Many people believe it is more expensive to eat a healthy diet than an unhealthy one. While it can be much easier to eat snack foods and prepared meals, healthy food does not have to break your budget. Make a sensible list each week noting all of the items you need for each meal and for snacks. Concentrate on ingredients rather than finished products and you will eat healthier for a smaller price.
Concentrate on buying whole-grain cereals like oatmeal and farina to give your family a filling start to the day. Add fresh fruit or fruit canned in water, such as strawberries, peaches or bananas. Avoid pre-sweetened cold cereals and breakfast bakery items; they add sugar, fat and calories without much actual nutrition. Add low-fat yogurt to your list for a calcium boost, along with cottage cheese and skim milk.
Create a list for lunch groceries, concentrating on healthy sandwiches and soups. Buy whole-grain breads, rolls and wraps for sandwiches and get a variety of low-fat fillings such as turkey, chicken and tuna packed in water. Get a variety of fresh vegetables to cut into bite-sized pieces or strips for snacks, and add low-fat cheese chunks to cut into slices and cubes.
Create a list of healthy dinner choices that include at least one vegetarian option during the week. Try a variety of dried beans for protein without the cost of meat, or choose eggs for an evening omelet meal. Choose fresh or frozen vegetables and those canned without added sodium. Consider buying the ingredients for your own healthy homemade breads and rolls, and get whole-wheat pasta for quick dinners on busy nights.
Eating healthy on a budget doesn't mean you have to avoid snacks. Purchase bags of popcorn kernels to pop on the stove, whole fruits and vegetables for snack trays, low-fat cheeses and crackers, and lemons and limes to create tasty drinks. Apple juice is a healthy drink for families on a budget. Cider is inexpensive in season and tastes good warmed in mugs.
Working in sunny Florida, Anne Baley has been writing professionally since 2009. Her home and lifestyle articles have been seen on Coldwell Banker and Gardening Know How. Baley has published a series of books teaching how to live a frugal life with style and panache.