5 Tips for Eating Healthily on a Budget

Easy healthy meal everyday

Diet and nutrition are essential components of maintaining a well-rounded healthy lifestyle. It can be easy to fall into a routine of ordering food on the go, but restaurant options are not always healthy and can quickly add up to become a sizable monthly expense. To perform your best at school and work, it is crucial to fuel your body with nutritious food that won’t put a strain on your funds. The NCT Health, Wellness and Community Services (HWCS) team is available to support your health goals, but this blog will explore five practical tips and strategies to get you started on your own journey toward healthy and budget-friendly eating.

Start meal planning

Meal planning is an excellent way to save money and be prepared for the coming week. To create your meal plan, you first need to decide what you would like to eat for the week. Researching recipes online can help you find meals that are relatively simple to cook and give you a variety of different flavours to choose from. Additionally, be sure to take into account the perishability of the food you choose for the week to avoid waste and to ensure your food remains fresh until you are ready to cook it.

After you have decided what you want to eat, create a grocery list of the ingredients you will need to purchase for your meals. Collect all the coupons you can to get deals at the grocery store of your choice as well.

Once you are in the grocery shop, stick to your list to save money and time and reduce unnecessary food waste.

If you live with others and share groceries and cooking duties, tackle your meal plan together by assigning roles so everyone can chip in. This will help you budget for meals and coordinate your efforts.

Compare prices

Comparing the prices of items at various grocery stores is helpful when you are trying to save money and trying to eat healthily on a budget. It’s best to avoid convenience stores and specialty retailers, as they often charge much more for similar items than other grocery stores. You can also compare prices between brands and choose the most affordable option. In the majority of cases, the store brand option will be cheaper than the name brand for similar items. Lastly, many large retailers will offer price matching. That means, if you prefer to shop at store A but store B offers a particular product for a better price, store A will match store B’s price. Just ask an employee first if they offer price matching and bring flyers from competing grocery stores to ensure you receive the best deal you can.

Shop smarter

While you are shopping, there are some key factors to keep in mind when trying to shop for healthy foods on a budget. These can include buying fruits and vegetables when they are in season or choosing frozen fruits and veggies that will last longer.

You can also substitute expensive meats with less expensive ones, such as chuck steak instead of sirloin, or ground meat instead of poultry. In addition, substitute highly processed meats in exchange for plant-based protein, such as beans and legumes.

It’s easy to become side-tracked while shopping, especially if you are hungry. So, have a meal or snack before going grocery shopping and avoid aisles offering junk food.

Stock up

Stocking up while on grocery trips is another way to save money when shopping. The best way to stock up on your groceries is by buying in bulk, which is purchasing large quantities of food in a single package. This is generally much cheaper and will last you considerably longer. Some of the best foods to buy in bulk include oats, rice, pasta, beans, canned food, and dried fruit and nuts, which can be found at bulk retailers such as Bulk Barn . When stored properly, these items can provide you with numerous nutritious meals for weeks to come.

Embrace leftovers

Finally, embracing leftovers will help you save a large amount of money over the long term. Freezing and refrigerating meals can make them last longer. Cooking slightly larger meals that leave leftovers for the next day’s lunch will ensure you have a healthy, cost-effective, and low-effort meal option when you’re on the go the next day.

Using the ingredients, you have at home will also help you create easy meals and save a considerable amount of money. The more you incorporate easy snacks and try different recipes, the better you will become at creating your own meals, relying much less on buying food from expensive restaurants.

Eating healthily on a budget requires careful planning, discipline, and some creativity. However, by following these tips, you will be well on your way to creating a healthy and affordable diet to fit your student budget.
For more information on eating healthily and prioritizing your well-being, contact the HWCS team at hwcs@niagaracollegetoronto.ca.


Health, Wellness and Community Services