Being on a budget and eating healthily can sometimes feel like mutually exclusive concepts — the supermarket aisles are full of temptations and unhealthy convenience foods, while the produce section can be prohibitively expensive for those watching their pennies.
However, it is possible to eat clean on a budget – you just need to know how. This guide will show you how to eat clean on a budget, with tips and tricks for healthy eating that won’t break the bank.
What is Clean Eating?
Clean eating is all about consuming whole, unprocessed foods. That means incorporating plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats into your diet, and avoiding processed foods, sugary drinks, and unhealthy snacks.
While the term “clean eating” can sometimes have elitist connotations, it doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming – you can easily find affordable clean foods at your local supermarket.
Clean eating on a budget is all about making smart choices – both in the grocery store and in the kitchen. With a few simple tips, you can save money and eat healthy, delicious meals that will leave you feeling your best.
How Easy Is Clean Eating on a Budget
When it comes to budget, clean eating isn’t as hard as you might think. All it takes is a little planning and some smart shopping habits.
However, depending on your current diet, your lifestyle, and even whether you are single or have a family, you may find that some of the tips below work better for you than others.
For example, if you’re living alone, it may be easier for you to shop in bulk or buy frozen fruits and vegetables than if you have a large family. Also, if you have kids who are picky eaters, you may find that it’s best to focus on finding easy and affordable meals they will eat.
Start by familiarizing yourself with what clean eating entails. Knowing what foods are considered clean will make it easier to plan healthy, affordable meals that fit into your budget.
It’s also important to plan your meals in advance. This helps you avoid overspending and making unhealthy decisions when you’re low on time. Planning your meals can also help you buy in bulk, which is an easy way to save money on clean foods.
Finally, make sure to shop the sales and take advantage of seasonal produce. You can often find great deals on fresh fruits and vegetables that are in season, so keep an eye out for discounts.
Tips for Healthy Eating on a Budget
Eating clean and healthy on a budget is yet another example of how a little bit of planning can go a long way.
Here are some tips and tricks for healthy eating while staying within your budget, and still, enjoying delicious meals:
Avoid Processed and Packaged Food
As you already know, processed and packaged foods are loaded with unhealthy ingredients like sugar, salt, and unhealthy fats.
They are also generally more expensive than their unprocessed counterparts. Processed foods are not only bad for your health, but they’re also bad for your wallet.
By avoiding processed foods, you can save money and eat healthier at the same time.
When you’re trying to eat clean on a budget, your best bet is to avoid processed and packaged foods as much as possible. Instead, opt for whole, unprocessed foods like fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins.
Whole foods are not only healthier for you, but they’re also usually more affordable than processed foods.
For example, a package of pre-made sushi costs significantly more than a pack of nori seaweed wraps, which can be used to make your own sushi at home.
The same goes for other processed foods like chicken nuggets, frozen pizzas, and microwaveable meals. These convenience foods may be tempting, but they’re not worth the money – or the health risks.
Make a Budget-Friendly Grocery List
Making a grocery list is an essential part of eating clean on a budget. Planning your meals in advance will help you save money by avoiding impulse purchases at the store.
To make a budget-friendly grocery list, start by planning your meals for the week. Then, make a list of all the ingredients you need to make those meals.
When you’re at the store, stick to your list – and resist the temptation to buy unhealthy snacks or processed foods that are not on your list.
For your clean eating meals, choose budget-friendly foods like rice, beans, eggs, and oatmeal. These staples are not only affordable, but they’re also versatile – you can use them in a variety of recipes.
Fruits and vegetables are also great choices for clean eating on a budget. Fresh produce can be expensive, but frozen fruits and vegetables are often more affordable – and they’re just as healthy.
When you’re making your grocery list, be sure to check for sales and coupons. You can often find great deals on clean foods like whole grain bread, lean protein, and fresh produce. By taking advantage of sales and coupons, you can save even more money on your groceries.
Cook at Home
Simple as it sounds, one of the best ways to save money on food is to cook at home. Eating out – even just for a quick lunch – can add up quickly. And when you’re trying to eat clean, restaurant meals are often not an option.
Cooking at home may seem like a hassle, but it doesn’t have to be. With a little planning, you can make quick and easy meals that are both healthy and delicious.
And, cooking at home gives you the opportunity to control the ingredients in your food, so you can be sure you’re eating clean.
If you’re new to cooking, start with simple recipes that only require a few ingredients. There are plenty of healthy, budget-friendly recipes available online – just do a quick search for “clean eating recipes on a budget.”
