If you’re on a tight budget, grocery shopping and meal planning can be tough. However, there is no need to sacrifice your health. You can still maintain a healthy lifestyle while tightening your (money) belt.

We have put together out some of the best titbits, so you can save money and still eat well!

Here are 8 of the top tips and suggestions that will make eating well and saving money a piece of cake (or kale smoothie).

1. You May Need to Compromise

You might like red delicious but love granny smith apples.

But what if red delicious is .99/lb compared to $5.99lb for granny smith this week? Go for the red delicious. Trust me, will never look back on life and remember the week you had to eat your 2nd favorite type of apples! The same goes for meat.

2. Buy in Season!

When veggies and fruit are in season, you will find that they are abundant. When the supply outgrows demand, you find the price drops.

This might go against a lot of advice; however, don’t make a strict plan before shopping. Go to the market or supermarket and see what is on sale. Buy that in bulk and learn a few new recipes! If you do like making plans, find out what is in season in your area and work around that.

You might return from the supermarket with 2–3 bags full of eggplant or red peppers.  This where you need to put your thinking cap or maybe just turn to Google! Get creative.

With these two ingredients you could try using your bbq and grilling your peppers, eggplant & goat cheese parmigiana or maybe even smoky eggplant and walnut dip.

If you’re worried about the produce going off, you can always cook up everything at once and portion it for the freezer. Just make sure you put the date on the container. You never know when this meal will come in handy and will taste much better than that $40 takeaway pizza and salad!

3. Stretch Homemade Meals

Use healthy and inexpensive staples to bulk out your meals and make them last a bit longer.

For example, try adding lentils to your vegetable soup or a bit of brown rice to your pilaf. You can also try adding starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes and pumpkin to ensure you are satisfied.

4. Frozen Vegetables Are Your Friend!

Not only are frozen vegetable a time saver, but you also don’t have to worry about them going bad.

Always keep a mix of your favorites on hand, we suggest having broccoli, beans, peas, corn, and cauliflower. It also helps to ensure you have an easy side dish or meal filler easily available.

Frozen vegetables are simple to cook. Here’s how:

Step 1: Stick in the microwave.

Step 2: Season.

Step 3: Eat!

Try seasoning the vegetables with chili oil or just some dried Mediterranean herbs!

5. Repurpose Leftovers

Instead of throwing away leftovers, see if you can use them for another meal.

If you’re having a roast chicken, use the bones and create a delicious stock. Stock can be used straight away or frozen for another time. This is perfect for when you find yourself uncertain what to make. Just throw a cube of your stock in a pot, add some water, and throw in any veggies you have laying around.

6. Leftover Rice

If you have some rice left over, you could try making some burritos. All you need is some wraps, beans, and cheese. Try doing this straight after dinner when you still have everything on hand. Burritos also freeze and reheat well, so make a couple and throw them in the freezer for lunch next week!

7. Is Your Bread Going Stale?

When your bread is getting a little bit stale, you have two options. Throw it in the freezer, and you will get at least another week out of it. Otherwise, try coating your bread in a little bit of oil and throwing it in the oven for a few minutes. Put these in an airtight container, and you will have some yummy croutons!

8. Leftover Milk

If your milk is quickly approaching its use by date, try your hand at making some cheese! Making your own mozzarella or ricotta can be really satisfying and save you a lot of money.

All you need is some milk, vinegar, and a cheesecloth. There is no need to purchase a cheesecloth you most likely have one at home you can use!

9. Try to Eat Vegetarian 2-3 Times a Week

It seems that beef, seafood & poultry has become the main part of our plate. We are used to building our meals around this type of protein.

These pricey food items can be replaced easily. Try using high protein products like soy, eggs or beans a few times a week instead.

The Bottom Line

As you can see, it doesn’t have to be outrageously expensive to eat well. There is more than enough nutrient dense food available that won’t break your budget. In fact, you might find it cheaper to shop and cook this way, trust me give it go!