How to Eat Healthy When You’re a Broke 20-Something

“I wish eating healthy wasn’t so expensive!” If you’ve ever caught yourself saying something like this, you’ll love my tips below.

While, yes, the cost of food can add up quickly, eating healthy does not need to be expensive.

I meet with quite a few 20-somethings and millennials, who, like myself are often on a budget. We’d rather spend our money on a night out with friends, trying new microbrews, a festival this summer, or a big trip this fall. I get it, I’m right there with you. But, eating healthy and staying active are a few of my top priorities. I somehow find the time and the dollar to hit up my favorite breweries (occasionally, not nightly) while getting in my 5 a day fruits and veggies.  I manage to do this all while spending an average of about $30/week on groceries.

Want to know my tricks? Read on. Here are a few tips and tricks to be a better bargain shopper and stretch your dollar a little farther.

(P.S. I made these tips into an awesome handout. My clients love hanging it right on their fridge and I think you will too. See below to download your own copy!)

Download my tips for Healthy Eating on a Budget


1.     Go Shopping with a Plan

When we go to the store with meals or recipes in mind, we’re more likely to buy only what we need. Without a plan, we’re more likely to overdo it and let food (and money!) go to waste.


2.     Go Meatless on Occasion

Plant proteins are extremely beneficial to our health and are significantly cheaper than animal proteins. Try choosing just one night each week (i.e. Meatless Monday) to plan a meal around plants.


3.     Shop your Freezer/Pantry

Often our freezers and pantries are already filled with plenty of food to make a well-balanced meal. Browse your cabinets and make a meal out of ingredients you already have on hand. (Ask me for ideas if you need suggestions!)


4.     Make the time to Prep (Multi-Task!)

This doesn’t have to be an exhaustive, daily task. While your chicken is in the oven or you wait for your pasta water to boil - take just a few minutes to slice fruits and veggies for snacks, portion out grab-and-go snacks for the week, pack a lunch for tomorrow, or wash your lettuce for salads throughout the week. By having an idea of what foods or meals you have on hand to eat, you will make healthier choices and won’t let your food and money go to waste. Taking a few minutes to prep will make you more likely to make healthier choices when hunger hits and you’ll be more likely to eat your veggies before they go bad.

You may also like my 9 Simple Tips to make meal prep just a little easier. Meal prep does not need to be the exhaustive task it's made out to be. Remember healthy eating should be easy. Download my tips below.


Meal prep doesn't have to be so time consuming! Download my 9 Tips to Make Meal Prep Easy


5.     Shop the Discount Rack

You’re probably already shopping the sales or even clipping coupons, but many stores now have sections with fresh produce on the verge of expiration. This food is perfectly edible and sold at a fraction of the cost. (I get my bananas and strawberries here and freeze them for smoothies, see tip #6).


6.     Freeze Herbs & Fruit

Freeze fresh herbs in ice cube trays with olive oil or water to use later on in sauces, soups, stir-fries, smoothies, scrambled eggs, etc. You can get a big bundle of herbs for less than $1 and when you freeze it, it can last you weeks.

Stock up on discounted fruit and freeze it to use in smoothies, oatmeal, yogurt, desserts, and homemade baked goods.


7.     Be Flexible with Sell-By Dates

Don’t be afraid to buy the milk that ‘expires’ today. It is often discounted and will last another week!


8.     Shop the Aisles

You want to shop the perimeter too, but the aisles are filled with affordable pantry staples – beans, lentils, rice, oatmeal, flour, and don’t forget the bulk bin section!


9.     DIY

You can save money by making homemade pantry staples – salad dressings, sauces, pizza dough, rolls, guacamole, hummus, etc.

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