How to Eat Healthy for Under $5 a Day

Women in a Publix grocery store: Tallahassee, ...

Image by State Library and Archives of Florida via Flickr

It may surprise you to know that eating healthy can actually be less expensive than eating unhealthy. Health products advertised by grocery stores and manufacturers love to charge significant premiums for their “health benefits,” but what you are actually paying for is the marketing and advertising campaigns used to shove these products down your throat, no pun intended. If you are willing to do a little kitchen work, which by the way will burn a few calories, you can eat healthy for under $5 per day. Here is how.

1. Eat smaller meals and increase meal frequency.

6 small meals a day rather than 3 large ones will increase your metabolism, helping with weight loss. The good part about this is that most of these small meals should include raw fruits and vegetables, which tend to cost the least of any food group in the grocery store. Eating raw fruits and vegetables is like giving your digestive system a workout, which increases its functionality, also helping in weight loss.

2. Combine simple ingredients.

Celery with peanut butter and raisins, or frogs on a log, is one of the healthiest, easiest, and cheapest complete meals to make (not to mention those flavors happen to go quite well together; frogs on a log is quite tasty). Fruit smoothies are also one of the cheapest forms of healthy, tasty eating around. Buying a fruit blender will pay for itself in spades, not to mention saving you trips to those overpriced smoothie and coffee joints.

3. Buy meats raw and fresh and combine them with cheap bases and raw vegetables to form excellent soups.

Complete meals come quite cheaply in soups, if you are willing to mix the ingredients yourself. Great bases include water, egg, and tomato puree. Though meat is relatively expensive, if you want it, you can divvy it up among the week so that the daily cost is quite low. Meats are quite unhealthy in the quantity in which we eat them. Try smaller portions.

4. Buy in season and buy local.
Often you pay for the shipping costs of certain items without even knowing it. Regular trips to the farmer’s market can remedy that problem. Also, buying in season is basic economics — more supply equals lower cost. If you buy out of season, there are less of that item to be had, so people will feel justified in charging you more. Buy fruits in season and freeze them for later.

5. Hunt the coupon sections.

This goes without saying, but those annoying leaflets that your mailbox gets spammed with sometimes have some great deals. Be prepared to show the cashier, as many times they are not even aware of half the deals that are being offered.

This article was contributed by Jane Sanders from Debt Management. Check out her site for more financial tips and debt management help.

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