Clever Tips for Eating Clean on a Budget

Yes you CAN eat clean and still stay within your budget. Check out these tips for saving money while you eat right and get fit.
eating clean on a budget

Do you find it’s hard to stay within your grocery budget while eating clean? It can be a shock to the wallet when you go from buying pre-packaged or take-out options to purchasing all the ingredients for your meals and creating them at home. 

It can be frustrating to sort out the least expensive way to shop when you first start eating clean, but you can eat clean without sacrificing your budget with the right amount of know-how. 

Here are a few tricks for getting all the clean eating supplies you need and still coming in under budget at the grocery store:

Avoid Packaged Foods

If you want to take the easy way out, you can pick up pre-packaged cooked broccoli and ‘clean’ meals in the frozen section, but you’ll blow through your budget more quickly than if you take the time to prep your food at home. 

Plus, you’ll save on plastic, which helps the environment. 

Often the convenience factor isn’t worth it. Avoid plastic containers with pre-chopped veggies and plan to take a little extra time to get your food ready before you cook. You’ll save money, and you’ll help our planet.

Nix the Meat

If you’re planning to eat clean and make the switch from mystery meat products to clean, honorably sourced meats, prepare to pay more. 

On the other hand, many vegetarian options are much cheaper than meat and pack a huge protein punch, as well as more fiber. Beans and rice are one of the most popular high-protein food combinations and also happen to be very affordable. 

If you’re willing to go meatless on Mondays, or even on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, you’ll quickly minimize your clean eating costs and get plenty of high-quality protein and fiber along the way.

Consider Canned Food!

Just because it isn’t fresh out of the garden doesn’t mean it isn’t healthy. Sometimes the least expensive and best tasting foods come straight out of a can or a freezer bag. When foods are canned or frozen, they’re at their peak of freshness and contain the highest nutrition content. 

Try stocking your pantry from the canned food aisle and filling your freezer with frozen plant-based foods, and you’ll not only save money, but you’ll also have plenty of fresh fruits and veggies any time of year.  

Buy Organic Sometimes

There’s no question that organic is best. We don’t want harmful chemicals all over our food. However, not all non-organic foods post a threat to our health.

The best way to avoid spending too much on organic foods is to be selective about which organic foods you buy and which non-organic foods go in the cart. The Environmental Working Group’s list titled the “Clean Fifteen” tells you which non-organic veggies you can safely buy:

  • Sweet corn
  • Avocado
  • Pineapple
  • Frozen sweet peas
  • Onions
  • Papayas
  • Eggplant
  • Asparagus
  • Kiwis
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Cantaloupe
  • Broccoli
  • Mushrooms
  • Honeydew melons

Sticking to a clean eating plan while you’re on a tight budget can be a challenge. But with a little information and some planning, you can keep under budget and still fill your plate with clean and nutritious foods that support your health and fitness goals. 

Cara Steinmann
Cara Steinmann is a business development and strategic partnership consultant for purpose-driven female founders. She's also a longtime health and wellness writer, former personal trainer, and certified meditation & mindfulness instructor.