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12 Days of Fitness 2012 – Day 11: Eating Healthy On A Budget

December 20, 2012 0 Comments

save_money_on_food(This is Part 11 of a 12 part series to provide you with some helpful fitness tips over the holiday season)


Make no mistake about it; the cost of food has gone up. And when you’re low on both time and money, eating healthy food is quickly replaced by processed foods because they’re quick, easy and inexpensive. Unfortunately, they’re also loaded with sugars, fats and empty calories. If your goals are to eat healthier and save money, the good news is that it can be done.  It requires that you change your current food shopping behaviors, but the excuse that eating healthy is too expensive is just as ridiculous as thinking eating French fries counts as a vegetable serving.

Strategy #1

Buy produce in season to save money and guarantee better freshness. Buy frozen fruits and vegetables during their off-seasons, as they’re usually less expensive and last longer. Avoid canned foods, which often are loaded with salt, sugar or other preservatives, and typically cost more per serving.

Strategy #2


Buy in bulk if and when possible for non-perishables such as whole grains, rice, or beans. Store in air-tight containers, and they can last for months.

Strategy #3


Eat at home. Cooking meals made from fresh, healthy ingredients saves you from loads of saturated fat and empty calories. It also costs less than eating in a restaurant. Start with simple meals and aim to try one or two new, healthy recipes per week until you’re able to prepare a wide variety of healthy, inexpensive meals.

Strategy #4


Cook extra. Prepare an extra portion to use as a quick lunch or meal later in the week. This allows you to buy larger, more economically priced amounts of ingredients for one meal rather that purchasing the ingredients for two meals.

Strategy #5


Prepare a whole chicken. For the same price as a package of chicken breasts, which will yield one meal for your family, you can cook an entire chicken as one meal and use the leftovers to create one or two additional meals. Use the bones to make stocks and broths for other recipes, so that every part of the bird is used.

Strategy #6

Drink water. Soft drinks and sugary juices or energy drinks add calories to your body and detract from your grocery budget. Cut out all drinks but water for an entire week and see how much money you can shave from your grocery budget. This includes runs to expensive coffee houses and stops at work or school vending machines.

Strategy #7

Plan, plan, plan! Making menus helps save money in two ways. First, it allows you to take stock of items on hand, so you waste less and purchase less. Second, sticking to a list helps you avoid impulse buys, such as snacks and drinks. Planning healthy meals and creating a menu means you always know what’s for dinner and can prepare accordingly, instead of heading to a fast-food restaurant because you’re in a pinch.

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better.

See you tomorrow for the conclusion of the 12 Days of Fitness

My 2012 Fitness Challenge personal update – 35,400 push ups done as of publishing time




About the Author:

Jeff Harrison is a fitness coach based in Pottstown, PA. He received a BS in Exercise and Sport Science from Penn State University and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), NSCA Certified Personal Trainer (NSCA-CPT) and ACE Advanced Health and Fitness Specialist (ACE-AHFS). Jeff's articles have been published in peer-reviewed journals as well as consumer oriented websites and magazines.

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