Eating healthy on a tight budget: top tips

Written By

June 17, 2024

When it comes to eating healthy, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. That means making tiny healthier choices throughout your day can help you make big changes in your life. Here are a few tips to help you.

Before going to the store

Before you head to the store, a solid plan can be the best way to save money. Here’s how:

1. Never Shop Hungry

Shopping on an empty stomach can lead to impulse buys of unhealthy snacks. Eat a healthy snack before you go.

2. Go in with a list

Make a list based on your weekly meal plan. This will help you stick to buying what you need, reducing waste and unnecessary purchases. MyPlate has some great resources to help you eat healthier!

3. Download your store’s app for coupons and deals

Many apps allow you to clip coupons and get deals that are automatically applied when you check out, ensuring you never miss a discount.

At the store

4. Master the grocery store  🗺️

Ever notice how essential items like fruits, vegetables, milk, and bread are usually around the edge in grocery stores? Stick to these outer aisles to load up on the essentials before entering the middle aisles, where more processed foods are. 

5. Rethink healthy foods

A lot of times, “healthy” food can seem so out of reach. They can seem expensive, bland, or hard to find. But healthy food is closer than you think. Anytime you get foods close to their natural state, that’s a healthier choice. So, look for foods with short ingredient lists. Foods like rice, whole grains, and beans are good for you and won’t empty your wallet. 

6. Choosing between fresh, frozen, and canned

Frozen and canned foods are great alternatives to fresh fruits and vegetables. They can help reduce food waste and are often cheaper and easier to find. Just make sure to pick options with as few additional ingredients as possible. Check out this video from the American Heart Association about the difference!

7. The organic Question: To Buy or Not to Buy? 🌱

The promise of organic foods is that they’re safe from toxic pesticides. Foods with thick skins or peels, like bananas or avocados, are less affected by pesticides because you don’t eat the outer layer. However, for items like strawberries or leafy greens, opting for organic might be a better choice due to their high exposure to pesticides.

At home

8. Wash your produce right 🍎🥒

Washing fruits and vegetables helps remove toxins and any lingering pesticides. You can wash them with backing soda and water or vinegar and water. But never mix vinegar and baking soda, as the reaction can actually cancel them out.


Online shop for healthy foods 🛍️💸

Sometimes, online food shopping is the best option when dealing with a busy schedule or a lack of grocery stores nearby. Check to see if any local grocery stores have delivery options and explore Amazon. Sometimes, grocery stores will even deliver through Amazon!

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CareFirst Members

Nutrition and Healthy Eating for Maryland Medicaid Members:

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Apply for a one-year SAM’S CLUB membership just for being an UHC HPN Medicaid member.

Get a gym membership at many popular fitness facilities around town.

Complete recommended preventive care and vaccinations to qualify for a Walmart Healthy Living gift card.

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