Healthy Eating on a Budget

Here’s a blog from B.N. Shape Clothing’s Founder/CEO, Dr. O, on ways to eat healthy while on a budget.  You can find this and other blogs at


1.  Simplify your menu

2.  Get a Sam’s Club or CostCo membership

3.  Buy in Bulk

4.  Find every local grocery store and sign up for their bonus card 

5.  Buy spices…and LOTS OF ‘EM!


Yes, I know…eating healthy can get expensive!  As a graduate student, I only had so much money left after paying bills to spend on food.  So I’d like to share some of the tools I used to keep my refrigerator, freezer, and cabinets full of healthy foods, vitamins, and supplements.


1.  Simplify your menu

When you’re on a budget, you don’t have the luxury of diversifying your menu…sorry!  If you want to eat healthy, it’s just a necessary evil.  Some of the cheaper foods include: 

Protein: pre-frozen chicken breasts, pre-frozen tilapia, fresh bone-in chicken breasts, eggs

Carbohydrates: Quaker Quick oats (unflavored), sweet potatoes

Vegetables: Frozen veggies, fresh veggies

Fruits: Bananas, apples, peaches, plums, etc.




Now, if at all possible, I would avoid frozen protein and vegetable sources, due to the lack of nutrients compared to fresh meats and vegetables.  But hey, it’s better than nothing.  But if you want your foods fresh, the following strategies will definitely help!


2.  Get a Sam’s Club or CostCo membership

Don’t be deterred by the membership fee!  These wonderful establishments will save you money in the long run.  In many cases, their prices will be cheaper than local grocery stores.  So you are able to “splurge” on fresh vegetables, meats and fruits.  This also leads to my next tip…


3.  Buy in bulk 

At Sam’s Club or CostCo, you usually don’t have a choice because most of their products are sold in bulk.  Take advantage of this!  As a grad student, I’d get the same thing from Sam’s Club: chicken breasts, Quick oats, eggs, and broccoli…in HUGE quantities!  This also applies to buying protein powder (if this applies to you).  I used to order 10 pound bags of protein powder.  It’s a large upfront cost, but it is much cheaper than buying little shakes and 1 pound tubs of protein powder.  Buying in bulk will also save gas money by decreasing the amount of trips to the grocery store.


4.  Find every local grocery store and sign up for their bonus card  

Why? Because at least every week, you should be able to find ONE store having a sale on something you need.  Fruits? Chicken breasts? Eggs? Veggies?  You’ll find it.  How?  Because all of their sale advertisements will be mailed to you!  Don’t throw them out!  For example, whenever I needed chicken breasts, I could always catch a $0.99/pound sale.  And I’d literally buy ALL of the chicken breasts.  I’m not joking!  I wouldn’t have to buy chicken for another month.


5.  Buy spices…and LOTS OF EM! 

This is the cheapest way to keep your taste buds (somewhat) alive.  Since your menu is so simple, you need to try every possible variation for flavoring your food.  If you saw my cabinet, you might think I’m Emeril.  Nope…I just had to find a million ways to flavor my chicken breasts.  Also try different marinades (not high in sodium and without high fructose corn syrup or excess sugar).


Implementing these tools kept me fit while in graduate school, so give them a try!

Dr. O 
“I don’t live to eat…I eat to live!”


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