Guest Posts

Eating Healthy on a Budget

Healthy Eating on a Budget

I am pleased to welcome my good friend, Stephanie, from VeegMama to The Heavy Purse. She and I connected at the Empowering Mothers Benefits Brunch last May. Her lifestyle blog promoters healthy living and eating well, which is another topic that I feel passionate about as well. I know many of my readers want to eat well without breaking the bank, so I invited Stephanie to share some tips with us. Take it away, Stephanie …

I am excited to be on “The Heavy Purse” today to share some budget friendly ways to feed your family healthy food. I take my job of meal planner and family cook very seriously. We can save and plan our money wisely, but if we are not healthy enough to thrive and spend it, what is it all for? Healthy bodies start with healthy food. My family eats a primarily plant based diet that requires a lot of fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole foods. These things can be more costly, but I am here to tell you that it is possible to feed your family healthily and stay on a budget. Here are a few tips that work for me and my family, and I know they can work for you too!

Before You Head to the Store …

Plan Your Menus for the Week

This is your roadmap for your family’s mealtimes. If you go to the store on Monday mornings, consider doing your planning on Sunday nights. I use my Erin Condren planner to list out my meals for the week, and then write out my grocery list to correspond to those meals. There are also lots of great apps and websites available to help you organize your meals and grocery lists.

Take Inventory

Before you plan your menus for the week, take inventory of your pantry and fridge. Then, when you browse your recipes, keep your eyes peeled for dishes using those ingredients or look for ways to modify recipes with what you have. There are also some great websites out there where you can plug in your ingredients, and it will give you a recipe using what you have on hand.

Browse Discount Sites and Read the Grocery Circulars

There is lots of money to be saved if you know were to look. My family eats a lot of produce. I am not a coupon cutter (kudos to you if you are!), but I scour the circulars each week for greens and veggies I buy regularly for the best deals. I also subscribe to discount sites like Vegan Cuts and Spencer’s Market for deals on specialty vegan products that are typically more expensive in the stores.

When You Go to the Store …

Shop Once a Week

Grocery shopping can be a time suck, not to mention a wallet drain, if you are going every other day.  Efficiency is the key to success! If you plan your menus for the week, you can get your shopping done in one stop, eliminating the need to “just pick up one thing from the store,” which inevitably leads you to pick one or two more things you do not really need.

Avoid Pre-cut, Pre-washed Packed Veggies

Stores charge more for these. If you do your meal planning and shopping once a week, you can wash all your fruits and veggies as soon as you get home from the store and have everything at your ready when you need it during the week – just like those pre-washed bags, but instead, you did it yourself at a fraction of the cost.

Buy in Bulk

The bulk bins at the market offer major savings versus packaged mixes. Beans, grains, and nuts are all available in bulk. When you get home and cook them up, be sure to double the batch and freeze what you aren’t using so you have fresh stuff ready to go for the next time you need it – money saving and time efficient!

When You Are at Home …

Make Your Own Snacks and Desserts

These “specialty” items cost a fortune. Kale chips and chocolate chip cookies are two of my favorites in this category.  I can make them significantly cheaper than the $6 bag (of kale chips) at my Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s. Every once in a while, it is fun to splurge, but consider making your own dips, roasted nuts, granola bars, and popcorn. You’ll save money while getting in touch with your inner chef goddess!

Reinvent Your Leftovers

Leftovers are great for lunch, but don’t miss out on an opportunity to repurpose last night’s dinner into a new meal for later in the week. For example, those Greek pitas and saffron rice from Sunday’s dinner can be transformed into a Mediterranean “arroz con pollo” with a different side veggie. You are cleaning out your fridge, making a healthy meal, and saving money all at the same time!

With the proper planning, delicious, healthy food is always available on budget and on schedule! Happy eating!

Editor’s Note: Thanks again, Stephanie. We follow many of these tips to help minimize our grocery costs and still eat well. If you would like to guest post at The Heavy Purse, please review my guest post policy and contact me.

