18 Simple Ways to Eat Healthy on a Budget

Eating healthy doesn’t have to wreak havoc on your budget. Here are 18 Simple Ways to Eat Healthy on a Budget.

Basket of fruit and vegetables Healthy eating on a budget
This post may contain affiliate links. You can read my full disclosure here.

Love printables? Sign up here to access my free resource library that has meal planning printables such as shopping lists and favorite meal worksheets.

When most people think of eating healthy the first thought that comes to mind is how expensive it is. They want to get healthier but convince themselves that they can’t afford it so they fall back into their unhealthy eating habits.

A few years ago, after visiting my doctor I was told that I needed to improve my diet. Since we were trying to save money, I became concerned about how we were going to manage to buy more wholesome foods but still stay within budget.

So, I began to research ways you can save money and still eat better. I was happy to see that I was doing many of the tips already such as meal planning, making a list, and planting a garden.

Through the years, I have found many other ways that help our budget while still making smart choices about the food we eat.

Hopefully, the list will inspire you to start eating healthier even if you are on a tight budget.

Grocery bag with fruits and vegetables to eat healthy

18 Simple Ways to Eat Healthy on a Budget

Plan Ahead

As with anything when you are trying to save money, the first thing you should always do is set a budget. It will help you make smart choices about where your money is going.

It’s important before making a meal plan or just a grocery list to decide what you want to spend and stick with it. When money is tight this is the very best way to take control of your finances.

Meal Plan

Meal Planning can save you hundreds on your groceries. It’s a must if you want to eat healthier on a small budget. It does take time but it’s worth the effort that you put in.  If you are unfamiliar with meal planning and what it entails you can check out my Beginner’s Guide to Meal Planning to discover how easy and effective it is to save the most amount of money on your grocery budget.

Do you want to save more money on your groceries?

Shop Sales

Make sure and look at weekly circulars before heading to the grocery store to see what is on sale. The front page is usually where most of the best deals will be displayed.

A quick and simple way to find all of the ads in your area is to install the Flipp app. It’s a shopping app that lets you view weekly circulars right on your phone.

fruits and vegetables

Buy Produce in Season

An easy way to save money on produce is to purchase it when it’s in season. You’ve probably already noticed that berries are less expensive in the summer than in the winter. Here are some more examples of the types of fruits and vegetables that you will get for a cheaper price during different times of the year.

  • Summer: watermelon, zucchini, summer squash, blueberries, raspberries, tomatoes, strawberries, and cucumbers.
  • Fall: apples, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, potatoes, pears, grapes, and cabbage.
  • Winter: bananas, oranges, apples, grapefruit, lemons, broccoli, and avocados.
  • Spring: apricots, mangoes, pineapples, mushrooms, lettuce, and asparagus.

Avoid Prepackaged Foods

Although you may be tempted to grab the ready-made packages of cut-up produce, it’s not a good idea if you are trying to save money. You are just paying for the convenience.

A better option is to cut up your produce and store it in containers when you get home. They will keep your produce fresh and you’ll be saving money in the long run.

Compare Prices

Make sure you are comparison shopping if you are on a budget. This will allow you to get the best deals. It’s not necessary to be loyal to one store. Go where you are going to find the most savings.

Purchase Generic Brands

Did you know that store brands can sell products cheaper because they don’t have to worry about high marketing costs and the fancy labels that name-brand products have? This allows them to pass the savings on to us.

The best part is that most of the time the generic products taste just as good (and sometimes better).

Meatless Meals

When you sit down to make out a meal plan, try incorporating meatless meals into the mix. Try cooking with beans or eggs instead to get your protein in.

Buy in Bulk

Buy large packages of inexpensive meat to split up and use for multiple meals. If you own a slow cooker, it helps tenderize the meat. An air fryer is also an amazing small appliance that allows you to fry your food in a more healthy way with only a very small amount of oil.