As you become more comfortable in the kitchen, you can start to experiment with more complex recipes. But, even if you’re not a master chef, you can still cook simple, healthy meals at home.
Forget about All the Trends and Trendy Foods
There are a lot of trendy products out there that claim to help you have a healthy diet. Most of the time, however, these products are not necessary.
The truth is, you don’t need to add saffron to your smoothies or get truffles for your meals to have a healthy, clean diet.
Not only are these trendy foods unnecessary, but they’re also often very expensive. By avoiding these trendy foods, you can save money and stick to a more budget-friendly diet.
Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule. If you find a trend that you really enjoy and that fits into your budget, then by all means, go for it.
But, in general, it’s best to stick to simple, affordable foods when you’re trying to eat clean on a budget, no matter what the latest trends might be.
Focus on eating whole, unprocessed foods instead of buying into the latest food trend. These trendy ingredients and foods are often expensive – and they’re not necessarily any healthier than the staples.
Buy in Bulk When You Can
Lastly, try to buy in bulk when you can. This may not be possible for all of the foods on your list, but it’s definitely worth considering for items like rice, beans, and oatmeal.
Buying in bulk usually saves money in the long run. And, if you have extra space in your pantry or freezer, it’s easy to store these bulk items until you need them.
Of course, you don’t want to buy more food than you can realistically use. But, if you have the space and you know you’ll use it, buying in bulk is a great way to save money on your clean eating diet.
When Your Family Sabotages Your Eating Plan
We all know that it can be a challenge to stay on track with a healthy diet. But, when your family sabotages your eating plan, it can be even harder.
Just start my making it clear whether they really mean it, or if they just need to joke or tease you. If they are serious, then make sure that everyone in the family is on board with your healthy eating plan.
Make it clear what types of foods you can and cannot eat. Explain why you’re avoiding certain unhealthy foods, and offer alternative meals or snacks for those times when you can’t be around to cook a healthy meal.
If your family insists on giving you unhealthy food, politely decline and offer a healthier option instead. You can also suggest going out for dinner or ordering in healthier take-out options that everyone in the family can enjoy.
Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help from your family when cooking healthy meals. Even though it may seem like they’re sabotaging your eating plan, they may actually be willing to help if you just ask.
By involving your family in your healthy eating plan, you can get the support you need to stay on track – and avoid unhealthy temptation. Plus, the tension can quickly be eased by simply communicating.
Don’t Miss These Clean Eating Resources
Since Healthy Living Guide is not only about clean eating on a budget, but also about healthy living in general, we’re not trying to pretend what we know is the absolute truth. Therefore, we encourage everyone to research further and explore more resources on clean eating that are available online.
If you’re interested in this topic and would like to do some further research before making any changes to your diet, be sure to check out the following resources.
- Clean Eating by Harvard School of Public Health
- 9 Ways to Eat Clean by WebDM
- Clean-Eating Meal Plan for Beginners by Eating Well
- Everything from this Clean Eating Magazine!
By taking the time to do your research, you can create a healthy eating plan that works for you – and also fits into your budget.
With the right resources and tools, it’s possible to eat clean on a budget. So go ahead and give it a try! You might be surprised at how good clean eating can taste.
Easy Clean Eating Recipes For Beginners
For absolute beginners, we’ve put together a list of 5 easy clean eating recipes to get started. You don’t need to spend hours in the kitchen to make a delicious, nutritious meal. With just to get your family familiar with clean eating.
1. Sheet Pan Salmon & Broccolini
This recipe is both healthy and delicious, and requires minimal prep time. It’s also a great way to get your protein and veggies in one dish.
If you’re not a fan of salmon, you can substitute it with your favorite fish and the recipe will still be delicious.
2. Cauliflower Fried Rice
This easy fried rice alternative uses cauliflower instead of white rice and is packed with veggies. It’s perfect for a healthy dinner that the whole family can enjoy.
If you want to add more protein, you can also add cooked chicken or ground beef to the mix, or use any leftover protein you have.
3. Sweet Potato Hash
This sweet potato hash is a hearty and flavorful meal that can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
It’s also very versatile – you can add any of your favorite vegetables to the mix, or swap out the sweet potatoes for regular potatoes if desired.
4. Slow Cooker Chicken Soup
No one can say no to a hearty bowl of chicken soup! This slow cooker version is full of vegetables and shredded chicken, and requires minimal effort.
It’s a great way to get your family eating healthy without too much work in the kitchen. Served with a side of whole grain toast or a salad, it makes the perfect comforting meal.
