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How to Eat Healthy on a Budget

With the rising cost of food, many people are struggling to stretch their food dollars and think that eating healthy just costs too much.  But eating healthy doesn’t have to break your family budget.  Here are a few tips to a healthy diet… all on a budget.

Cheap Proteins — According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the average American should consume 10% to 35% of their day’s calories from protein foods. That’s about 46 grams of protein for women, and 56 grams of protein for men.  Here are the 10 cheapest sources of protein according to the fitness website StrongLifts.com:

  1. Canned Tuna. 40g protein/can. Buy tuna in spring water or brine. Don’t worry about the mercury: 1 can chunk light tuna per day is safe.
  2. Whole Eggs. 7g protein/egg. Lower your body fat rather than throwing the yolk away if you have bad cholesterol. Dietary cholesterol isn’t bound to blood cholesterol, and the yolk contains half the protein and vitamins A/D/E.
  3. Whey. 1 scoop of whey is 24g protein/30g serving. But don’t rely on whey only because it’s cheaper. Vary your protein intake.
  4. Ground Beef. 25g protein/100g. Buy 80% ground beef and rinse the fat if lean beef is too expensive. You can reduce the fat content by as much as 50%. Read THIS on how to rinse ground beef.
  5. Milk. 30g protein/liter milk. If weight is not a problem for you, milk can be okay. Stay away from milk if you want to lose fat.
  6. Frozen Chicken Breast. 25g protein/100g. Cook the frozen chicken breast using a George Foreman Grill. Consume the chicken breast within 2 months of freezing for optimal tenderness & taste.
  7. Cottage Cheese. 12g protein/100g. A half cup of 2% cottage cheese contains on average 16 grams of protein, yet only has 102 calories and two grams of fat (as opposed to other types of cheese, which can be extremely high in fat).
  8. Ground Turkey. 25g protein/100g. Expensive cuts are made from turkey breast. Cheaper cuts can contain skin, which increases the fat content. Rinse the fat like for ground beef using this method.
  9. Canned Mackerel. 23g protein/100g. Canned mackerel is high in omega-3, contains less mercury than canned tuna, and tastes a lot better too.
  10. Calves Liver. 20g protein/100g. Low fat and nutrient dense. Contrary to what you might believe, liver is safe.

Whole Foods — Unprocessed foods are better for you and cheaper than processed foods. A good rule of thumb is to try and avoid anything that comes in a box. Some examples of nutritious whole foods are:

  • Carbs – Rice, oats, pasta, beans, apples, potatoes, broccoli, spinach, bananas, raisins…
  • Fats – Fish oil, olive oil, real butter, flax seeds, nuts…
  • Proteins – Frozen chicken breast, cottage cheese, tuna…

Generic Food — This includes store brands.  With raw foods such as pasta, rice, milk and eggs they all taste just as good as their name brand counterparts and usually a major reduction in cost.

Frozen fruits and Vegetables — Frozen fruits and vegetables can often be had for half the cost of fresh.  Not to mention you can save even more by buying these items in bulk.  It is possible that frozen fruits and veggies can have more nutrients than fresh since they are often picked fresh and frozen right away.

Buy Bulk — Food like rice and pasta are easy to store and last a long time.  If you find these items on sale stock up.  If you are fortunate to have another freezer, you can buy a side of beef and have it processed and store the meat in your freezer.

Coupons — Clipping coupons can save you a lot at the checkout counter.  You don’t have to be one of those people who are obsessed with coupons, just keep a lookout for coupons for the foods that you use.

Stay at Home —You can drastically cut your food costs by preparing your meals at home and using nutritional ingredients.

Eating within a budget doesn’t mean you have to eat unhealthy food.


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