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Bye Felicia: How to Kick Bad Foods to the Curb

It’s no secret that eating healthy can be expensive. There’s nothing on the dollar menu that’s good fuel for your body, but the fact that you can get a whole meal for $5 or less makes it very appealing.

Most people like to get the most bang for their buck, which makes shelling out more money to eat healthier a struggle. But making the decision to put your money towards healthy choices should be an investment everyone is willing to make. And honestly, it doesn’t have to take up too much of your income!

If you can’t afford to buy organic fruits, grass-fed beef or cage-free eggs, you can still eat healthy. Yes, these are the healthiest of the options, but you can still make better food choices. Below are my tips on how to eat healthy without spending too much.

Produce

Fresh fruits and vegetables

When buying fresh produce, I always tend to buy what’s on sale or is the better deal at the time. For instance, if zucchini is cheaper than buying broccoli one week, guess what I’m eating for lunch? Zucchini. It’s still a healthy option and I save money.

Another thing to look for when buying produce is buying per item vs. by the pound. Grocery stores will have something like a “2 for 99¢” or a “50¢ per pound” deal. I love the per item deal because you don’t have to buy the designated amount to get the deal. For example, you can buy 1 avocado for 50¢. Also, you can make that 50¢ stretch even further by buying the biggest one you can find. Think about it, if you buy the biggest cucumber that you can find, you can make a lot more salads for your money.

When buying per pound, you have to keep the pounds in mind, especially if it’s dense produce like potatoes. So the cost will add up quickly. The best way to save here is to wait for that price to drop. Usually fruits and vegetables become cheaper when they are in season.

Proteins

Meats can get expensive when trying to eat healthy. Boneless skinless chicken breasts are great sources of lean protein, but they are priced higher than any other chicken parts. Save money, and buy the chicken breasts with the skin on and bone in. You will have to do the work of cutting off the fat yourself, but it keeps some money in your pocket. Also, look for ground chicken. It’s relatively lean and inexpensive. It’s also great for making meatballs or healthy tacos. Another expensive source of protein is canned tuna. There are plenty of healthy recipes it can be used in. 

Pantry 

black beans

Typically buying anything canned is not healthy due to preservatives, but picking and choosing your canned items can keep your food budget low and your waistline thin. A great staple to have on hand are black beans. Get the low sodium kind and rinse them with water before heating them up to eat. They have protein and can be mixed into salads or make a simple side. Another pantry staple to have on hand is rice. Ditch the instant white rice and choose brown rice or jasmine rice. They may not be instant and will take a little longer to cook, but they are less processed and still affordable.

Now that you have some tips on how to make your budget work for a healthy lifestyle, you can say “Goodbye” to those Value menus you’ve been getting by on and “Hello” to a happier, healthier you.

Reneé DuBose is a Chicago media professional who was bitten by the health and fitness bug a few years ago. On her journey to get and stay fit, she started a health and wellness blog to share her tips with friends, family and anyone needing help. Visit The Fit Print and keep up with her on Instagram @theFitPrint.