Inflation hit everyone hard in 2022. It seemed like the price of everything went up, but prices for fresh food were especially high. What should we do if we’re devoted to eating healthy food, but our wallets have us cutting portions and reaching for processed foods? Here are some ways to create healthy meals without breaking your budget.
Make a Weekly Meal Plan
When you map out your meals in advance and write a grocery list based on that plan, you’ll likely find out that you’ve been buying more food than you need.
Once you have your list of everything you need to make the meals on your plan, don’t deviate from it. Grocery stores encourage impulse buying by putting all those chocolatey goodies in the checkout lane. Resist! Doesn’t it feel great to give yourself a pat on the back for sticking to a plan and saving money you would have wasted on sugary excess?
Watch for Sales
Before you send those weekly grocery store flyers straight to the recycle bin, take a minute to read them. There might be some good deals on high-quality meats or fresh fruits and vegetables that would fit into your weekly plan. Eating healthy whole foods pays off in the long run, so pick them up on sale whenever you can.
Make Your Own Salad Dressing
Bottled salad dressing is overpriced and often full of junky ingredients. Homemade salad dressing tastes better and is much more economical.
Stock Your Freezer
When one of those weekly grocery store flyers has an unbeatable deal on foods you love, stock up. Don’t shun frozen fruits and veggies: if the items were quick or flash frozen, they’re probably just as nutritious as the out-of-season fresh versions. Buy several packages to toss in the freezer and use them when the fresh versions are out of your price range.
Buy a few extra cuts of meat that are on sale and stow them in the freezer to use when prices are too high to justify buying them.
Learn To Love Leftovers
If you have a small family, you may be frustrated that cuts of meat or fish fillets are all sized for huge households. Don’t lament—go ahead and cook all of it and work the leftovers into your meal plan. Yesterday’s dinner can easily become tomorrow’s lunch. I always make a big pot of soup on the weekends and then store the leftovers for easy lunches.
These are a few of my suggestions about how to create healthy meals without breaking your budget. Here’s to a happy, healthy, and money-saving 2023!