If you want to feed your family healthy foods without spending a fortune, you've come to the right place! We're about to share our top five tips for eating healthy on a budget. Yes, it's possible!

mom and daughter preparing healthy food, from Shelf Cooking

Many people hear the words “healthy food” and automatically think big bucks. In reality, with just a small amount of effort and planning, any budget can accommodate healthy eating.

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Whether you're following a vegan diet, sticking to keto, or just striving to eat fewer processed foods, these practical tips will help you eat better without spending more. Are you ready to learn the secrets?


kitchen inventory checklist, from Shelf Cooking

It doesn't matter what type of diet you follow; meal planning is the first step to staying within your grocery budget! If you're trying to eat healthier, this is especially important. How many times have you bought foods that you never ended up using?

Cut the waste and shop more mindfully by planning out meals in advance and only buying the ingredients you need. Here are a few quick meal planning tips:

  • Inventory Your Food – Okay, step one: download a free copy of our kitchen inventory printables, then get to work. Don't worry. It's easy!
  • Shop the Sales – Once you know exactly what you have, it's time to fill in the blanks. What other ingredients do you need to create meals? Check out your grocery store sales flyers and shop the sales. Rounding out your meal plan with sale items is a huge game-changer (and a money-saver, too).
  • Aim to Spend $100/Week Per Person – If you've never set a grocery budget, now's a good time! We suggest aiming to spend no more than $100 per person each month. For a family of four, that means your grocery budget for the month should be about $400. Try it for a month and see what you think! You'll probably be shocked at how much you can get for your money when you shop more mindfully.

That was like four tips in one. Bonus, Jonas! You ready for our next bit of advice?


using leftover meat to make tacos, from Shelf Cooking

Okay, now that you're on board with meal planning, let's put those plans to work! Planning is an important first step, but the next key to saving money on healthy food is actually cooking at home and eating leftovers whenever possible.

We know, we know. Cooking at home and eating leftovers isn't always the most fun, but here's the good news. When you have a meal plan, it's a whole heck of a lot easier! And if you're short on time, we have TONS of slow cooker recipes you can try. Many of them only take 5-10 mins of prep.

As far as the leftovers go, you might think you hate leftovers, but we bet you don't. First of all, you can literally save hundreds of dollars each month just by eating leftovers. Bet you like the sound of that, huh?

Second, enjoying leftovers is all about how you serve them. Eating the same thing over and over can get boring. But there are SO many easy ways to make leftover food feel brand new. We can teach you how to learn to love leftovers. Just trust us and give it a try, okay?


batch cooking healthy casseroles, from Shelf Cooking

Alright, this tip goes hand in hand with the last two ideas! If you're busy (and who isn't), committing to cooking more often probably feels overwhelming, right? Batch cooking to the rescue!

You might be thinking to yourself, what is this batch cooking you speak of? Oh, we've got a whole post devoted to the magical art of batch cooking. But we'll fill ya in real quick!

TL;DR: Batch cooking is simply making one dish to eat now and making a second to freeze for later. It's a huge time-saver and a great way to protect yourself from last-minute takeout orders. When you already have healthy, filling meals cooked and ready to warm up, it's a whole lot easier to avoid temptation.

Start batch cooking and watch what happens to your bank account. We bet you'll save a ton of moolah! Ready to learn another way to save some dough?


pantry stocked with canned goods, from Shelf Cooking

Do you have an undying loyalty to a certain brand of cereal or ketchup? It's time to rethink your allegiances! One of the easiest ways to start saving money on your grocery bills is to build a stockpile of food. Our rule is to buy one for now and two for later.

And the fastest way to afford to do that? Buy generic! In many cases, you can get two generic products for the price of one name brand. Pretty insane, right? And we bet you won't notice much difference in the flavor!

Okay, we've got one more trick up our sleeves! Are you ready for our final piece of advice?


cooking two whole chickens for a healthy dinner, from Shelf Cooking

Okay. We know this might not be the most popular tip, but hear us out. The markup on “convenience foods” is pretty insane. Those steamable bags of frozen veggies? Crazy expensive. Select cuts of meat. Ridiculously-priced. Pre-chopped fruit? Don't even get us started.

Buying whole foods is one of the best ways to make your grocery budget go a whole lot further. Instead of buying chicken tenders, buy the entire chicken and cut it up yourself. You'll get multiple meals out of it!

Instead of buying chopped fruits or veggies, buy your own when the produce is in season; then chop it and freeze it. Does your family eat a lot of meat? Buy a whole dang cow. Yes, we're serious.

Yes, buying whole foods requires a bit more effort, but the payoff is huge! If you want to start eating healthy on a budget, cutting out convenience foods will help you do it.


Now you're ready to tackle the challenge of budget shopping and healthy eating. Even following one of these tips will make a big difference. Be sure to let us know how it goes!

And share your best tips with our community! How do you eat healthy on a budget or stay on track with meal planning? Head over to our Shelf Cooking Facebook group to share your best advice.

learn how to eat healthy on a budget, from Shelf Cooking

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Good luck! You've got this.