Healthy Eating on a Budget for Families

Overview

Eating better is a goal for many families, but healthy eating on a budget can seem challenging. Foods that are not good for your family seem to cost less, and when you’re operating on a budget, what’s cheaper is usually what you buy. It is possible to make healthy food decisions that won’t break the bank.

Benefits

The benefits of healthy eating on a budget are twofold. Families that eat well have more energy to actively enjoy each other. Eating healthy meals also helps reduce the risk of health problems, which can be detrimental to a family dynamic. Eating on a budget is just as important to families. Normally, a large portion of a household income is dedicated to food. The larger the family, the more you spend to feed it. If your family can assess how much food it really eats and set a budget according to that, you can prevent wasting food and have money left over for other things.

Misconceptions

It may seem difficult to maintain a reasonable budget when feeding a family. Grocery bills can quickly add up and be discouraging. With careful planning and sticking to a list and a budget, your family can eat well and enjoy other activities with the money left over.

Types

When creating healthy meals for your family, include foods from each food group. A healthy breakfast might be a vegetable omelet with low-fat cheese, served with fresh strawberries and a slice of whole wheat toast. This meal includes all five food groups and the ingredients are inexpensive. A healthy dinner could be whole grain spaghetti topped with a tomato sauce including bell peppers, zucchini and ground turkey. Sprinkle a little Parmesan cheese on top to complete the five food groups. Again, this meal goes a long way and is inexpensive to prepare.

Size

One way to save money on food for your family is to buy in bulk. The farmers’ market is a good place to start looking for healthy food to purchase in large quantities. Because the farmers cut out the wholesalers and sell directly to consumers, the prices of their goods are greatly reduced compared to those in the grocery store. Buy a basket of fruit, like oranges and apples, that don’t go bad quickly. Certain vegetables like carrots, zucchini, onions and potatoes last a while, which makes them a good choice for buying large quantities. Buying economy packs of chicken breast or lean beef also saves you money. Just separate the packs into the quantity you need for a meal and freeze what you don’t use immediately.

Considerations

Cooking at home tends to be less expensive than eating out, so keep eating at restaurants to a minimum. A meal for three or four people in a restaurant could buy you three or four meals for the same price, with careful budgeting. Remember that you don’t have to shop in a designated health food store to buy healthy food. These specialty stores tend to be more expensive, but you can find nutritious fruits and vegetables, lean meats, seafood and whole grains at a grocery store or farmers market for a better price. Clip coupons to reduce costs when shopping for your family.

About this Author

A resident of Atlanta, Niya McIver has recently channeled her nutrition experience into a writing career. For the past year, her articles have appeared in Examiner.com, where she’s a consistent nutrition contributor. She studied psychology at Florida State University.