SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - (November 21, 2011) - According to the United States Department of Agriculture, a realistic low-cost at-home food plan is about $110 per week for a family of two, and $187 per week for a family of four who have kids over six years old. Even with their low-cost figures, some families may wonder in this economy how to make that work, while still striving to eat healthy meals. The good news is that there are many things that families can do to help keep costs down, yet eat healthy at the same time.
"Many people make the assumption that it costs more to eat healthy," explains Jolly Backer, the chief executive officer of Fresh Healthy Vending (www.freshvending.com). "That is not necessarily true, especially for those families that really make an effort to focus on healthy eating within their budget."
Here are some tips for eating healthy on a budget:
"Whether eating at home or grabbing a snack on the run, there are lower cost, yet healthier options available," adds Backer. "It is just really a matter of paying attention and seeking out those healthier options. They are there, for those who want to take advantage of them."
- Join a co-op or community-supported agriculture program. These options help people obtain fresh produce at more affordable prices.
- Opt for drinking filtered tap water over other options. It is cheaper than buying juices and sugary beverages, and it is also the healthiest option.
- Always write up a list before going grocery shopping, in order to avoid impulse buys. Know ahead of time what meals will be made and what ingredients are needed to make them.
- Buy products in bulk, which will save money. Frozen vegetables offer a low-cost nutritious option, as well.
- Cut back on the meat. Opting for some plant protein is cheaper and often healthier, since it leaves out the saturated fat and cholesterol. Choose low-cost, highly nutritious items like lentils, beans and tofu.
- Focus on eating seasonally. While the stores may typically offer out-of-season produce, it will cost more than if it were in season, because it has been flown in from far-off locales.
- Limit dining out, because eating at home meals is not only cheaper, but usually healthier. If a family wants to dine out occasionally, opt for places that offer 'kids eat free' day, and read the menu online ahead of time to find healthier options.
- Clip coupons for those items that the family would normally purchase anyway. This doesn't encourage additional spending that wasn't planned and will help save money at the store.