Yes, it’s possible to save money and eat healthy! Even if you’re on a limited budget, you can still eat real foods and avoid processed ingredients. This article includes 7 tips for clean eating on a budget.

healthy foods on a countertop

In these current times, many of us are keeping an even closer eye on our budgets. While it may be tempting to eat fast food when we’re stressed, short on time, or short on money, it’s a better choice for our long-term health to choose homemade meals made using real food ingredients.

And, the good news is that there are ways to eat clean on a budget. I personally have experience with this after years of living near the poverty line in my childhood and adolescence to then my educational experience with researching ways to prepare meals on a strict budget.

When I was in graduate school for public health, one of our assignments was to create a meal plan for four people with only $100. I went to the store and spent a lot of time figuring out how to make every penny work to get the most nutrition for the smallest amount. I learned a ton from that assignment and I’m sharing all of what I learned with you today.

I hope that you find these tips for clean eating on a budget helpful and, most of all, that you are staying healthy and safe during these difficult times.

Tips for Clean Eating on a Budget

1. Make a weekly meal plan

If you plan ahead for your meals, then you will be more efficient in your shopping. And, when you have healthy meals planned, then you are much more likely to actually follow through as opposed to grabbing fast food.

Spend a few hours on the weekend looking up recipes that sound good to you. Then, print out those recipes, put them in order for days of the week, and make a plan for how you are going to shop for the ingredients and then prepare the meals.

Double the recipes whenever possible so you have leftovers you can eat for lunch or freeze for future meals.

notebook with lines for a meal plan

2. Learn how to cook frozen vegetables

Did you know that frozen and canned produce can be as healthy as fresh produce? And, frozen produce is often much cheaper than buying fresh produce. As a side bonus, there is usually less prep needed to make frozen vegetables.

For inspiration on how to cook frozen vegetables, check out my recipe for Frozen Vegetables with Peanut Sauce. You might also like my recipe for how to make Roasted Frozen Broccoli Florets.

frozen vegetables stacked up

3. Use your pantry staples

If you’re like me, your kitchen pantry has a lot of dry goods that were bought on sale or for back-up. To save money on a clean eating diet, start going through your pantry and using up those dry goods.

Skip the boxed and packaged foods that are full of processed food ingredients, but feel free to use up your canned and dried items like beans, grains, and more.

pantry dry goods on a wooden countertop

4. Buy in bulk

Whenever possible, try to buy your food in bulk. This will help you save money. Buy foods you like, but just buy double or even triple of what you need. Either shop from the bulk section of most grocery stores, or go to warehouse stores where you can get great deals on bulk amounts.

bag of oats in the bulk section at a grocery store

5. Order frozen meats and seafood

If you eat fish and meats, then you know that they are among the most expensive items in the store. The solution is to buy them frozen and/or in bulk online. Don’t skimp on quality when it comes to buying meats and seafood, but try to save money when you can by buying them frozen and not fresh.

6. Eat seasonally

Another tip for clean eating on a budget is to enjoy foods as they are in season. This will help keep your costs down as you won’t be paying for foods that were shipped across the country or across the world.

While some items at farmers’ markets can be pricey, you should definitely check our your local farmers’ market to see what deals can be had on seasonal fruits and vegetables.

rainbow of fresh foods

7. Consider eating more plant-based

My last tips for clean eating on a budget is to consider eating more plant foods. You don’t have to completely change your diet, but I think you will find that plant foods like beans and grains are always cheaper than organic, grass-fed meats and wild-caught seafood.

So, add in more plant-based meals to help keep your food budget down. Or, incorporate high-quality meats and seafood as a smaller part of your overall meals.

Lastly, I would just like to send you my sincere wishes that you and your loved ones stay healthy and safe during this very stressful time.


Do I need to buy just organic foods to be healthy?

Absolutely not! As long as you are eating lots of real foods, then you don’t always need to buy organic. Learn more about going organic for beginners.

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