About the Author:
Stephanie Dreyer, VeegMamaStephanie Dreyer is a writer and the founder of VeegMama, a lifestyle blog sharing her ideas and thoughts on healthy living. She encourages her readers to live their best life every day through food, wellness, and personal fulfillment. She is also a children’s book writer and mom to Gaby, Alex, and Jake. Stephanie has been featured in Today’s Innovative Woman Magazine, and is a contributing author in the book, Sexy Fit and Fab Sirens, to be released later this month. You can visit her at veegmama.com and can connect with with her via FacebookTwitterInstagram, or Pinterest.

July 30, 2014  •  13 Comments  •  Guest Posts

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Comments

  1. Wednesday, July 30th, 2014
    My favorite tip here is to shop once a week. I always do this and it helps me stay within my budget. I'm also able to compare what I spend weekly, which is a nice bonus.
  2. Wednesday, July 30th, 2014
    These are great tips Stephanie! We do a lot of these things in our family. We made the move to a largely plant based diet at the beginning of the year and have been amazed that we can do the majority of our shopping at Costco and still stay within our budget. We like to make our weekly meal plan flexible so we can switch meals around if need be, but still keep them within that week. It helps us stay to a plan but also have the ability to switch things up a little if we want,
  3. Wednesday, July 30th, 2014
    Thank you for all the great suggestions. Many of them I already follow myself. But there were a few in there that I will certainly put into practice.
  4. Wednesday, July 30th, 2014
    Excellent tips for meal planning and grocery shopping. We too started eating a plant based diet in April, but I struggle to find new meal ideas. We are not into eating beans, but I do add some rice or pasta to our dishes, and I bake with Almond flour when I make muffins or pancakes. I need to head over to your site now to find other suggestions :-)
  5. Wednesday, July 30th, 2014
    We also shop once a week and it keeps us from buying too much stuff that could go bad. We also joined a CSA, which is a great way to get fresh vegetables from a local farm.
  6. Wednesday, July 30th, 2014
    We definitely avoid the pre-cut and convenience produce options. It's amazing how much more the store will charge for something that will only take a few minutes of your time. There are a few extra steps; however, over time it literally saves 100s of dollars.
  7. Wednesday, July 30th, 2014
    All very good tips! It can be a little expensive eating a healthy diet, but with proper planning the costs can be significantly reduced.
  8. Wednesday, July 30th, 2014
    If you can wash and cut up produce as soon as you get home that goes really far at reducing food waste. I never feel like doing it if I wait until I get off work to start dinner and then things sit there and go bad.
  9. Wednesday, July 30th, 2014
    We do many of these things. I think the hardest thing for us is meal planning. I'm a picky eater and my wife doesn't eat beef or pork. We've been getting LOTS of fruits and veggies and cutting them up at the beginning of the week. It makes it easy to get plenty of fruits and veggies throughout the week.
  10. Thursday, July 31st, 2014
    We follow most of these tips already! I don't mind spending more money for healthy foods. The key for us is forcing everyone to eat leftovers. I feel fortunate that my kids are cooperate most of the time.
  11. Thursday, July 31st, 2014
    I always envy people who are savvy with shopping and do it in a very healthy way. This is one of the biggest problem areas in my budget.
  12. Friday, August 1st, 2014
    Great tips! Our biggest thing was planning out our meals and only going to the grocery store once per week. We are able to get everything we need and avoid those small, sneaky purchases that add to the budget and the waistline. It's always hard to pass up a good ice cream...
  13. Saturday, August 2nd, 2014
    Love these tips Stephanie! I make sure to put a list together before I go...keeps me on task (almost like it's a game to check off my items). I also only shop once a week (unless there is an emergency). I feel the more you go the more you spend.
Shannon Ryan SHANNON RYAN, CFP®
  • Meet Shannon

    "As a Certified Financial Planner, it is my passion to help individuals and families build a healthy relationship with money. I look forward to helping you raise financially confident kids.” - Shannon Ryan
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