Given the condition of the economy, there is nothing wrong with being on a tight budget. In fact, a tight budget will drive you to make economical choices in life that help you discover bang for buck products that you had overlooked before. The problem with making economical choices is that they are often seen as compromises. People assume that they cannot buy certain types of goods and life their life in certain ways if they are on a tight budget. For example, people make the assumption that eating healthy is always an expensive choice. This is not true at all. If there is a will, there is a way.
They say that poor people cannot eat healthy because they do not have the time or the money to cook. This leaves them with nothing other than cheap, unhealthy fast food. Any health expert would tell you that this argument is completely invalid. Take a look at the moms of the yester years. Did they really have all the money and the time in the world to cook healthy meals? Not really. However, they still managed to do so, thanks to their impeccable knowledge of cheap healthy produce. This allowed them to pick out healthy ingredients which were not only inexpensive, but also required minimal time to be prepared and turned into a meal.
If you want to be like those old school moms who had tons of healthy cooking tricks up their sleeves, then simply follow our four tips on eating healthy on a tight budget:
1) Prepare Microwave Friendly Food
We often make the mistake of preparing food that will not taste good once it gets popped into the refrigerator and re-heated the next day. There is no point shoving tasteless food down your throat. That is anything but a healthy practice. Foods in this category include salads, crisps, food with bread and so on. Always pick out food that is microwave friendly, meaning that they taste pretty good even after being re-heated a day or two days later. Chow mien with small pieces of chicken and no vegetables is a dish that you can enjoy for days after preparation. If it is cooked with virgin olive oil and made with freshly diced chicken, it is going to turn out to be a healthy meal on a budget.
2) Be On the Lookout for Cheap, Fresh Produce in the Grocery Stores
Our moms were incredibly good at finding out about the cheapest grocery deals in town. Finding out about these deals will turn out to be a little more difficult in this day and age, given the huge number of outlets out there. However, you still need to do your own research to ensure that you always get your hands on the cheapest fresh produce in the neighbourhood. The Asian grocery stores generally have inexpensive produce and spices on offer.
In an attempt to buy healthy food, do not go around searching for organic food only. It is about time that we stop equating healthy food to organic food, which tends to be quite expensive and out of the reach of the common masses. As long as you know that the vegetables on the shelf are fresh, do not hesitate to buy them if they are on sale.
3) Do Not Judge Food By Its Looks
If you are the kind of person who likes to make assumptions about food simply on the basis of its looks, then you are definitely paying more than what you should for your meals. Americans have an obsession with food that looks immaculate and flawless. A peach, with no spots on its skin, will be sold at a higher price than a peach with a few spots here and there, although the two are more or less of the same quality. Furthermore, people only buy fruit and vegetables from shelves that are fully loaded as opposed to the ones that only have one or two products in them. The last piece of broccoli on the shelf is not necessarily the worst of the bunch. If you can lower your beauty standards, then you will succeed in buying fresh, healthy fruit and vegetables at a lower price.
4) Buy Cheap Proteins
Not all kinds of proteins have the same demand. In fact, different kinds of meat from the same animal will be priced differently based on what the consumer finds tastier. There are certain cuts of pork, beef and chicken that are less expensive than the others. Also, you can always resort to eggs if you are looking for cheap proteins to fill the plate.
Contrary to common belief, proteins do not always have to come from meat or animal products. There are lots of cheap vegetables out there that can provide you with your daily dose of protein. These include sprouted beans, lentils (buy from Asian stores) and peas.