Eating Healthy When On a Tight Budget
I graduated from college with $30,000 in student loans. I got married two weeks after graduation but had one more year to survive before I’d see any form of income.
My husband had a fifth year of school to finish, and I had to complete an internship program before I could become a registered dietitian.
Needless to say, life as broke college students continued after college. We read Dave Ramsey’s book “Total Money Makeover” and learned how to set up a budget.
We tracked every penny, which meant we paid a LOT of attention to food prices. Since I had a background in nutrition I knew which foods could get us the best bang for our buck, both nutritionally and financially.
If you’re looking for healthy food that won’t break the budget, I’ll share my top three favorites to help you get started.
1. Peanut butter
Packed with healthy fat and protein, peanut butter helps with satiety, which means you won’t have to rummage through the pantry from starving an hour later.
You can do a variety of things with peanut butter – serve with a banana or apple as a snack, blend into a smoothie or stir into oatmeal.
For the amount of nutrients you get per serving, it sure beats the price of meat!
Be sure to check the ingredient list because many brands add sugar and harmful/damaged hydrogenated oils. Look for a one or two ingredient list: peanuts and salt.
Eggs are one of my favorite forms of protein and I talk them up to clients all the time. For the past four years of marriage, we’ve had eggs for dinner at least twice a week.
They are so versatile and can be served in many ways – hardboiled, scrambled, into an omelette, blend into smoothies, egg salad. The list goes on, so you won’t have to get bored with eating them.
One standard large egg only costs around 15 cents (music to your wallet’s ears)!
Make sure you don’t toss the yolk. It’s a myth that egg yolks raise cholesterol and the yolk actually has many vital nutrients you’d be throwing out.
Fat won’t make you fat. Make this your new mantra.
Fat is essential and helps stabilize our blood sugar when we eat carbohydrates (eating too many carbs leads to storing them as…you guessed it…FAT).
Avocados contain a heart-healthy fat and they are just as versatile as eggs and peanut butter. The options are endless because they don’t have a very strong flavor but add a delicious creamy texture.
I love enjoying half of an avocado with my fried eggs and veggies in the morning or mixing it with real mayo, tuna and bell peppers for lunch.
Need more ideas?
If you’re looking for more foods to help stretch your budget without stretching your waistline, you don’t have to look far. Bananas, canned tuna, and plain frozen vegetables are nutritious options that are also easy on the wallet. Next time you’re at the grocery store check out the unit price located beneath the cost of the item. This will help you determine if that sale on a popular brand is a better deal than the generic brand. With a little practice, you’ll find that eating healthy doesn’t have to come with a big grocery bill.
Photo source: thewellnessdoer.com.