You may also like:

vegetable plants growing in garden

Plant a Garden

If you have space, then putting in a garden will be worth the time and effort.  There is nothing better than fresh vegetables from your garden.

Although, we don’t have a big yard we manage to grow tomatoes, beans, peas, zucchini, peppers, squash, and onions in our raised vegetable gardens.

The best part is that you’re able to can or freeze the vegetables so you can enjoy them through the winter months allowing you to stretch your budget even further.

You May Like:

Use Frozen Fruits and Vegetables

A good alternative to fresh fruits and vegetables is to buy frozen ones. They are usually less expensive and you can buy large packages.  They not only go further but last longer. If you are on a budget and want to find ways to get more fruits and vegetables in your diet then buying frozen may be the way to go.

To save even more money you could also buy canned fruits and vegetables. Just make sure that the fruit is in 100% fruit juice and the vegetables have lower sodium or no salt added.

Meal Prep

Meal Prep is a good way to not only save time in the kitchen but also save you money and your sanity. You don’t have to worry about what to make and it encourages you to eat healthier because you will have affordable meals waiting for you whenever you would like.

Related:30 Easy Make-Ahead Lunch Ideas

Some easy ways you can save on meal prep are:

  • Divide leftovers from dinner to use for lunches.
  • Double your recipe for dinner and freeze the extra to use at a later time.
  • Roast a whole chicken in the oven and use it for multiple dinners.

If you have an instant pot you can cook chicken breasts, shred and use them for many meals such as fajitas, wraps, and salads.

More instant pot recipes you can try:

After you decide which way you would like to meal prep for the week, all you have to do is divide the extra meals into separate containers. These plastic containers work great to store your meals.

Just be aware that if there is meat in any of your meals, then it probably won’t last more than 4 days in the fridge. So it may be beneficial to stick a label or use a dry-erase marker to keep track.

Cook at Home

Avoid the drive-thru and cook dinner at home. It’s not only healthier but it will save you a ton of money each year.

If you are missing take-out at some of your favorite places, you can always search for copycat recipes on Pinterest. When you prepare your meals at home, you are in charge of the ingredients so you can make recipes healthier for you and your family.

Recipe ideas for cooking at home:

Food Swaps

If you are trying to eat healthier but find you are struggling because everywhere you look are things you can’t eat.

Try a few of these budget-friendly food swaps to help you resist temptation:

  • popcorn instead of chips
  • oatmeal with cinnamon instead of cereal
  • sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes
  • ground turkey instead of ground beef

Are you craving something sweet? How about a bowl of fruit with a tablespoon of fat-free whipped topping?

Related: 35 Easy and Healthy Summer Snacks

filling up a glass with water from the faucet

Drink More Water

Skip the soda and opt for water instead. Water is a great way to cut back on sugary drinks and it will save you so much money in the process

Grocery Store Pickup

I recently started using Walmart grocery pick-up and I am in love. I have found that it saves me so much money because I don’t have to worry about buying things impulsively or adding additional items to my cart while I’m in the store. 

Use Ibotta

Ibotta is a money-saving app that allows you to get cashback on purchases you make anyway.

Before you shop, open the app to check out available offers. Then, simply purchase the product and take a picture of your receipt. It’s that easy. Your cashback will be deposited in your account within 48 hours.


Eat Simpler Meals

The best way to save the most money when you are trying to eat healthy on a budget is to eat simple meals. Focus on protein, vegetables, fruit, and whole grains.  I found this worked best for me when starting my healthy eating journey. When I didn’t overcomplicate things it was easier to keep going.

As you can see, there are many ways that you can eat healthy on a budget. You don’t have to spend a lot of money when it comes to healthy eating. The key is to plan ahead before you shop so you can avoid unhealthy and expensive impulse purchases.

You may also like:

Don’t forget to sign up for my Free Resource Library where you can find meal planning, shopping list printables, and more.

Follow me on Pinterest for even more ways to eat healthy on a budget.