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How to eat healthy on a budget

With food prices on the rise, that $11.99 Little Caesar's 3,700-Calorie meal deal is probably looking better and better.

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After all, for a family of four, a large pizza with Crazy Bread and 2-liter cola costs just $3 per person.

While there’s nothing wrong with enjoying pizza in moderation, there is something wrong with the “healthy foods cost too much” logic.

Because it’s not entirely true. There are more options than many people realize.

If you’re trying to eat nutritious foods while on a tight budget, consider some of these strategies.


1. Choose affordable whole foods.

Despite what some might think, many minimally-processed whole foods cost less than their more processed cousins.

Take the potato. A medium one costs about a dollar less than small fries.

That potato also has a fraction of the calories (161 vs. 220)—as well as more of a wide variety of nutrients. 

The humble potato is just one example of many minimally-processed whole foods that are STILL quite affordable. 

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Other nutrient-rich, relatively low-cost all stars include…

  • Proteins: eggs, whole chicken, tofu, canned fish, flank/tri-tip steak
  • Smart carbs: bulk brown rice, bulk lentils and beans, potatoes, oats
  • Veggies: cabbage, carrots, beets, Romaine lettuce, frozen spinach
  • Fruit: bananas, whole watermelon,  apples, oranges, frozen berries
  • Healthy fats: sunflower seeds, peanuts, extra-virgin olive oil 


2. Aim for progress, not perfection.

So-called “superfoods” like quinoa can be pricey.

Brown rice, on the other hand, is about as affordable as it’s ever been, especially if you buy it in bulk. It’s the same with most varieties of beans and lentils.  

You don’t have to pick the ‘best’ in each category to improve your nutrition—even a small improvement in food quality can go a long way. 

Choose what proteins, smart carbs, healthy fats, fruits, and veggies work for your budget, aiming for just a little better than where you’re at right now.


3. Make the most of your freezer.

Save 1 to 2 servings of whatever you cook and place it in the freezer, a.k.a. the “treasure chest.” Think of this as a gift that your current self is giving to your future, stressed-out, short-on-time self.

Then, on those busy days when cooking feels impossible, you always have something you can pull from your frozen chest of edible treasures. 

Rebekah Morse
Post by Rebekah Morse
Mar 26, 2024 8:34:02 AM
Rebekah is the People Operations Manager at Natural Wellness Physiotherapy and a Nutrition Coach for Natural Wellness clients. Having taught in public schools for 13 years and overcome her own personal health struggles, she uses the skills she developed as an educator, strategies she’s learned on her journey and her nutrition training to coach clients to improve their eating and lifestyle habits. “I really enjoy working with clients who are done with diets and ready to achieve their health and wellness goals in a way that makes sense for them, that is realistic for their unique life and is sustainable so they can feel their best long-term.” Rebekah has helped clients lose weight, reduce medications, improve their bloodwork, gain energy, build confidence in making food choices, recover faster and improve their athletic performance. “The best part of my job is knowing people are improving their long-term health. I also love helping people navigate and power through the hard times, which are always a part of making real, lasting change.” Rebekah enjoys traveling with her family, running, hiking, mountain biking and photography.