How to Be a Foodie on a Budget

Having a healthy lifestyle means running, biking or going to the gym regularly and, of course, eating healthy. There’s a misconception out there that eating healthy means breaking the bank. You can have a healthy and nutritious diet, all under your budget. With some simple planning, you can cook and eat delicious food while maintaining a healthy bank account.

Here are a few easy ways to save money and still have savory meals:

1. Sharpen your sautéing skills.
If you’re already confident in the kitchen, you’re off to a good start. If not, learn how to cook the basics: vegetables, your favorite cuts of meat, and healthy sides such as brown rice or quinoa. Learn from DIY videos on YouTube, or get recipe ideas from Pinterest, where recipes are plentiful. A meal delivery service may be convenient, but it could be expensive if purchased consistently. As an alternative, you can grab recipes and tips from their sites – free of charge!

2. Quality over quantity.
Even though processed foods are cheaper, high-quality ingredients provide more nutrition in the long run. Try buying fresh produce to make your own salads and snacks. The less you spend on buying pre-assembled meals, the more money you can spend on better quality ingredients for healthier meals. You will instantly taste the difference in the quality of your food when you use fresh ingredients.

3. Shop smart.
Do you frequently find yourself standing in the vegetable aisle, trying to figure out what to buy to get yourself through the week? Make a shopping list and stick to it. You can download an app to keep track of your groceries or just type a note in your phone before shopping. Track the list till the end of the week to see what you bought too much of, and adjust for your next grocery trip. This will help you avoid making impulse purchases that can throw off your healthy meal planning.

4. Go farm fresh.
Fresh ingredients make the best ingredients, which means your food will taste better and last longer. Stay on top of what’s in season with the USDA’s Seasonal Produce Guide or check your local farmers’ market. Knowing what produce is in season and grown locally before you shop will help you make healthier choices.

5. Cook in bulk.
The fewer times you have to use the stove or wash the dishes, the less time and money you’ll spend on food. Most cooked meats can be refrigerated for up to three or four days. (Find out how long food lasts in the refrigerator or freezer using this food storage timetable.) This will help you plan your meals for the week; just remember to keep track of when you prepared them. Keep in mind that if you’re multiplying recipes to make more meals, it’s best to measure ingredients by weight rather than volume.

6. Meal prep ahead of time.
Planning out your meals for the week all at once will help keep you on track. Take Sunday to prepare your meals in advance to save time and money during the week. This will also ensure you use all the ingredients you purchased and that nothing goes unused (31% to 40% of food in USA is wasted!). To make sure you don’t add to the waste, separate your meals in reusable containers with compartments. That way you can quickly grab your healthy meals and set out for the day’s adventure.

Be a savvy saver every day!
These are just a few ways you can save money and still enjoy good food. If you make these tips part of your daily routine, you’ll start noticing your savings grow and wonder why you didn’t start sooner. At Bethpage Federal Credit Union, we’re happy to help you do more with your money while spending less.

Learn why a Bethpage Free Checking account (with interest) is the best place to start your savings!

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