Learn How to Eat Healthy for Cheap! Know These 7 Tips!

By Lily •  Updated: 03/30/23 •  9 min read

Food costs have gone up so much in price lately due to inflation. However, eating healthy doesn’t have to be expensive.

It’s possible to eat nutritious meals on a budget! Even plant-based meals, which I’m an advocate for!

With some planning and smart grocery shopping, you can enjoy a balanced diet without breaking the bank.

Here are some tips to help you learn how to eat healthy for cheap:

How to Eat Healthy for Cheap

1. Plan Your Meals

Planning your meals is a great way to save money on food. Here are some tips to help you plan your meals and save money:

Make a Weekly Meal Plan

Start by making a list of meals you want to eat for the week. Include a variety of foods from different food groups. Balanced meals are the way to go!

Use your list to create a weekly delicious meal plan! This will help you avoid buying unnecessary items.

Cook in Bulk

Cooking in bulk can save you time and money. Plan to cook large batches of meals and freeze them in individual portions. This will give you quick and easy meals for busy nights.

Avoid Waste

Avoiding food waste is important for both your wallet and the environment. Plan to use leftovers in future meals or freeze them for later.

Use up ingredients before they go bad. Before heading to the grocery store check your refrigerator and cabinets to see what you already have.

You might just find something you forgot you already had and avoid having to throw it out if it expires.

When shopping, buy only what you need and avoid impulse buys. Stick to your meal plan and avoid buying items that you may not use. This will help reduce food waste and save you money.

2. Shop Smart

Here are some tips to help you shop smart and make your money go further:

Buy Canned Food

Canned food is cheap and lasts longer than fresh food. It’s shelf life usually even extents past the expiration date. Look for low-sodium options.

Buy Frozen Fruits and Vegetables

Frozen fruits and veggies are just as healthy as fresh ones and are cheaper.

Buy in Bulk

Buying in bulk saves you money. Look for bulk bins for rice, beans, and nuts.

I love going to Costco where I can buy food in bulk to same money, however be careful of not falling into the trap of buying things that you don’t need! Other warehouses you can try are Sam Club and BJs.

Choose Seasonal Produce

Seasonal produce is cheaper and fresher. Buy fruits and veggies in season for best prices.

You Don’t Need To Always Buy Organic

Organic food is expensive. You can save money by buying non-organic produce when it’s not one of the Dirty Dozen.

The Dirty Dozen is a list of twelve fruits and vegetables that are known to have the highest levels of pesticide residues.

The fruits and vegetables on the Dirty Dozen list are recommended to be purchased organic whenever possible to reduce exposure to harmful chemicals.

The current Dirty Dozen list includes strawberries, spinach, kale, nectarines, apples, grapes, peaches, cherries, pears, tomatoes, celery, and bell peppers.

Avoid Convenience Items

Convenience items like pre-cut fruits and vegetables, and individually packaged snacks can be more expensive. Buy whole fruits and vegetables and package snacks yourself.

Compare Prices

Compare prices at different stores to find the best deals. Use apps or websites that compare prices for you.

Shop at Discount Stores

Discount stores often offer lower prices than traditional grocery stores. Look for stores like Aldi or Grocery Outlet. Go to Trader Joe’s instead of Whole Foods.

3. Stick to Your Grocery List

Stick to your grocery list and avoid buying items that are not on it. Avoid buying items that are not on your list, even if they are on sale!

Don’t Shop When You’re Hungry

Shopping when you’re hungry can lead to impulsive purchases and unhealthy food choices.

Eat a healthy snack or meal before heading to the grocery store to avoid temptation.

Shop Alone and Less Often

Shopping alone can help you focus on your list and avoid distractions. Don’t go grocery shopping more than once a week, the more you go out the more you will spend!

Avoid the center aisles

The center aisles of the grocery store are often filled with processed foods and snacks. Stick to the perimeter of the store where the fresh produce, meats, and dairy products are located.

4. Cook at Home

Cooking at home is an easy way to eat healthy and save money.

Invest in some basic kitchen equipment like a good knife, cutting board, and pots and pans, and learn some simple recipes to get started.

Cook in Batches

Cooking in batches saves time and money. Make extra portions and freeze for later.

Use Leftovers

Use leftovers for lunches or dinners. Get creative and make new meals with leftovers.

