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How to Eat Healthy on a Small Budget


Is it Possible to Eat Healthy on a Small Budget?

Eating healthy on a small budget can seem like an impossible task, especially if you currently live in a food desert. Areas with significant amounts of poverty are more likely to have limited access to fresher groceries, which promotes the consumption of processed and unhealthy foods. However, it is possible to eat healthy on a small budget, even if you live in a food desert!

Keep reading to learn more about budgets, eating habits, and how to eat healthy through some yummy and cheap recipes.

How Can I Learn How to Eat Healthy on a Small Budget?

For those who have never tried eating healthy, learning how to do so can be challenging, especially on a limited budget. You can get where you need to be regardless of whether you are coming from a large budget to a small one or you are taking baby steps to learn how to eat healthy without spending a lot of money.

The first tip to keep in mind when trying to eat healthy on a small budget is to make sure that your budget is realistic, and if you don’t have an existing budget, create one ASAP.

Without a budget on your side, you’re trying to reach the other side of the lake in a rowboat without paddles. Whether you have a lot or a little disposable income, you need a budget to get you where you need to be in life!

There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to creating a budget. With your housing budget, you should spend no more than 30% of your monthly gross income on housing. The average amount you should spend on groceries should be tailored to you!


When it comes to groceries, your budget should reflect your eating habits and the type of food you buy. Try to track your food expenses throughout the month and see how much food you are throwing away versus how much food you’re eating. Are you overspending? If so, identify the areas you can cut back and set a monthly spending cap for food. If you can’t cut back any more, and you need supplemental cash to cover your needs, and you can’t get assistance from a state program, consider short-term loans like title loans or personal loans.

Next, try to buy certain healthy foods in bulk. While it is unrealistic to buy a lot of fresh produce in bulk, you can buy legumes, rice, and beans in bulk, which are staples for a lot of healthy meals that can be cheaply made. Make sure to store them in a cool, dry place to avoid spoilage, but those types of groceries can last for a long time!

Finally, plan out your meals and budget accordingly. This will help you avoid overspending and ensure that you have the ingredients you need on hand when you’re ready to cook. If you can, try your best to place your meals a week in advance so you can use items that you already have and have a game plan ready when food may potentially spoil, so you aren’t wasting anything!

Lastly, don’t be afraid of frozen vegetables or fruit. While buying fresh vegetables and other produce can be healthier, eating frozen veggies and fruits is still an option. Whether you are making smoothies, oatmeal with fruit, or a stir-fried dinner, having some healthier options on hand is cheaper and better than having nothing and buying unhealthy takeout.

What are Some Healthy Recipes I Can Make on a Budget?

Some of the easiest recipes you can make on a budget are ones you haven’t tried yet! Oftentimes, the hardest part about eating healthy on a small budget is learning how to plan your meals in advance and choosing the right groceries to stretch your meals.


If you’re on a budget and you need cheap, healthy meals, you need to invest in bulk items like rice, beans, and canned goods. While canned goods can have higher concentrations of sodium, when eaten in moderation, they can make a wonderful addition to your meal for a fraction of the price that fresh produce costs.

Additionally, some of the healthy recipes you can tackle once you have a few staples include the following:

  1. Chicken Salad: For this quick and easy meal, all you will need is a rotisserie chicken, celery, MiracleWhip (or another low-calorie mayonnaise substitute), and any other additional ingredients you want to add. Either eat this with crackers or on bread, and it’s a quick meal! Additionally, if you are buying a rotisserie chicken, you can easily turn this simple meal into a few different meals. Get all of the meat you can off the chicken and set it aside for other meals, like chicken noodle soup or chicken enchiladas.
  2. Kidney Bean Curry: BBC Goodfood recently posted a protein-rich, vegetarian recipe called kidney bean curry, which requires little ingredients and a lot of flavor. Since meat is not the center of this dish, it can be cheaper to make, and you may already have a lot of the necessary ingredients on hand.
  3. Oatmeal Breakfast Bites: Since dinner won’t be your only meal of the day, it’s important to prepare for breakfast too! Try meal prepping for breakfast by making oatmeal breakfast bites in advance. All you will need is oats, applesauce, peanut butter, maple syrup, and anything else you may have on hand, like cranberries or walnuts!

Eating healthy on a budget shouldn’t be complicated, but if you are down on your luck financially, it can be stressful.