Eating healthy on a budget

eating healthy on a budget

There’s a pervasive belief that eating healthy on a budget just isn’t possible. Canadian families spend between $7,000 to $8,000 dollars yearly on groceries, but how much of this budget is spent on healthy foods? Canadians may want to add more fruits, vegetables and grains to their diet, but many are afraid of doing so, especially if the costs add up. What if these foods rot and you have to throw them out before you can even finish them?

Did you know?

  • Statistics Canada says Canadian families spend approximately $6,000 to $7,000 yearly on groceries, that’s between $400 and $500 monthly
  • An RBC report says Ontario spends the lowest amount on groceries with an average of $379 a month
  • Meanwhile, Quebec spends the highest amount on groceries with an average of $448 a month

Many Canadians may wonder if there is a way to save money and still live a healthy lifestyle.

Jeff Schwartz, executive director of Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada Inc., answers, “Yes, you can save money and still enjoy healthy, delicious food. Planning ahead by purchasing local, unprocessed food and preparing meals at home are some ways to live better. Cooking at home, for example, is an easy way Canadians can cut costs, particularly if you use cheaper ingredients.”

Consolidated Credit provides the following seven tips for eating cheaper and healthier:

Cut junk food – Evaluate how much money you are spending on items with low nutritional value such as sodas, cookies, crackers, prepackaged meals and processed foods. Limit these unhealthy foods to save your wallet and your health.

Dine out less – Reducing restaurant meals by one to two times per week can save you a lot of money. Imagine saving $15 to $30 a week! You may even have extra money to spend on higher quality foods at home.

Make a list – Next time you go to the grocery shop, prepare a grocery list ahead of time to prevent impulse purchases. Write out a grocery list with healthy products and don’t spend unnecessarily.

Buy in bulk – Buying in bulk is another great way to buy food on a budget. Rewrap meat individually and freeze, then thaw as needed. Bulk frozen fruits and vegetables are another bargain you can use.

Make meals from scratch – Cooking your own meals from the start is the best way to control portion sizing and use the food you buy more efficiently. It also helps you control diet busters like excess fat and sodium.

Pack your lunchPacking your lunch the night before you head to school or work is a worthwhile habit that will earn you control over your eating habits. Making your lunch the night before also saves on valuable time in the morning.

Limit alcoholic drinks – One big budget and diet buster is alcoholic beverages. A bottle of light beer packs 100 calories or more, and mixed drinks with pop or other sugary mixers carry a lot more. Limiting intake in this area is an excellent healthy lifestyle choice

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