We can all stand to improve our diets a little. However, one of the barriers that we encounter on a regular basis is the expense of eating healthy.  The cost of stocking up a larder full of whole foods can quickly add up, while pre-prepared meals seem to keep getting cheaper. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be so. Here are a few tips you can use to cut the costs of healthy eating significantly.

Identify how much you’re spending on junk

First, let’s address whether you’re really spending less to eat unhealthily than you would if you switched up your diet. Cutting junk food from your life and unhealthy treats from your shopping trips is a small change but an impactful one. Plus, junk food is one of the most frequent impulse buys that dips into your budget every time you need to take a trip to the store.

Plan your meals in advance

Meal planning not only helps you put together a healthy eating schedule for the week. It also takes a closer look at your shopping list and what you need to get those meals together. As such, you can use meal planning apps like eMeals to ensure you’re choosing multiple recipes using the same ingredients. It can cut down the size of your shopping list while also ensuring you’re not wasteful, letting extra food go uneaten.

Grow your own instead

Produce seeds are much, much cheaper than buying fresh produce. If you have the garden space for it, consider growing more of the ingredients you incorporate in your meal. Besides, gardening and seeing your efforts pay off with delicious meals can be both relaxing and incredibly self-affirming. As Nate Dodson shows, you can even grow the microgreens that can make your health meals a lot more flavorful. Consider starting a plot of homegrown goodness on your own property.

Don’t buy into fads

If there’s anything that can swell your health eating budget, it’s those fads that always seem to come around. Cleansing teas, meal replacement shakes, unproved supplements and the like. What’s more, they’re often part of multi-level marketing companies that can get you into some bad investments and financial habits. It’s best to keep your health push natural and make changes to your diet.

Consider cutting meat

It can be a challenge for some people, but the truth is that the meat you buy is going to be one of the biggest weights on your budget throughout the week. You don’t have to go full vegetarian, but even trying one meat free day with meal ideas from The Kitchn can help you slim down your food budget considerably. You might even find yourself liking it and incorporating more meatless meals into your regulars.

While cutting costs is important, you should also consider your health as an investment. Not only in the quality of your life, but eating healthily makes you feel more energetic, engaged, and better at dealing with stress, all of which can be a boost to your career and, in time, your earning potential.

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