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I’ve talked to a lot of people who think that eating healthy or following a “diet” or tracking macros is only possible when you have a lot of money. They think that there’s not way to eat all of these fancy healthy foods while on a budget But this is where you’re wrong! Being on a budget doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your health goals. It just means you need to be a little smarter about your purchases and plan accordingly! So today I want to show you how to eat healthy & track your macros on a budget!
1. Check for Coupons/Sales
This might be the most important tip that I share with you. Always always check for coupons/sales before you go to the grocery store! My grocery store has an app where they put all of their coupons and also list their weekly sales ad. This makes it super easy for me to scroll through and use the coupons that I want. Plus I look at the sales add to see what items are on sale. This is how I plan my week. If something I like is on sale, I see how I can incorporate it into my meal plan that week.
Also check to see if your grocery store has a store card you can sign up for. A lot of stores give you discounts for how much money you spend. My grocery store gives me 5% off my bill every time I spend $300. So each time I shop I rack up points and then eventually when I hit 300 I get the 5% coupon.
And if you’re really good with coupons, see if there’s any that you can double up on. For example just last week my store had a sale on cereal that was 2/$5. Then I had a personal coupon for $.50 off any two boxes of cereal. Also on a side note, anytime you see a sale that says 2 for $5 or 10 for $10 you do not have to buy all 10 items in order to get the sale. You can just buy 1 or 2 items and still get the discounted price. However if it says “$1 each when you buy 10” then you do need to buy all 10 to get the sale. Always check the wording.
2. Plan Your Week
Now that you’ve look around for the best sales and deals, it’s time to plan your week around these sales. If chicken breast is one sale, then find dinner/lunch recipes that use chicken as the protein source. One week my store had taco kits on sale and then salsa was buy one get one free. So that week I had tacos, burrito bowls, and taco salads. Then I saved the extra jar of salsa that was free and the following week I used it to make salsa chicken in the crockpot!
Plan out all of your meals that way you have a plan everyday. Tracking your macros is so much harder when you just try to “wing it”, I promise. Eggs and toast are a very cheap breakfast. So is oatmeal. I also like to buy turkey sausage and bacon when it’s on sale, wrap it individually and then freeze it. This way I can quickly grab it from the freezer whenever I want it.
For snacks I like to stick to whatever fresh fruit is on sale and cheese sticks. Then I will typically add in one other item that was on sale like hummus, nuts, a protein bar or another piece of fruit.
3. Take Inventory & Make a Shopping List
Now that you planned out your meals for the week, it’s time to make a list. Look at each recipe and write down the items that you need to buy. Always take a look around your kitchen to see what you already have, that way you don’t accidentally buy more.
This is also a great time to see what foods you already have in your pantry/fridge and plan your meals around it. Sometimes I buy more of something than I need because of a good sale. Then I always make sure I use it in the upcoming weeks so it doesn’t go to waste.
PRO TIP: write out your shopping list in groupings. For example I write all of the produce together, refrigerated items together, frozen items together, etc. This makes my shopping trip much more efficient!
4. Go Shopping
Now that you have your list it’s time to go shopping! Before you even go into the store make sure you have all of your coupons ready. Once inside the store make sure you stick to the list. Don’t buy extra things on a whim, because more than likely you won’t eat them and they’ll just go to waste.
5. Plan The Night Before
Now that shopping it done, it’s time to execute the plan you created originally (back in step #1). Each night I sit down and think about the next day. I thaw out any food I might need from the freezer. I also like to set aside my snacks and lunches for the next day so they are easy to grab in the morning. Remember that your plan is only good if you actually follow it. Going off plan usually results in wasted food.
- Utilize your freezer: If something you typical use is on sale, can you buy more than you need and freeze it? I always do this when chicken and turkey is on sale. Also I typically buy frozen veggies instead of fresh because this way I can use it a little bit at a time without worrying about it going back
- Always use all of your leftovers: Never throw anything away just because you don’t think you will use it. Save that little bit of extra pasta sauce because maybe you can use it to make a mini pizza later that week. Or save that small amount of onion because maybe you can mix it into a salad the next day for lunch
- Utilize foods with a long shelf life: foods like beans, pasta and rice have a very long shelf life. This means you can slowly eat them without worrying about them spoiling