whole weeks' worth of meals. I also buy items in bulk when on sale which saves so much money (even certain fruits and veggies for freezing). I also freeze leftover meals, for quick, nutritious lunches, dinners and snacks.
4/14/2009 6:41:25 PM

BUNLUV2's SparkPage
I always plan my family's meals at least a week ahead and only buy missing ingredients. I try to buy larger things, like a turkey, roast or canned beans that will definitely have left overs. That way, I can prepare them for a big Sunday dinner and add leftovers to homemade soup (I make at least one pot every week), casseroles, quiches or sandwiches. If we don't want to eat the same thing all week, I freeze the meals and have them another day. I also make sure to freeze and can lots of produce in the fall. I don't have a garden, but use local u-pick, organic gardens. This way I always have healthy vegetables handy.

I use sparkrecipes and allrecipes all the time, so we hardly ever have something more than once or twice every few months. Unless it's a favourite of course.
4/14/2009 2:10:14 PM

Indeed I agree that the "Sav-a-lot" store is great for stretching your dollars! You may have to box your own items at check-out, but the savings are really great. For instance, I can buy the large can of coffee, McDaniel brand, for less than four dollars. I was a vacation guest in Florida when my hostess served this wonderful coffee. I asked the brand, and she told me "McDaniel" coffee from Sav-a-lot. This was a great discovery for me and I was happy to find this store in my area! I learned comparison shopping from my father....He loved quality at a good price. He would take us to the salvage stores, and he would always teach us thrift without waste. His wise shopping did not include junk food. Mom baked our treats like gingerbread and apple-betty!

Thanks for the great information we receive here!
4/14/2009 12:59:03 PM

.. I menu plan and go once a week, always on a Tuesday. i buy the fresh priduce and plans meals around them then use the forzen or can iteams the rest of the week.
3/19/2009 12:27:41 PM

MARVGRRL's SparkPage
I think that shopping at the local farmer's market has saved me a lot of money on my produce. I usually eat at least 5 servings of fruit or veggies before dinner, so I got through a lot of produce. I've spent less than $10 on an entire week's worth of food on average. If there is a farmer's market near you, it's worth a look. Also shopping with a plan of what exactly you are going to eat is a good idea. What's the use in buying a vegetable on sale if you're not actually going to use it?
3/19/2009 12:22:30 PM

By not buying any junk food , I now have the extra to spend on quality foods. I do buy my veggies frozen and frozen fruit is a wonderful snack.

It takes a little work to plan out and buy for healthier meals but we are worth the extra effort, aren't we?
3/9/2009 11:56:21 AM

POPSYKLE's SparkPage
I am working my way into this mind set. I tried before to shop healthy and the bill was double a regular shop. I almost had a heart attack at the register. So I went back to the regular. But a big part of it was buying the big brand names that cost a lot such as Kashi items, Healthy Choice, & South Beach. I'm starting to realize that you don't have to buy those brands for things to be healthy. It can be because of the way you prepare things as well.
I have to say that I am starting to believe that some of the nations obesity problems have come from the convenience foods - processed and ready to eat. The settlers used to eat potatos and meat and they weren't necessarily fat from it. But I do think that there are people who are more prone to gain the weight.
I also will buy extra when I find items at a discount. For example, the red and yellow peppers were marked down by $.65 because they were going to go bad soon. I bought a bunch, chopped them, and put them in the freezer. I do the same with onions.
1/13/2009 7:12:00 PM

I adore thrift bakeries. Who cares if the bread loaves are a little shorter than they should be? Also, if you decide you must have some kind of junk food, a $0.25 misshapen Twinkie makes a lot more financial sense than a $0.50 one.
1/1/2009 2:50:21 AM

EDAMOMMY's SparkPage
Hmm - I think our ideas of "budget" differ, SparkPeople. (Mine's smaller. ^_^) For myself, I rely on sales at the local grocery and markdowns - most grocery stores seem to have an area where they keep greatly reduced items - scratch and dents, as well as discontinued items. It helps also to know when your grocery reduces costs on perishables to get rid of overbuys - I got a fantastic deal on avocados today as I was there at the right time, for instance. Less processed food, such as dried beans, are as a rule much cheaper.
8/13/2008 12:01:51 AM

I agree, the Farmer's Market is a great place to get fresh (and cheap) produce. I'm also learning to stretch meat by using just two chicken breasts to feed my family of four...I just make a stir fry or a casserole and add lots more veggies and rice or pasta. We're also eating lots more beans which give us healthy, low-fat protein and lots of fiber. I agree that eating healthy is actually cheaper, not to mention all of the long term cost savings that you get with a healthy lifestyle by avoiding major medical expenses and fad diets!
7/27/2008 9:07:06 AM

I agree with someone else who said that junk food is expensive. Over all if you compare things, fruit and veggies aren't any more expensive than chips, pop, ice cream, cookies. My family is trying hard not to eat out. We just started this a week ago! I'm sure we will see a big difference in our wallet, not to mention our waistlines!
7/24/2008 8:01:17 AM

I've found that since I don't by any fruit juice, canned pop, chocolate, or other empty calories, and I buy less food, I can afford to splurge on better quality food.

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