11 Ways to eat Healthy on a Tight Budget

Many people with a tight budget would love to fill their cupboards with healthy things to eat, but sometimes it can feel difficult.    It can feel like healthy foods are too expensive.  You may want to know how to eat better.  We often hear of different kinds of “superfoods” or how “organic” options are healthy things to eat, but the price tag attached to those items can be hard to swallow.

ways to eat healthy

Don’t get me wrong, I think superfoods and organic have their place, but I just don’t think that place is on your credit card.

So how?  What are ways to eat healthy, but not go into debt for it?  How can we provide quality foods for our family that will give them the nutrients they need, but still remain within our budget?

I’ve talked about what to eat when you are extremely broke, and the list had options that weren’t the healthiest.  I shared in that post how sometimes, for a short time we may have to eat foods that we wouldn’t normally eat regularly to get us through a rough patch financially.

But what if it isn’t an extremely desperate time, however, you still live on a small income?

Today I am going to share with you tips on eating a healthy diet on a tight budget.


Shop in-season.  When it comes to fruits and vegetables, prices go up and down.  When the produce is in season you will pay less money for it.  My family knows that in Summer we eat a lot of strawberries and watermelon, in Fall it’s apples and squash, in winter it’s all about the clementines, and Springtime we are heavy on the asparagus.

Eating seasonally not only is cheaper, but it prevents us from getting sick of one type of food.  We look forward to the fruits and vegetables we get to eat every season after not eating them for a time.  A variety of fruits and vegetables are healthy things to eat on a regular basis.

Eat healthy

Freeze it.  If you have some extra cash to stockpile, consider buying extra fruits and vegetables when in season and freezing it to enjoy when it is not as cheap.  Right now is strawberry season and we have picked a whole lo of strawberries ready to be frozen for later use in smoothies.

Buy discounted.  Obviously there are going to be some items in the produce section that you just won’t buy discounted, but there are some that you can buy at a cheaper price when they are nearing the end of their life.  We buy browning bananas that we can use in smoothies or in a Paleo type pancake which are made just from bananas and eggs.  When we want to be eating healthy on a budget, buying discounted groceries help us achieve that.

Shop for cheaper health foods.  Up above I mentioned superfoods.  Personally, there are many superfoods I am a fan of, but there are many that are just out of my price range.  I can’t stock my cupboards with goji berries or acai juice.  Just because I can’t afford the superfoods doesn’t mean I have to forego all healthy choices.  Foods such as beans, oats, apples, and carrots are super cheap and all good choices.  Shopping for frugal options is one of the best ways to eat healthy on a tight budget.

Be choosy about organic.  I’m just going to confess right now – we don’t buy any organic in this house.  It just isn’t in the budget and I figure buying a bunch of non-organic produce is better than eating a bunch of junk.  However, if you really want to buy organic produce, buy some organic and some non-organic.  Some of the best produce with little trace of pesticides are avocadoes, onions, mangos, asparagus, kiwi fruit, canteloupe, and watermelon.

When deciding which fruits and vegetables to buy organic, consider that the worst offenders for chemicals are celery, apples, strawberries, peaches, cherries, spinach, collard greens,  sweet bell peppers, and lettuce.  Those are the ones you want to buy organic if you decide to buy some organic produce.

Shop the sales.  I talk a lot on this blog about shopping the sales, and the reason is because it is one of the best ways to save money!  Look in the weekly flyer for what healthier foods are on sale and plan your meals around that.  If you are new to meal planning, check out How to Meal Plan which also includes a free printable to get you started.

Grow your own.  If you have the space, grow a garden.  Even if you don’t have a large space you can still grow some vegetables in containers.  It’s pretty cheap to pick vegetables in your own back yard. There are some initial expenses when starting a garden, but over the years it more than pays for itself!

Forage.  Foraging for food can be fun and rewarding. You may be able to find wild blueberries or raspberries, or even a wild apple tree.  I know people who harvest dandelion leaves or find fiddleheads for consumption.  I will suggest you do NOT forage for mushrooms unless you are skilled at it.  You need to know without a doubt what you are eating or you risk getting very sick, or worse.  But – if you are confident you know what you are eating, foraging can be a great way to keep the budget down.

Cook from scratch.  As much as possible, make it yourself.  Make chicken broth from chicken bones, or a healthier granola bar made with honey instead of sugar.  Hummus, guacamole, and yogurt are all foods you can make at home for a lot cheaper than buying in the store, and you can make them healthier than the store bought versions.

Just drink water.  In our house, we drink mostly water (and of course some coffee!) The kids have grown up that way and don’t expect there to be juice. What is cheaper than not buying something at all?  Nothing that I know of!  If you stop buying the sugary juices and other drinks, your health with thank you, and so will your wallet.

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Buy in bulk.  We buy our oats in bulk, along with our meat, such as ground beef.  I just divide the beef up into smaller freezer packs for multiple meals.  Brown rice and beans can be purchased in bulk to save you money as well.  Just make sure you have an airtight bucket or container to put them in.  Food safe buckets have worked amazingly well for us for the past ten years.  I use these screw lids on the buckets to make for easier opening, because I seriously can’t handle the difficult lids that most large sized buckets come from.  I always get my fingers pinched in them! The lids are also air tight and prevent bugs or critters getting into them, as well as keeping your food fresh.

ways to eat healthy

Eating healthy on a budget doesn’t have to seem out of reach.  It just takes a little more planning and creativity.  Some of these ideas just take some practice before they become second nature to you.  You also don’t have to feel like you need to implement every single one of these tips.  Just start with one or two, and when you are in a good routine with those changes, add another one or two.  Before you know it you will find shopping for healthy foods on your budget isn’t as difficult as maybe it once was!  Hopefully these ways to eat healthy will help you along your journey to eating better for less!

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