Everybody wants to live a healthy lifestyle these days.  Part of a healthy lifestyle is keeping fit, but its also eating healthy.  Lets face it, eating healthy can cost a ton of money, but it doesn’t have to, if you follow some basic rules and guidelines.  Stores like Trader Joe’s and Earthfare offer a wide variety of budget conscious choices, while going easy on the wallet.

Here are our top tips for eating healthy on a budget:

1. Buy Whole Foods. Unprocessed foods are cheaper and more nutritious than processed foods. They also give you total control over the ingredients. Avoid anything that comes from a box 90% of the time. Proteins. Ground beef, frozen chicken breast, tuna cans, calves’ liver, cottage cheese, plain yogurt, eggs, milk, whey, … Carbs. Pasta, rice, oats, potatoes, beans, apples, bananas, raisins, broccoli, spinach, cabbage, … Fats. Olive oil, fish oil, flax seeds, real butter, and mixed nuts.

2. Buy Cheap Proteins. You need 1g protein per pound of body-weight per day to build and maintain muscle. Eating whole protein with each meal also helps fat loss as protein has a higher thermic effect than other foods. Keep the steaks & salmon for special occasions. Buy eggs, milk, whey, mackerel, tuna, calves liver, frozen chicken breast, cottage cheese.

3. Buy Frozen Fruits & Veggies. Unfreeze berries in microwave and eat warm with cottage cheese. Put frozen spinach in a colander the night before and try one of these recipes the next day. Try also frozen beans & broccoli. Benefits: Save Money. Often half the price of fresh. Almost infinite shelf life when kept in freezer. And you can buy in bulk to get more discount. Save Time. Frozen fruits & veggies are pre-washed and pre-cut, which saves preparation time. Time is money. Nutrient Dense. If frozen right when picked, frozen fruits & veggies can contain more nutrients than fresh ones.

4. Buy Generic Food. And store brands. Raw foods like rice, pasta, eggs, milk, cottage cheese, frozen fruits/veggies,taste like brand name foods once you get used to them. But they’ll save you money on packaging & advertising.

5. Buy Supplements. They’re cheap and make your life easier, however whole food is better. You can use supplements, but make sure the bulk of your diet consists of whole, unprocessed foods. Whey. Cheapest protein you’ll find. 1 scoop ON whey is 24g protein/30g serving. At 2 scoops/day, a 10lbs bag will last 10 weeks for 84,99$. Fish Oil. Cheaper than fish. 1tsp Carlson Fish Oil is 1600mg omega-3. At 1tsp/day, 1 bottle will last 40 days for 23,04$. Multi-vitamins. Vitamin deficiency is common. 1 bottle AST Multi Pro 32x contains 100 servings and will last 6 weeks for 17.03$.

6. Buy in Bulk. Especially when you have promos running. Foods like pasta, rice and oats are easy to stockpile. If they’re on sale, buy as much as you can afford & store to last you until the next sale. More ideas. Side of Beef. Not necessarily cheaper, but you have better quality meat. Buying a side of beef gets you 100lbs meat at 3,60$/lbs. Supplements. You often get free shipping and discounts when buying in bulk. Make a 4 month order for you, friends & family and split the costs. Frozen Fruits & Veggies.

7. Buy In Season Fruits & Veggies. Food grown in season tastes better and is cheaper. Root vegetables in the Winter. Apples & squash in the Fall. Broccoli & berries in the Summer.

8. Visit Your Local Farmer’s Market.  I have been getting some great deals at my local farmers market, now it is not always the cheapest but I have been able to find some great organics and at the end of the day they sometimes even drop the price so they do not have to take things back.

9. Drink Lots of Water.  Since January 1st, I have decided to cut out all pop/soda (depending on your area).  For me that is a huge win right there! Now I find myself actually drinking water. I brought a Brita Water pitcher and it filters my tap water which is a good thing. It’s cheaper than bottled water and soda. When I crave the carbonation I use buy LaCroix sparkling water.  It has natural flavor with no artificial sweeteners, and tastes great, while satisfying my need for soda.

What other ideas do you have on how to save money, while eating healthy?

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