Healthy eating on a budget can be tough because it is costing more now to eat healthily. Nowadays, some of the lowest priced foods such as fast food value meals and cheap potato chips are also some of the least healthy.
Thus, it is important to learn some useful tips to eat healthy within a tight budget. And the good news is that preparing healthy meals doesn’t have to be costly, you just need to have a careful plan.
If you have problems serving healthy foods because of the prices, you will find these tips to be just what you need to eat healthy on a budget.
Step 1 – Your shopping list
Get yourself a shopping list on hand before visiting the supermarket. Shopping without a sense of what you need or don’t need put you in danger of going off budget.
Without a shopping list, you are very likely to buy foods that are very tempting but without much nutrition. So a good tip is to list down everything on a notepad.
Have a quick check in your refrigerator to avoid forgetting things you need. Doing your shopping on your own is the easiest way to shop, as children and sometimes spouses are usually the ones requesting junk food.
Shopping alone will prevent this, and ensure that you only buy the foods you need.
SLOW COOKER CHICKEN ROPA VIEJA
Chicken slowly stewed with tomatoes, peppers, onions, and spices makes this Slow Cooker Chicken Ropa Vieja a versatile favorite.
Total Cost: $7.89 recipe / $1.32 serving
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 4 hrs
Total Time: 4 hrs 15 mins
Servings: 6 (3/4 cup each)
1.5 to 2 lb.s chicken pieces (boneless skinless)
4 cloves garlic
1/2 Tbsp oregano
1 tsp cumin
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
Freshly cracked black pepper
1 medium yellow onion
1 medium green bell pepper
1 medium red bell pepper
1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
3 Tbsp tomato paste
Salt to taste (1/2 to 1 tsp)
1. Trim the chicken pieces of excess fat, if desired.
2. Place the chicken pieces in the bottom of the slow cooker (4qt. or larger).
3. Mince the garlic and add it to the slow cooker. Sprinkle the oregano, cumin, red pepper flakes, and some freshly cracked pepper over the chicken.
4. Slice the onion, green bell pepper, and red bell pepper into strips.
5. Place the onion and bell peppers on top of the chicken in the slow cooker. Add the can of diced tomatoes (with juices) and tomato paste to the slow cooker.
6. The tomato paste can be added in dollops and will be stirred in after cooking.
7. Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for four hours. After four hours, remove the lid and use tongs to stir the contents.
8. Break the chicken into shreds as you stir the slow cooker. If the juices in the slow cooker are too thin, allow the pot to continue simmering on high without the lid for about 15 minutes to reduce the liquid.
9. Taste and season with salt as needed (I added 1/2 tsp).
Serve the ropa in a bowl, over rice, or in a warm tortilla.
Step 2 – Take note of the flyers
Keep a close eye on major food stores about their weekly sales promotion found in the local newspaper. Take advantage of the promotional prices of the healthy foods.
It’s going to save you a great deal in the long run. Besides, it helps to store a pantry full of fresh and nutritious foods at home which is going to last until the next promotion.
In addition, locally grown, in-season fruits and vegetables are normally a bargain than out of season or shipped fruits and vegetables. Another great way of getting great deals for fruits and veggies is going to your local farmers market.
Many towns have at least once a week in a permanent location. Check that out in your town. For example, I got one in my town every Thursday. If I miss this out, I can always go to another local farmer market at a different location every Saturday.
So, you must be conscious all the time if you want to practice healthy eating on a budget.
Step 3 – Main staples stock
Many major groceries will run some sales promotion for the main staple foods such as pasta, flour and rice. So it is a good idea to stock up these essentials when the prices are low because it’s going to stretch your food budget.
But do take note that the way you must store these essentials properly to avoid the pantry moths and flour bugs.
Step 4 – Make full use of coupons
Do make use of coupons when manufacturers give out these kinds of the facility. It’s going to stretch some discounts percentage for you. But be careful not to buy into less healthy foods just because you’re issued with huge coupons.
Step 5 – Read the label carefully
You can get a lot of useful information from the nutritional labels. So read it with care to avoid any less healthy foods. Pay attention to details such as calories & fats, various essential vitamins and minerals.
The expiry date is another important thing. I will always buy products with a later manufactured date if given the same products with different manufactured batch.
Step 6 – Water or milk instead of soft drinks
You can still enjoy your favorite drinks at a sporting event or night out, although you should stick with the smallest size when shopping to save money and calories.
Children and even adults need milk or milk products on a daily basis as this will also help you get strong and provides calcium for healthy bones and healthy teeth.
You should fill up with foods that have a high content of water. Watermelon, salads, and even sugar free gelatin are all great examples. Eating healthy is always something you can’t go wrong with.
You can eat healthy for just a few bucks, which makes it perfect for those on a budget. Now, you don’t need a lot of money to have the lifestyle and health you’ve always wanted.
In conclusion, these tips are going to equip you with greater confidence to feed yourself and your family with much healthier meals. Practice it from now on and I’m sure healthy eating on a budget can be done easily.