With the new year upon us, two of the most common resolutions will be 1) Eat Healthy and 2) Save More/Spend Less Money. However, it sometimes seems as though these two goals compete against each other. Unhealthy foods typically can be purchased at a low price and healthy foods often go for a premium. But eating healthy on a budget is possible if you have the right strategy! The Self-Storage Unit Deals team at Hollywood Storage Center of Thousand Oaks did the research for you and have put together a five-step plan to help you succeed!
- Plan Your Meals
Taking the extra time to peruse recipes that utilize foods that are on sale at your grocery store can save lots of money. Not only can you purchase the items that will cost you less, you’re also able to look at the nutritional information of the recipe and determine if it fits into your health goals.
You can also select recipes that take into account what already exists in your kitchen, making sure you use up items that will expire and making the most of your food budget.
We recommend setting time aside each weekend to plan your meals and shop for the ingredients. Making sure you’re signed up with your grocery store’s rewards card and opting into their online coupons will also help drop the overall price for your food spend. (Ralphs has great rewards and stores in Newbury Park, Camarillo, Agoura Hills, and Thousand Oaks)
- Buy Whole Foods
Prepared or pre-portioned foods are more often higher priced, and they also may include additives that aren’t recommended for optimal health.
Cheese, for example is less expensive when bought in block form, rather than already shredded. And buying a whole watermelon will cost you less than purchasing pre-cut watermelon chunks.
Additives that may be included in processed foods include things like MSG that is often added to frozen dinners to intensify and enhance flavor. MSG has been associated with weight gain and metabolic syndrome in some studies. Artificial food coloring is another biggie, which has been associated with allergic reactions, hyperactivity, and other serious diseases. By buying whole foods, you know what you’re getting.
- Buy Generic Brands
This one’s a no brainer when it comes to saving money. While there may be some brands you truly feel are superior, generic brands are oftentimes the exact same product as the name brand. They’re often manufactured at the same facility! In fact, the only difference in many generic brands is the packaging (and the advertising campaigns). Read the labels to confirm which generic brands may work for your family.
- Buy in Bulk
Buying in bulk can save you money, or cost you money, depending on your strategy. Purchasing a large quantity of things that go bad won’t help you reach your goal. It will just end up in food waste.
But, food staples that are healthy and have a long shelf life can be purchased in larger quantities and save you money in the long run. Think nuts, brown rice, oats, quinoa, dried beans, olive oil, lean meats (to freeze) and frozen veggies. Even berries are a great food to buy in bulk. Berries have all sorts of health benefits, and even though they spoil quickly, they also freeze well. Buy a bunch and freeze what you won’t eat right away. Then use them as a snack or in recipes at your convenience.
- Stick to Your Grocery List
You’ve probably heard before that going to the grocery store on an empty stomach is a recipe for disaster. Your hunger can easily overcome your logic and those Pringles are suddenly in your shopping cart! Now you’ve spent more than you needed to and will have those incredibly addictive chips calling your name!
Looking back at our first tip – Plan your meals – you’ll be making a shopping list to create all those delicious and healthy meals, so have a snack before you shop, stay strong, and stick to the list.
More than ever, setting goals and sticking to them is important for our physical and mental health. We’re ready to do it, and we know you can too!
If you’ve resolved to get your home in order this year, we can help! We have storage units in more than 50 sizes to fit your needs and your budget. We offer the first month free and the Lowest Price-Guaranteed in the Conejo Valley. Feel free to come by or call any day for storage advice from our friendly and knowledgeable consultants. We’re open seven days a week from 8:30 am to 6 pm. Wishing you a happy, healthy New Year!