How to eat healthy on a budget

June 4, 2023 | How to make healthy pizza at home (Sally Squires, Writer of Lean Plate Club blog, on WTOP)

WASHINGTON — The New Year often brings a new commitment to lose weight and get in shape. But one of the struggles for many people is the hefty cost associated with healthy eating.

Sally Squires, writer for the Lean Plate Club blog, says the U.S. Department of Agriculture has some good news — it doesn’t cost more to eat healthy.

“It’s really important to plan ahead,” Squires says. “The more you can cook at home, the more money you save.”

Cooking more meals at home as opposed to eating out at restaurants will not only help your wallet — it’ll help your waistline, too, Squires says.

According to Cornell University researchers, making a pizza at home with ingredients from the grocery store rather than ordering one also will help save you money. Researchers say you are also more likely to make a healthier pie at home.

On average, a family of four in the D.C. area spends about $300 on groceries per week, Squires says. To help trim the budget, Squires suggests the common practice of clipping coupons and looking for sales.

Beyond that, Squires says shoppers should compare items’ prices per serving. For example, shoppers could buy dry beans as opposed to canned beans, which are about three times more expensive.

“It’s those little things that you can do that will really help to start trim the budget,” Squires says.

One investment to consider is a slow cooker, Squires says, which averages about $30.

“It’s a great way to do soups and stews and all the things that are really terrific for this time of the year,” she says.

One problem that most people run in to is buying fresh produce as a part of their healthy diet. Fruits and vegetables can get pricey, especially when it is not in season.

Squires suggests heading to the farmers market about an hour before closing to negotiate prices.

“The other place that I love is the frozen food aisle,” Squires says. “The best thing about frozen veggies and fruit is they don’t go bad.”

Buying in bulk is considered a great option for families, but not when buying for one or two people.

“The other place that you can often find bargains, and I think people overlook it, are in ethnic markets,” Squires says.

Still looking for ways to save? Squires suggests cooking on the weekend in preparation for the workweek.

“If I’m making oatmeal, for example, I make the entire container,” she says, “It’s one-time cooking… Then I divide it into little servings and I put those in a big bag in the freezer and I can pull them out as needed.”

Follow @WTOP on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

© 2016 WTOP. All Rights Reserved.

Federal News Network Logo

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up