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Planning Ahead is Key to Eating Healthy on a Budget

eating healthy on budget
With a bit of careful planning it is to follow a healthy diet.

There's a common misconception that it is expensive to follow a healthy diet plan that requires you to eat specific foods. Consequently, many people believe they cannot afford to eat the kinds of foods that would help them reach their health goals. However, with a little bit of careful planning, you can follow your favorite diet plan without breaking the bank. Here are a few examples of how planning ahead can allow you to eat healthy on a tight budget:

1. Make a Meal Plan Once a Week

One of the best ways to keep your grocery bill within your budget is to sit down once a week and plan out all meals for that week. Include breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner. If you're planning to eat out on some days, take that into account as well. For meal ideas that fit your health goals, browse the relevant recipe directory on (scroll down and click on your condition or disease in the blue menu bar at the bottom of this page).

2. Plan your Grocery List Around Sales

Before creating a weekly grocery list, pick up a copy of the local newspaper on a day that grocery ads run. A glance at the newspaper will tell you where the good deals are that week. For additional deals, visit local grocery stores' websites and check out their flyers. Include items that are on sale in your grocery list, provided that they are also part of your eating plan (you don't want to buy junk food just because it's on sale).

3. Include In-Season Foods in Your List

It's tempting to buy fresh berries in winter, but if you're trying to eat healthy on a budget, stick to seasonal foods to the extent that is possible. Not only are fresh fruit and vegetables cheapest when they are in season, they are usually also tastier and often more nutrient-dense when purchased in season. The seasonal food charts included in many of the condition-specific nutrition guides on this website (see list of conditions and diseases in the blue menu bar at the bottom of this page) can help you decide which seasonal foods you want to put into your cart on your next visit to the grocery store.

4. Organize Your Coupons

Use coupons when planning your weekly grocery list. They can really help keep your grocery shopping within budget, while allowing you to have ample healthy food on hand. Look for coupons online or in promotional flyers you receive by mail. You may also want to consider joining a valued customer program which allows you to receive automatic discounts and coupons.

If you clip coupons, it is important to keep them organized so you can easily go through your coupon archive when doing the weekly planning. And, before you head to the supermarket, make sure you paper-clip the coupons to your grocery list so you won't forget them at home.

5. Stick to Your Shopping List

Even a good plan is worth nothing if you don't stick to it, so be sure to only buy items that are included in your shopping list. Buying food that you won't need is a waste of money. If you are prone to impulse buying, here's a tip for you: avoid grocery shopping when you are hungry. Walking through a grocery store with your stomach growling can make you vulnerable to buying unhealthy snacks.

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