Healthy Eating on a Budget

You may think that ‘healthy eating’ and ‘budget’ are two words that can’t go together, however this is not the case! With just a little planning and effort, you can enjoy a variety of healthy foods without breaking the bank. Here are some tips and tricks that can help you eat well on a budget.

Set a budget.

  • Planning your meals and grocery lists around your budget helps you think ahead of time.


Make a list, stick to it.

  • Helps you avoid any impulse buys.


Look for sales.

  • Use flyers, coupons, grocery websites and apps to find foods on your list that might be on sale.
  • Plan some of your meals around sale items.
  • Discounted items close to their best before dates are good options if you can use them up quickly.


Compare prices.

  • No name brands are typically cheaper than brand name products.
  • Use flyers to price match products on sale.
  • Scan the top and bottom areas of grocery shelves as this is often where the more inexpensive products are.
  • Items in bulk are less expensive than single-serving packaging.


Stock up.

  • Stock up on canned items and staples you know you’ll use when they are on sale.


Extend the shelf life.

  • Food that is nearing its best before date can be frozen to make the shelf life longer. These include:
    • Lean meats or poultry.
    • Fruits and vegetables.
    • Whole grain bread.
  • This saves money and reduces waste.


What’s the season?

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables are more affordable when they are in season.
    • E.g. berries are less expensive in the summer.
  • Frozen and canned fruits and vegetables are usually less expensive than fresh.
    • Good options for when produce is out of season, or even in season.
    • Frozen produce is just as healthy as fresh.
    • Choose canned items low in sodium and rinse canned vegetables.


Choose plant-based proteins more often.

  • Beans, lentils and legumes are inexpensive protein foods.
    • Incorporate these into your meals several times a week.
    • Low in saturated fat.
  • Dried beans and lentils are the most cost-efficient.
    • Allow time to soak beans in water before cooking with them.


Choose less processed foods.

  • Highly processed foods such as cookies, chips, sugary drinks, and processed meats are less nutritious and more expensive.
  • Usually, the more processed or prepared something is, the more expensive it is.
    • E.g. grated cheese is more expensive than a block of cheese.
    • Prepare these foods at home.


Explore grocery stores.

  • Shop at discount grocery stores, such as Food Basics.
  • Convenience stores are typically more expensive.
  • Ask if your grocery store has a seniors or discount day.
  • Take a taxi with a friend and split the cost.


Best buys for each food group:

  • Fruits and vegetables
    • Staples such as carrots, potatoes, oranges, bananas, onions.
    • Frozen or canned options.
  • Protein
    • Dried or canned beans, peas or lentils.
    • Canned fish.
    • Less expensive cuts of meat such as stewing, blade or flank, pork shoulder.
    • Tofu, eggs.
    • Powdered milk.
    • Bagged milk is cheaper than milk in cartons, can freeze the bags if you won’t use by best before date.
    • Block cheese and yogurt in tubs.
  • Grain products
    • Dry whole grain pasta.
    • Parboiled or brown rice.
    • Whole grain bread.
    • Hot cereals such as oatmeal or creamed wheat.


For additional resources on healthy eating, check out Stay on Your Feet’s Healthy Aging Toolkit.