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How to Eat Healthy on a Budget

People have become more health conscious in recent years. By exercising and eating a healthy diet, we know we’re making a good investment in our lives. Unfortunately, processed foods tend to be cheaper than lean meats, fresh fruits, and vegetables.

When you’re on a tight budget and always in a rush, it’s sometimes easier to hit a fast food restaurant or just microwave a frozen dinner - meals full of sodium, sugar, and saturated fat. So how can you eat healthy and within a budget? Here are a few tips:

1. Slow down. Eating healthy requires a little time and attention. Many people rush through their days, wolfing down their meals mindlessly to hurry to the next appointment. Give yourself a little time to shop mindfully, prepare your food, and fully savor your meal.

2. Buy produce in season and freeze it. Fruits and vegetables cost more when they have to be shipped from far-away lands that can still grow produce in November. Buy these items locally, in season, and freeze them for use in the winter.

3. Start your own vegetable garden. You can easily grow lettuce and tomatoes in small planters on a balcony or, if you have a yard, stake out a few feet to grow even more.

4. Buy in bulk. Many grocery stores offer dry goods in bulk, saving you the usual packaging costs. You can also save on meat by buying in larger quantities and re-wrapping in smaller, meal-sized portions. Freeze those portions to use for weeks to come.

5. Check your dining-out habit. If you eat at restaurants often, the habit is taking a big bite out of your wallet. On average, a restaurant meal costs almost 5 times more than a home-made meal. It’s also more difficult to make healthy decisions when eating out. Save dining out for special occasions. 

Copyright 2019 Credit Union National Association Inc.