It seems like everywhere you look these days we are told to eat a more healthy meal, incorporate more fruits and vegetables into our diets. It also seems that feels easier said than done. With produce prices on the rise and likely to go higher how is a family supposed to eat a healthy and nutritious meal on a budget? Did you know a family of 4 can eat a healthy, nutritious meal cheaper than eating local fast food?
Spend family time together at your local farmer's markets. Involving children is a great way to ensure they will eat more fruits and vegetables; let them help pick out the vegetable for the meal. Buying local and seasonal is a great way to save money. There is usually a more abundant supply at the local farmer's market because you are going to the source. Farmers are able to keep costs down by cutting out the middle man and showing up and displaying their bounty themselves.
Another great way to eat on a budget is to buy in bulk. There are several great grocery stores that have a wide variety of bulk bins. Whether you're buying brown rice, quinoa or oatmeal, buying in bulk saves a nice amount of money and really stretches your food dollars. These days you can find just about any dry good you are looking for in the bulk bins. Invest in good storage containers and your bulk products will last you a very long time.
Invest your time and money into a CSA (community supported agriculture). Depending on the size of your family or if you are a single, this is a terrific and inexpensive way to eat local. CSA's are popping up all over the country and we have some great ones right in our own area. If you are single, opt to split the cost of a basket of fresh fruit and vegetables. Feeding a family, this is a great way to eat what is fresh and in season. If you would like to volunteer, chances are they may throw in an extra vegetable or two. Contact your local CSA for more details.
Don't waste your money on processed foods. They may seem more convenient but there is no real nutritional value in eating processed foods. In the long run you will be hungrier sooner and possibly need to snack to feel more satiated.
Buy fruits and vegetables that have a heartier shelf life. Apples, carrots, celery, potatoes, onions and garlic all last 7+ days. You'll save a lot more money buying these items that won't go bad as quickly. Buy fruits and vegetables that last longer are easier on your wallet and go along way towards good nutrition.
And finally, grow your own. Visit your local nursery to find easy tips on growing some of your favorite fruits and vegetables. Container gardening is a great option if you don't have good soil or not a lot of room. Your yield will be worth the investment you made to create your garden, not to mention you don't have to use pesticides. Growing your own vegetables is a great way to eat on a budget and a great way to find new foods to add to your meal plan.
Eating healthy on a budget doesn't have to be difficult. A little planning and determination and you will find that you are saving money on your monthly food bill. All while being able to eat a nutritious and healthy meal. Don't try it all at once, start slowly but stay the course. Before you know it you will be budgeting your way to better health.