Healthy eating on a budget doesn’t mean sacrificing flavor or your health. I learned at an
early age a very unappetizing version of healthy eating. I shiver at the thought of those
boiled, unseasoned chicken legs and mushy vegetables. As a result, I have enjoyed
developing healthy ways to eat healthy on a budget.

Here are some of my everyday tips:

  • Planning is key. My budget gets blown whenever I go to a store hungry or without a
    • Planning reduces waste!
  • Do your research. Most foods have increased in price by at least 25% over the last
    year. I have the mobile applications for all my local grocery stores and plan my
    weekly meals from the proteins on sale. Do not shy away from the stores that are
    typically more expensive overall than others. It has been my experience that
    Vons/Pavilions has some of the best sales on animal protein. The trick is to stay
    within the items on sale. Get the protein and get out.
  • Make a list
    • Do NOT go to the store hungry.
    • Stick to the list!
  • Planning multiple trips to get all the necessary items can be wise if you plan your
    shopping accordingly. I go to the furthest store and backtrack to the others,
    landing at the last closest to my home. Conversely, don’t make a long trip to save
    .05 cents per pound. Do not be penny-wise and pound-foolish.
  • AGAIN, don’t shop hungry!!

Here is a budget saver I haven’t discussed before. You can save money by growing some of
your vegetables. I know what some of you think: “I have a brown thumb.”I trust you can
do this! If my brown thumb can grow herbs and lettuce from my windowsill, you can
cultivate and produce some, too. It takes a little willingness and desire to save while
getting the satisfaction of growing your food. Not to mention, it tastes better. Start with
just a few vegetables to start so you can handle it. Pick things you know you will eat. If you
don’t like tomatoes, why plant any? If you do like tomatoes, be ready for a surplus. When
this happens, you can use the excess to make tomato sauce or salsa. You can even share
with friends and neighbors like those from the buy-nothing group that gifted you supplies
to get started. Do your best to reduce waste by utilizing or giving if need be.
It can take some seed money. See what I did there? But it doesn’t have to if you plan smart.
Most communities have ‘buy nothing” groups on social media platforms. Use these
platforms to ask for containers with draining holes, pots, and window boxes. You’ll be
surprised how willing people are to help. Here are some excellent tips from Azure Farm Life:,inches%20deep%20will%20work%20well.

Remember, Planning is Key when sticking to a budget you can afford while reducing food
waste and being good to our planet.

Kelly Alarcon, a Student at California State University, Long Beach, with a concentration in
Nutrition and Nutritional Science, is passionate about showing others the path to wellness
through nutrition while reducing hunger and food waste.