5. Avocado Toast
This simple avocado toast makes for an easy and healthy breakfast or snack. You can top it with anything you like – from eggs to tomatoes, mushrooms or smoked salmon.
It’s also very customizable – if you’re not a fan of avocado, you can substitute it with your favorite spread or topping.
There you have it — 5 easy clean eating recipes to get your family started on a new way of eating.
Eating clean doesn’t need to be complicated or expensive – with the right recipes and ingredients, anyone can create healthy meals that are both nutritious and budget-friendly.
So go ahead and give it a try! You’ll be surprised at how delicious clean eating can be, regardless of your budget. Stick with the best yo can afford, and you’ll be on your way to a healthier life.
Frequently Asked Questions
As usual, we’ll dive into some frequently asked questions about the clean eating diet. Hopefully these will help clear up any confusion and give you a better understanding of how to get started with this style of eating.
Q: What is the biggest myth about clean eating?
A: Although there are many myths about clean eating and healthy eating, the biggest one is that you need to eat expensive, organic foods in order to get the most nutrition.
In reality, it’s possible to eat clean without spending a fortune – just stick to whole foods and avoid processed or packaged items as much as possible.
Another myth is that eating clean means cutting out all sweets and treats. While you should limit your intake of processed sugars and other unhealthy ingredients, it’s possible to find healthy alternatives to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Try making natural desserts with fresh fruits or baking healthier versions of your favorite treats using whole grain flours and natural sweeteners.
Q: Is clean eating expensive?
A: Not necessarily. Depending on where you shop, certain items may be more expensive than others.
However, there are plenty of ways to save money while still eating clean. Buying in bulk and shopping for seasonal produce is a great way to keep costs down.
Q: Can I eat out while following the clean eating diet?
A: Yes! It’s possible to find restaurants that offer clean eating options. Look for restaurants that serve fresh, whole foods and avoid anything processed or fried.
Q: How do I eat lean and clean on a budget?
A: You’ll need to plan ahead and be mindful of where you shop. Stick to buying whole foods that are nutrient-dense, such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, legumes, and whole grains. Avoid processed or packaged foods whenever possible.
Additionally, look for discounts on specialty items like organic produce or grass-fed beef when shopping at health food stores. With proper budget planning and meal prepping, you can easily follow the clean eating diet without breaking your budget.
Q: How can I eat under $20 a week?
A: This really depends on where you shop and how much time you have to meal prep. Look for discounted produce, buy in bulk when possible, and check out local farmer’s markets for fresh produce at lower prices.
Additionally, look for simple recipes that use a few basic ingredients. Making meals from scratch is often cheaper than buying pre-made items.
Finally, take advantage of leftovers so that you can stretch your dollars further and avoid waste. Don’t be afraid to get creative and experiment with different recipes — you may be surprised at what you come up with!
Q: What are the 3 P’s for eating healthy on a budget?
A: The 3 P’s for eating healthy on a budget are Plan, Prep and Portion. First, plan your meals ahead of time to ensure you buy only what you need at the grocery store.
Second, do some meal prepping so that you have easy-to-grab options throughout the week. You save both time and money!
Third, portion out your meals accordingly — this will help save money and prevent food waste. So, instead of cooking whole meals for each person, divvy up the ingredients into individual servings and store them separately. This will help you control portion sizes and avoid wasting food.
Q: How do I eat healthy on a budget without spending lots of time in the kitchen?
A: We feel you! Eating healthy on a budget doesn’t have to be complicated or time consuming. When it comes to time saving, meal prepping is key.
Spend an hour or two on the weekend to cook a few meals for the upcoming week, such as casseroles, soups, salads and sandwiches. You can also make big batches of grains like quinoa or brown rice, which you can use all week in various dishes throughout the week.
Additionally, take advantage of canned items that are low in sodium and free of additives. Look for frozen fruits and vegetables as well — they can be cheaper than fresh produce, and just as nutritious.
Lastly, keep an eye out for recipes that use fewer ingredients or take less time to cook — these will also help you save time and money!
Clean eating is all about eating real, whole foods that are minimally processed. It doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive either — with the right recipes and ingredients, anyone can create healthy meals that fit within a budget.
Meal prepping and planning ahead are key to saving time and money — so don’t forget to take advantage of leftovers and discounts when shopping!
Keeping up with the clean eating lifestyle is easier than it seems — just focus on whole foods and you’ll be well on your way to a healthier you.
Ready to get started? Give one of these 5 easy clean eating recipes a try and see how delicious healthy food can be!