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Healthy foods such as whole grains, chicken and fresh produce are often much more expensive than the alternatives of white flour items, frozen dinners and canned soup. Fast food is also a cheap substitute for a healthy meal as it offers a filling and convenient choice for only a few dollars. Considering these points, it's understandable that most people that live on a tight budget tend to think that a healthy diet is beyond their means. However, with some planning and discipline, a healthy budget is easily within reach.
Junk food should be the first item on the chopping block to meet your budget. These items add to your grocery bill without adding any healthy or nutritional value to your diet. Steer clear of these aisles and shop on a full stomach to subdue any impulse cravings.
Beans are a great choice for those on a budget. Making meals around beans can help cut back on fat and cholesterol while giving you your much-needed protein. In fact, it is recommended that you include beans in your meals at least four times a week due to its healthy offerings. And, with the different types of beans out there, you can change it up to add variety.
Pasta is inexpensive, quick to prepare and can be served with just about anything including different meats and vegetables. Opt for the healthier alternatives of whole-wheat pastas if available at your grocery store.
Fresh fruits and vegetables should be a regular part of your healthy diet. Vegetables are great to add to all main courses while the fruits are ideal for a quick healthy snack. To get the maximum potential for taste and nutrition, buy them in their seasons. Canned fruits and vegetables can be handy for those last minute meals. You can also save your vegetable trimmings for future use in casseroles and soups.
Peanut butter is also a great healthy choice for your budget. Peanut butter is generally cheap and full of protein. It can also be paired up with more than just jam. Peanut butter and banana sandwiches are an option or you can cut up an apple and dip the pieces in peanut butter.
When you're cooking a big meal, make some extra and freeze for later consumption. This way, you'll have a healthy and inexpensive meal on hand for when you don't have the time to cook. This is a great way to stop the temptations to eat out.
It is always a good idea to buy non-perishables in bulk. Items such as canned foods, dried beans and grains have a long shelf life so when these are on special, stock up. Things such as meat and poultry can be frozen for long periods so you can buy these in bulk as well.
Dining out is your worst enemy when you're trying to stay on a healthy budget. Many items on a menu are high in fat and sodium and can cost you quite a bit, especially when you take gratuities into consideration. Eating out every once in a while is fine, but stay away from fast food restaurants that are no good for neither your health or your budget.
A healthy budget may seem to be a daunting task especially considering the alternatives but it will eventually become second nature to you. You will also soon realize that it's more than worth the effort. A fatter wallet as well as a healthier you is definitely worthwhile.