Many people think the concepts of getting healthy and saving money are in conflict.
Healthy food often has a reputation for being overpriced and less than filling. But the savvy shopper can buy healthy and leave the grocer's with a fatter wallet. Here are five ways to keep your menu healthy and budget-friendly:
1. Pick Your Protein
Lean proteins such as chicken and turkey tend to be cheaper than high fat alternatives such as beef and lamb. According to peapod.com, a grocery delivery web site for Stop and Shop and Giant, ground turkey runs about $2.50 per pound while ground beef will cost $4.50 per pound. When used in meals like chili or meat sauces, the flavors are nearly indistinguishable but the calorie counts aren’t. Ground turkey is 170 calories per serving while ground beef is 293. For any of your favorite proteins, wait for a sale and buy in bulk. Place appropriate portions in plastic bags and freeze until you are ready to use them. Opting for boneless, skinless chicken breasts and pre-flavored turkey sausages are perfect ways to save.
2. Make Your Own Frozen Dinners
Shelling out four dollars apiece for health-conscious TV dinners will leave most dieters searching for snacks an hour later and wondering why their grocery bills are so high. Instead of buying frozen dinners, make your own. Crock-pot recipes for chilis and stews are easy to make in bulk, then separate into individual portions for the freezer. That way, you control the portion and the calorie count while saving money on quick, healthy dinners on nights when there is just no time to cook.
3. Add More Vegetables
Vegetables are generally cheaper than meat so try going vegetarian a few meals a month. Hearty vegetables like eggplant and squash make a healthy and filling centerpiece for any meal. Thick eggplant slices can be grilled exactly like steak and the wide variety of squashes are perfect for thick soups or even ravioli filling.