Buy cheap diet foods in order to save money and stay healthy. Just because a food's price looks good does not mean it is good for you, so make sure you are eating wisely while you are on a budget. Do not let fattening your wallet cause a fattening of your stomach.
Fresh fruits and vegetables are the basics for any healthy diet. Plan your meals around produce that is in-season for the best savings, and of course, watch the sales circulars in your area. If you need an item that is out of season, head to the freezer section. Frozen fruits and veggies usually have less sodium than the canned version.
Two other ways to save money on fruits and vegetables are to plant a garden and purchase food at farmers markets.
Plant a Garden
The best way to save money on grocery shopping is simply to buy less at the market, and you won't get better cheap diet foods than fruits and vegetables. If you have even a small yard, you can plant a garden for many of your produce staples. Stagger your planting so you have fresh vegetables all summer. The following are easy to grow:
- Green beans
Add your favorites to the list above, and then head to a greenhouse. There, you can get tips on planting a vegetable garden, a list of what vegetables will grow best in your area and information on how to tend to the garden.
To make the savings stretch even further, can or freeze any leftovers so you can enjoy the foods all year long.
Locally-grown fruits and vegetables are often cheaper than the counterparts you find at the grocery store. The cost of the produce available at local farmers markets is often less than at the grocery store. You can also shop farmers markets for diet-friendly fresh-baked goods, like multi-grain bread, for less than the bakery price.
Diet Friendly Dairy and Meat
The dairy and meat section of the grocery store is where many people run into problems with both their wallet and waistline. A good prime rib is often high fat and high cost. Yet you can do a few things to cut back on your dairy and meat bill while still staying healthy:
- Purchase fatty cuts of meat and trim at home.
- Watch for bulk sales, where you can purchase 10 or more pounds of meat at a time for a large discount. Divide the meat into one or two-pound portions, wrap and put into the deep freeze for future use.
- Buy chicken and turkeys whole, by the pound, and cook them at home. Plan a week's worth of meals around the meat, using it in everything, from casseroles to sandwiches to soups.
- Look for meat labeled "bone-in." Bone-in cuts of meat involve less work for the processor, meaning lower costs for you.
- Buy skim milk instead of whole, as it is usually lower in price and always lower in calories and fat than whole milk.
- Look for the store or generic brands of low-fat cheese. Even if the taste is a little off, no one will notice when mixed into a frugal dinner recipe.
- Purchase low-fat yogurt in large containers instead of self-serve portions.
- Eggs are a good, inexpensive source of protein when you cannot afford meat. Make them diet-friendly by separating out the yolk and eating the whites only.
Convenient and Cheap Diet Foods
Baking your own bread and making homemade meals is often the healthiest and cheapest way to eat. Even though most people know this, reality often supersedes reason when it comes to making and buying cheap diet foods. People end up grabbing whatever is closest when it comes time to eat, often making a poor diet choice and spending double the amount necessary.Convenience foods can be made healthy and low-cost, but it requires a little planning to make this work. Follow these tips to make good food choices, regardless of cost or convenience:
- Clip Coupons: Everyone knows they can save money with coupons, so there is no excuse not to do it.
- Watch Sales: Keep an eye out for your favorite granola bar or frozen diet entrée to go on sale. Combine it with a coupon you previously clipped for the most savings.
- Read Labels: Remember that just because a food says "whole-grain" or heart-healthy, it may not be. Look for sugars, sugar substitutes (like high fructose corn syrup) and salt/sodium in the first five ingredients. If so, the product is probably not very good for you, even if it boasts low calories or low fats.
- Track Sales Cycles: Grocery stores often go through sales cycles, where they put only certain foods on sale every so many weeks, usually on a three-month rotation. Plan your shopping so you can purchase enough frozen/non-perishable convenience foods to last until the next sales cycle.