5 Easy Ways to Eat Healthy on a Budget

Istock/RKIRKimageryIstock/RKIRKimageryIn news, about as surprising as the fact that Congress is unpopular with the public, is a recent University of Washington study that confirmed that eating your Brussels sprouts is more expensive than eating Twinkies®. According to the study, meeting the government's recommended intake of potassium would cost the average person an additional $380 a year, while meeting vitamin D and fiber requirements would be about $250 dollars a year. At a time when food prices are rising, eating healthy on a budget may seem impossible, but it's still possible to do at a low cost.

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In a perfect world, apples, whole-wheat bread, and kale would be cheaper than ramen noodles, white bread, and doughnuts. But unfortunately, we live in a world where processed food usually costs less than healthy food and the cast members of the Jersey Shore are famous millionaires. But don't despair. Not all healthy foods are prohibitively expensive and eating healthy on a budget can be done. By following a few rules, you can eat foods that are good for you without having to take out a loan to cover your monthly grocery bills.

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5. Don't Buy Precut Fruits & Vegetables

I won't lie, precut carrots and melons are time-savers, but they are also more expensive than their whole counterparts. Spending a few extra minutes cutting your fruits and vegetables will save you a lot of money in the long run. Besides, precut fruits and vegetables tend to lose nutrients faster than uncut fruits and vegetables. Cut produce also loses a lot of flavor, so stay away from things like garlic that's already been minced and precut salad greens.

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4. Eat Less Meat

Even though eating meat can be part of a healthy diet, it can be expensive. In the last few months, pork and chicken prices have risen and they don't look like they're going to go down anytime soon. In light of these price hikes, eating less meat is a great way to save money. For less expensive protein sources, eat more beans, eggs, and tempeh.

3. Buy Cheaper Cuts of Meat

If the prospect of eating less meat fills you with more dread than watching network TV's fall lineup, then you should consider eating less expensive cuts of meat. Instead of chicken breast, which is now about $3.33 per pound, buy chicken thighs instead. 100 grams of skinless chicken thighs has only five more calories than skinless chicken breast and has more nutrients. Also try less expensive cuts of beef like skirt steak and flank steak.

Also see: 13 Uses for Lemons You Haven't Thought of Yet

2. Eat Foods That Fill You Up

Another trick to eating healthy on a budget is buy food that makes you feel full longer, so you eat less and save more money. Dried beans, lentils, and split peas are just a few examples of foods that satiate your hunger for longer periods of time. Other examples include sweet potatoes instead of regular potatoes and brown rice instead of white rice. The less you eat the more money you save.

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1. Buy in Bulk

Sometimes buying items like meat, beans, and pasta in bulk can save you money. Meat and cooked beans can be frozen and pasta can be stored indefinitely as long as it's kept in a cool, dry place, so consider purchasing certain items at places like Costco. Just make sure that you do a price comparison between bulk items and regular-sized items because bigger doesn't always mean cheaper.

Click here to see other Ways to Eat Healthy on a Budget

-Naa Ako-Adjei, The Daily Meal