Avoid Eating Out

Avoid eating out to save money and control what ingredients go into your meals. Meals from restaurants are often packed with oil and salt, even vegetables!

Pack Your Lunch

Pack your lunch to save money and eat healthy. Use leftovers or make a salad. It seems like you can’t get lunch for less than $20 anywhere now a days!

Make Your Own Snacks

Making your own snacks, like granola bars and trail mix, can be cheaper than buying pre-packaged snacks.

5. Grow Your Own Produce

Growing your own produce is a great way to save money and eat healthy.

You don’t need a lot of space or experience to get started. Herbs, tomatoes, lettuce, and peppers are easy to grow in pots or small gardens.

You can also save money by growing your own fruits and vegetables from seeds. Seeds are inexpensive and can be purchased online or at local gardening stores.

When you grow your own produce, you know exactly what goes into it.

If you have limited space, consider vertical gardening. You can use hanging baskets, trellises, or stackable planters to maximize space.

Look for a community garden near you. I’m lucky to have a community garden where I live, check yours.

Growing your own produce is not only cost-effective but also rewarding.

6. Go Plant Based!

Going plant-based can save you money in several ways:

Choose Nutritious Foods

Opt for healthy food such as whole grains, fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, and legumes for optimal nutrition.

Avoid Buying Highly Processed Food

These items are often expensive and lack nutrients. If you are unsure, always check the ingredients list and the nutrition label. It’s best to just stick to whole foods instead.

Replace Meat with Other Proteins

Try tofu, tempeh, beans, lentils, nuts, and seeds for a cheaper protein source. You can create some really healthy meals and get the grams of protein your body needs with legumes!

Consuming beans and other legumes is also associated with a reduced risk of heart disease and diabetes. This is likely due to their ability to lower cholesterol and promote blood sugar control.

Make Your Own Salad Dressing

Create your own dressing with olive oil, vinegar, and spices for a healthier and cheaper option.

Reduced Healthcare Costs

A plant-based diet has been shown to reduce the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer. By avoiding these costly health conditions, you can save money on healthcare expenses.

Stick to Your Grocery List

7. Learn To Pay Less at the Cash Register

Want to save even more money? Try these tips to save money on groceries:

Stock Up on Sales

Buy items in bulk when they are on sale to save money.

Buy Store Generic Brands

Generic brands are often cheaper and have similar nutritional value. A lot of times, what you are paying for is the brand name. I have even heard that many times it’s the exact same product but with a different label!

Use Coupons

Coupons can save you money, but only use them for items you need! I often get coupons in the mail. It’s not fun cutting out coupons, but if you have the time, take advantage of it.

Loyalty Programs

Check your grocery store’s weekly ad and sign up for their loyalty program to get access to exclusive deals.

Use Credit Cards

Warning! This tip is not for everyone. Only do this if you are one of those people that pay their credit card bills in full every month so that you never have to pay interest.

However, keep in mind that you can use credit cards with rewards programs to earn cash back or points.

One of my favorite credit cards for grocery shopping that has no annual fee is the Amex Blue Cash everyday, which gives you 3% cash back.

If you have an excellent credit score and spend a lot of money on groceries, then the Amex Blue Cash Preferred might be more you. However, this card has a $95 annual fee, so do the math first to see if it’s worth it.

Click here for more credit card options for grocery shopping.

Use Cash

I know that it seems like I’m contradicting myself with what I just said above, however, the safest way is to go the cash route.

Using cash can help you stick to your budget and avoid overspending. Know yourself, it might be best to leave your credit cards at home.

Compare Prices

Compare prices at different stores to find the best deals. Use apps or websites that compare prices for you.


Eating healthy doesn’t have to break the bank. With a little bit of planning and some smart shopping strategies, you can enjoy nutritious and delicious meals without spending a fortune.

By focusing on whole, plant-based foods, buying in bulk, shopping sales, and cooking at home, you can save money while improving your health and well-being.

With these tips in mind, you can learn how to eat healthy for cheap today. Remember, small changes can make a big difference in your health and your wallet!


Hi, I'm Lily! Like you, I have struggled with my weight. It was not an easy journey but I was able to lose 40 pounds and have kept it off for 14 years. My goal is to share with you all the research, tips, and tricks that I have learned over the years to help you lose weight also.