eat healthy on a budget

Trim Your Budget and Waistline


By: K.H. Smith

 

There are budgeting tips that do more than trim your spending, they can help you trim your waistline!  Some of our bad eating habits cost us money and by cutting some of these out, you may even lose a few pounds! Who doesn’t love that? Here are some ways to trim both your budget and waistline!

Less Eating Out

 

This is a known budget breaker.  Eating meals out is expensive.  You are paying for someone else to shop, cook, and clean up after you.  And you have less control over the ingredients and portions than if you cooked at home. Yes, there should be times that going out to eat fits in your budget, but it should be a treat and not an every week occurrence.  Try the eat at home challenge.

 

No Drinking Sodas

 

Sodas are not good for you.  We all know this. Even the diet sodas are full of chemicals and have been shown to make you crave sweets.  Sodas are also expensive.  If you are drinking sodas every day, that is several dollars a day you can save.  Drink water instead.  Almost every part of the US has safe tap water or bring your own water from home.

 

Stop Snack Foods

 

Chips, pretzels, popcorn, and cookies are delicious!  We all love them, but they are not healthy choices to eat regularly.  They are also expensive, especially if you eat the whole box at a sitting!  $3-$5 per bag or box is a lot of money to spend on a snack.  If you spent the same amount of money on fruit or veggies, that is better for you and you are less likely to overeat fruit and veggies!

 

Walk More

 

If you live in an area where you can walk places, such as the grocery store, restaurants, libraries, and or parks. Walking is great exercise and if you are not driving or taking public transportation it will save you money.  You don’t have to walk everywhere all the time, just maybe a few times a week to increase your daily steps.  Or maybe just walk from one store to the other without hopping in your car if the stores are close enough together.  Think of ways to drive less and walk more!

 

Portion Size Matters

 

Look at your plate as you portion out food.  Are you over serving meats and starches?  If you weigh out your meats and limit them to 4-6oz you might get another meal out of your meat!  Your plate should be mostly vegetables, with a little meat, and a little starch.  Don’t serve family style.  Put your portions on a plate and pack up the leftovers. You won’t be as tempted to get seconds.  Just be sure to eat your leftovers so you don’t waste food!

 

Meal Plan

 

If you have planned out your meals, you will be less likely to grab take out as a spur of the moment decision.  You will know what your options are for the week.  You can plan which meals will have leftovers and which won’t.  For me, it doesn’t matter which meals are served which day, I know what options we have for the week and make what sounds good that night. But, the important part is I have a plan.  I shop for that plan, and I don’t waste food.  I plan healthy options for my family and that helps us manage our weight. Since I started meal planning 3 years ago, we eat out so much less and we throw out way less food!  All good things for a frugal gal!  One thing to note is our meal planning has allowed us to still eat good quality foods, mostly organic, and still stay in budget since we only buy what we need for that week.

 

Grow a Garden

 

For many years, I had a little 6×6 plot in my back yard where I grew veggies.  I hope to get back to that one day!  I loved fresh tomatoes and lettuce straight from the garden.  It is a great way to reduce your summer food costs, and eat more veggies!  Just be frugal in your garden planning. Plant from seeds, compost your kitchen waste for fertilizer, and water regularly. It is possible to spend a lot of money on a garden, but it doesn’t have to be that way.  Plus, gardening can be good exercise, especially in the early spring.

 

I hope these tips give you some ideas on way to trim your budget and waistline.  Hopefully this will help you be healthier as well and your financial picture.  It can be hard to think about being healthy when you are pinching your pennies tight, but doing little things to boost your health is equally important. Now if you lose a lot of weight and have to buy new clothes, that will be a different problem for your budget, but a good one to have!

 

Do you have any other suggestions on how to save money while being healthy?

 

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