Eating Healthy on a Budget >> 11 Ways to Boost Nutrition While Lowering Costs

Woman shopping for groceries

Whether you’re a student or just want to save money when shopping for food: eating healthy while sticking to a budget can be a huge challenge, but it’s possible (and really easy!). Here are 11 ways to maximize your nutritional spending power.

Woman buying groceries

Consider these tips before you go grocery shopping:

1. Invest in a water filter for your home

There are many different types to fit all budgets. Refill a glass or plastic BPA-free bottle instead of buying cases of bottled water at the store. This will reduce your cost in the long term, and it helps cut down on plastic pollution.

2. Get products from the farms in your area

Talk to the farmers about their practices. Many local farmers can’t afford to be certified as organic but follow the same practices of those that are certified, such as not spraying pesticides on their crops. They can be a great source for fruits, vegetables, and dairy products at reasonable prices.


3. Buy eggs as an alternative to meat

Eggs are typically inexpensive and are a great source of high quality protein. They are also a good source of the essential nutrient choline, vitamin B12, amino acids, and carotenoids. If you don’t use them all before the expiration date, you can boil them and keep them in the refrigerator for up to a week.

4. Buy frozen fruits and vegetables

…as they are usually less expensive than buying fresh. Another advantage is you can take out only what you need and the rest won’t go bad and be wasted. Also, buy fruits and vegetables when they’re in season and freeze them yourself.  

frozen vegetables

5. Start an herb garden

Growing your own herbs (e.g. in your kitchen or on your balcony) will save you money and you don’t have to worry about contaminants like pesticides and herbicides. This is something you can do no matter where you live – be it out in the country or the middle of a city.

6. Cook with coconut milk

It’s inexpensive and it can be used in a variety of recipes. Coconut milk is a great source of healthy fats. Lauric acid is a saturated fat that has antibacterial properties and has been linked to improved heart health. The MCTs (medium chain triglycerides) in coconuts are easily used by your brain for energy and encourage your body to burn fat for fuel.

7. Make your own nut butters

This is done by roasting the nuts in the oven, then blending them in a food processor or high powered blender. Making nut butters at home will not only save you money, but also allows you to control the added ingredients!

homemade nut butter

Test your knowledge about nuts 😉

8. Mix some wild rice into your dining routine

Wild rice is a great substitute for white or brown rice. It has more protein than both white and brown rice – and it’s a complete protein, meaning it contains all essential amino acids. It’s actually a grass, making it a good source of several phytonutrients. Wild rice is also high in fiber, antioxidants, and phosphorus. Phosphorus is a key mineral for bone health and can help prevent stress fractures.(1)

9. Cook with lots of fresh garlic

It’s inexpensive and has many health benefits. Garlic acts both as a natural antibiotic and antiviral agent. It also supports heart health and research indicates that it may reduce cancer risk.(2) The main active ingredient disappears within about an hour after you cut into it, so it’s best to eat garlic fresh when possible!

raw garlic

10. Buy “bone in” meats

They typically cost less than boneless and come with an advantage: the bone marrow.  Approximately 70% of bone marrow’s calories are healthy monounsaturated fatty acids. These can lower cholesterol and reduce heart disease risk.(3)

11. Make your own bone broth

This is easier than it may sound and it uses leftover carcass bones that would otherwise be thrown away. Basically, you simmer the bones for about 24 hours in a pot or slow cooker. It’s easy to find simple instructions online. Bone broth supports digestion(4, 5), joint health,(6) skin health,(7) and boosts immunity.


Jen Rhines Jen is one of the best female runners in the world – she has participated in the Olympic Games three times. "I can't imagine a life without running," says the running and health coach. View all posts by Jen Rhines