Having a tight budget doesn’t mean you can’t afford to eat healthy or eat right. You’ll need to cook more and cut back on some foods, but it can be done.
7 Tips for Eating Healthy on a Tight Budget
- Eat before you go shopping. This way, you won’t be hungry when you get to the market and won’t get extra snacks or items that you don’t need.
- Bring a list and make less trips to the store. Before going out to shop, have in mind what you will have as meals and snacks for the week and bring your list to the market. Too many trips to the store each week can add up and cost you more. Try not to go grocery shopping more than once a week.
- Stick to the basics as much as possible. Basics foods like fruits, vegetables, beans/peas, whole grains (like bread, rice, cereals and pasta), meat, fish, and eggs go a long way. Frozen fruits and vegetables are also great options. To save on meat, get ground meat or go to your butcher and ask for meat with bones that’s used for soups. Lean meat is healthier. You may have to cut back on some foods, but try not to cut back on vegetables. Organic is not necessary. Washing fruits and vegetables before eating is usually enough. But for foods that you eat with the skin, getting organic can be helpful. It means you don’t have to worry about chemicals that may still be on the food. See the Dirty Dozen for an up to date list of foods that may be best to buy organic.
- Avoid junk food and frozen meals or TV dinners. Yes, these foods may be easy to start eating and pop in the microwave but they are usually more expensive and have extra ingredients in them that may not be healthy for you.
- Buy supermarket brands whenever you can. Supermarket brands cost less and usually have the same quality as brand name foods. Supermarket brands may look plain but a lot of times with brand name foods, you are just paying extra for the fancy package.
- Shop around for the best prices. This means checking out many different markets in your area for the best prices and sales for different foods. Supermarkets and grocery stores are not the only places to shop. You can also check out farmers markets in your area too.
- Find free emergency food help in your community. You may be able to get some free healthy basics like rice, beans, whole grain cereals, snacks (like dried fruit and nuts), spices and canned foods.
✧ Guides: How to Get Food Help (help for people of all ages)
Talk to your doctor or health care provider for more information.
If you don’t have a doctor or insurance, you can get help at a health center near you.
Call (800) – 5 – HUNGRY or (800) – 548 – 6479 for help finding free food in your area. You can also text your zip code to (800) – 548 – 6479 for help.
Call 2-1-1 for 24/7 help finding more programs, services and all kinds of help near you.
Call (800) – 273 – TALK (8255) for 24/7 caring support and emergency help with difficult feelings, emotions or thoughts of suicide.
Page last reviewed: March 19, 2017 Page last updated: July 15, 2017