Healthy Eating on a Budget

myplateThis is the fifth post in a seven-part series related to Military Saves Week. Visit us every day this week for tips to help you secure your financial future; from eating healthy on a budget to contributing to your Thrift Savings Plan and getting your kids saving, too.

One of the easiest ways to save money (and your waistline) is by eating healthier.

With all the information that is in the media and on the web about eating a healthy diet, it can be paralyzing getting you and your family started.

I recommend starting with small changes. Actions like drinking water instead of soda, bringing your lunch instead of going out to eat and snacking on fruit instead of chips from a vending machine are all nutritious options that cost little or no money.

Need snack ideas? First Lady Michelle Obama and Big Bird recently raided the White House kitchen for easy snack options in this Lets Move! video:

 

Once you have the small habits established, work on bigger lifestyle changes. Make an effort to eat dinner at home, made from whole foods (vegetables, meat, whole grains and fruit) at least six nights a week. Planning your meals offers a few money saving options as well. Shopping for what’s only on your list helps you stick to a budget and keeps you from wasting food. Also, make meals in double batches that you can freeze, allowing you to choose the healthier, cheaper option on evenings when you’re rushed to get dinner on the table.

Want more information? Check out the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Choose My Plate website, which has a section dedicated to eating healthy on a budget. It includes a sample meal plan[PDF] (hint: copy the meal plan format into a document and create one tailored to your food preferences), tips for saving money when buying fruits and veggies and –if you’re really into numbers– a consumer economics perspective on healthy eating.

For more on Military Saves Week, visit our video playlist on YouTube or visit Military Saves on Facebook and Twitter.

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