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The price of food is rising all the time, and sometimes it seems like convenience foods and junk foods are more affordable than natural, healthy foods.

This doesn’t have to be the case!

Keep your meals simple, healthy, delicious and affordable with these tips.

Plan Ahead

Not knowing what you’re going to make for dinner is a surefire way to end up ordering takeout (and spending more money).

Shop for groceries with a list so you don’t buy items you don’t need. And stock up on sale items, especially those you can freeze. Watch for sales on fresh foods such as produce and meat.

Check whether a canned or frozen item might be cheaper than fresh, particularly when it comes to produce (but watch out for added salt and extra ingredients you don’t want).

Look for Basics

Many people choose fast food over fresh because they believe it’s cheaper, but this simply isn’t always the case.

Potatoes are cheaper than crisps; rolled oats are cheaper than breakfast bars; apples are cheaper than fruit bars – so stop telling yourself you can’t afford healthy food.

You can.

Stretch Your Meals

Many times, you can make an expensive item yield more servings by stretching it with a cheaper item.

For example, add canned beans to a meat dish such as a stew to make it go further, or enjoy fresh blueberries with a healthy staple like oatmeal. Brown rice is another healthy, inexpensive “filler.”

Do a Little More of the Work Yourself

You can save money just by being willing to spend a few extra minutes in the kitchen. Buy a block of cheese and grate it yourself.

Squeeze your own orange juice (or better yet, eat the whole orange). Buy a whole chicken and see if you can get two, three or even four meals out of it.

If you’re feeling ambitious, you can even bake your own bread (homemade, whole grain bread costs mere pennies per serving).

There are lots of ways to cut costs when shopping for healthy food.

With a little planning and a few good recipes, healthy meals can be just as cheap as junk food.

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