I hear lots of moms complain that it's too expensive to eat healthy. But it doesn't have to cost a lot of money to make sure that your family is eating a nutritious diet. All it takes is a little planning ahead...
- Buy in season. Prices will be cheapest if you buy food that's in season (tomatoes and zucchini in the summer, greens in the spring, etc.). Plus, this ensures that your family will have a varied diet, which is key for eating healthy.
- Eat less meat. Eating a lot of meat can increase your risk for heart disease. But if your family can't imagine a meal without meat then don't eliminate it altogether; just cut back on the serving size. Try 3-4 ounces per person instead of the traditional 6-8. Also, create meals—like pasta or vegetable stir-frys—where meat isn't the main focus of the meal but a tasty condiment or treat instead.
- Grow your own. A great way to save money on healthy foods like vegetables, greens, and fresh herbs for your family is to plant a garden and avoid the produce section altogether.
- Cook whole foods. Skip frozen, prepared, and pre-made foods in favor of whole foods like produce, dried fruits and nuts, fresh fish and meats, dairy, and fresh-baked whole grain bread. For example, make your own tomato sauce instead of using sauce from a jar, which often can be high in sugar. A good rule of thumb is to stick to the perimeter of the grocery store where these whole foods are usually found; the middle aisles are usually where you find the overly-processed foods.
- Plan ahead. Grocery lists and meal plans are essential for helping moms keep track of 1) which foods, vitamins, and nutrients your family is eating on a daily basis and 2) how much you are spending on food each week. Check out $5 Dinners, Once a Month Mom, and Organizing Junkie for menu plans.
How do you stick to a budget but still make sure that your family eats healthy?