Want to eat healthy on a budget? Here’s how…

With the obesity epidemic getting worse and worse every year, one thing is clear: people need a solution. Too often, motivation to live a healthier lifestyle gets left by the wayside once someone sees how expensive being healthier actually is.

That’s because most brands force you to pay a premium to purchase the low-fat, low-calorie, or sugar-free versions of their famous foods.

But, that doesn’t mean you can’t find healthier, more affordable options out there. You just have to know how and where to look.

Choose Your Grocery Store Wisely

Newer grocery chains are definitely more aware of their health-conscious consumers, but as a tradeoff for appealing to this demographic, they often mark up the prices of their products and make it difficult to purchase an entire grocery list’s worth of food.

To make it easier on your wallet and attain that summer bod you’ve been shooting for, try searching for healthy affordable grocery stores in your area, like Trader Joe’s, Aldi, Costo, FreshDirect, and Target, to name a few.

Set Limits

While it’s tempting to reach for snacks in every aisle (there’s practically a new oreo flavor every week!), you should really limit your grocery shopping to a list you came up with before you stepped foot in the store, and this list should be based on a dollar amount you’ve allotted toward food that week or month. That way, you know exactly how much you’ll be spending every time you go.

Keep in mind, your grocery budget is a dynamic thing and will likely change according to your needs and children you might have. If you find yourself needing more resources to satisfy you or your family’s appetite, consider setting up an account with an online bank that helps reinforce savings behavior. Every little bit helps!

Optimize Your Grocery List

With your budget established, you can then decide how to make the most out of your grocery list. To have an idea of what to buy, consider reading up online about a few healthy recipes that pique your interest.

Cooking meals from scratch will undoubtedly save you more money than buying premade meals, so you’ll have to peer into the ingredients list and make sure you add every part to your list. While cooking can be laborious at first, rest assured that the more you do it, the quicker you become and the better your food will taste. And what’s better than eating something healthy and delicious while knowing you were the expert chef it originated from?

Buy in Bulk

If you’ve stepped into any grocery store, chances are that you’ve seen how expensive fresh fruit and vegetables can be, especially if they’re out-of-season or not locally grown.

However, you can easily find just about any fruit or vegetable in the frozen food section for a fraction of the price—and the best part, you’ll most likely find them in much greater quantities. Frozen fruits are perfect for making delicious fruit smoothies, and most vegetables need to be cooked to some degree anyway.

You can also find great deals on fish and meat if you buy in bulk. What’s more, most grocery stores will markdown meat if it needs to be sold quickly. If you know you’re going to be cooking it soon or have no problem throwing it in the freezer, this is a great way to nab a quality cut of meat for cheap.