Trying to eat healthy on a limited budget can sometimes present a challenge. It is, however, possible to eat a balanced diet on a budget of $80 per week if you plan ahead, use coupons and shop with a grocery list. While you may not get to eat expensive foods, you will be able to eat healthy foods without breaking the bank.
Do Your Research
Take stock of what you already have in your kitchen. Canned goods, boxed goods and frozen foods may last for more than one week, so you can use these items as the basis of your menu, which will make it a little easier to stick to a budget.
Read the sale papers for local supermarkets to find healthy foods that are on sale according to Oregon State University. Try to avoid convenience foods as these usually cost more per serving than making the same foods yourself. While you are reading the sale papers, look for coupons to use on the foods you purchase.
Note the sale items you are interested in, the price and store of each item.
Plan a menu for the week based on what you have at home and the items on sale at the supermarkets.
Make a List
Jot down the staple foods you need to purchase. Flour, sugar and cornmeal are some staple food items. Ideally, you will only include these items when they are on sale.
Write out what proteins you need for the week. Remember that proteins can include lean meat, such as chicken, fish, or low-fat ground beef or turkey. Proteins also include dry beans, dry peas and peanut butter.
Decide what dairy products you need to purchase. Low fat milk, puddings, cheeses and yogurt are all ways to get the dairy you need each day.
Note which fruits and vegetables you need to purchase. You can choose fresh, fresh-frozen or canned as long as there is very little or no added salt in the product. Try to focus on seasonal vegetables that are grown locally as these are usually less expensive than other produce.
Look at grain options for the week. Whole grains, such as oatmeal, brown rice and whole grain bread are some of the healthy options states MyPyramid.gov.
Include oils and fats in your budget. These are items that you may not have to buy each week. Mayonnaise and salad dressing are two types of oils you can use. Canola oil and extra virgin olive oil are also healthy oil options according to Family Education.
Balance Your Budget
Note the cost of each item on your food list. Use the prices in the sale paper to do this. If your state charges sales tax on food items, include this in your price per item.
Add up the amounts to determine how much you have already spent on your food list.
Cut back on your list a little if you think you will spend more than $80 on food.
Increase the non-perishable items on your grocery list if you have less than $80 worth of foods on your list. Flour, canned fruits and vegetables, peanut butter, whole wheat pasta and oatmeal are some examples of foods you can spend your extra money on.
Tips: If you have all the non-perishable items you need and still have some money left over in your budget, use the money to splurge on something that isn’t normally in your budget. You can also save your excess money until you have enough to splurge on items you want to buy.