We’ve heard it before: “I’d love to eat for my goals, but eating healthy is expensive.”
Yes, maybe if you’re buying a cart full of organic produce and protein from Whole Foods, things are going to get a little pricey, but there are absolutely ways to ball on a budget when it comes to how you eat.
BUY BUDGET-FRIENDLY GROCERIES
While we encourage a varied diet of healthy, whole food, we have to come to terms with the fact that some protein/produce is just more expensive than others. On the weeks where we’re really being budget conscious, this is what the grocery list looks like:
Boneless/skinless chicken thighs (average $2.28 per pound)
Lean ground beef (average $2.25 per pound)
Potatoes (average $0.56 per pound)
Rice (frozen from Trader Joe’s and it’s around $3.49/box)
Broccoli (average $1.64 per head)
Zucchini (average of $1.86 per pound)
So you just mix and match. Lunch could be chicken thighs, rice, and zucchini. Dinner lean ground beef over potatoes with a side of broccoli. You can add fats as need (olive oil, butter, etc.) and you’re done! Easy to track and easy on the wallet.
BUY ORGANIC WHEN IT MATTERS
While people encourage all-organic-everything, sometimes that just isn’t in the budget. But there are other certain produce where buying organic matters more, and others less.
Here’s the full list of EWG’s “Dirty Dozen” for 2019 (aka things you should try to buy organic):
For its “Clean Fifteen,” EWG selected the following (aka things you don’t necessarily have to buy organic):
- Sweet corn
- Sweet peas (frozen)
NOTE: It’s typically better to eat non-organic produce than to eat processed junk, so don’t feel pressure to buy organic if it’s not in the budget.
BUY THINGS WHEN THEY ARE ON SALE
I mean…duh. Almost every local grocer is going to run weekly specials, so sign up for their newsletter or pick up their flyer and write your grocery list based on what deals they’ve got going on that week.
Maybe grass-fed flank steak usually isn’t in the budget, but if you buy it when it’s on sale, then the possibilities are endless. Just a little bit of strategy will allow you to have variety in your diet, eat some of the things you love, and do so without breaking the bank.
USE YOUR FREEZER
Piggybacking off our last point, when things are on sale, consider buying them in bulk and freezing them. This doesn’t apply to everything, obviously (we imagine frozen kale isn’t super delicious), but when that grass-fed flank is on sale, definitely load up.
Also, freeze leftovers! Prepped too much for the week? Freeze it so you can use it another time. What freezes well? Unfortunately there’s no definitive answer but generally the following does okay in the freezer: soups, raw meat, raw seafood, broth, bread, cookies, tortillas, cheese, pesto, butter, cooked beans, cooked rice, cooked pasta, and some veggies.
And if you have fruit that’s about to go bad, wash and freeze them so you can use them for morning smoothies, smoothie bowls, or “nice” cream.
DOWNLOAD OUR FREE E-BOOK
Huh? Yeah. Obviously we believe in the value of nutrition coaching but what if a nutrition coach isn’t in the budget? Our goal is to provide as much value to you whether you’re a paying client or not, so we try to provide tons of free resources to help everyone look and feel their best. Our blog is a hub for that, but if you need more individualized help, download our free e-book “Macros: A Piece of Cake”. You’ll learn how many calories you should be eating for your goals, what your macros should look like, what to eat before and after your workouts, and more!