15 Tips To Eat Cheap and Stay Healthy With These Popular Diets


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Man grocery shopping
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Your regular routine can change drastically when you remove entire food groups to follow a specific diet, and one of those changes can be a much larger grocery bill. Staying on budget while following many of the most popular diets these days can require a little more effort, but it's worth it to avoid having to sacrifice a lifestyle you've chosen to pursue health and happiness. Whichever diet you choose, including paleo, ketogenic, vegan, gluten-free, or a personalized one, we've found helpful tips to stay on budget and feel your best.
Plate of vegetables and chicken for a paleo diet
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When going paleo it is tempting to compensate for the lack of refined foods such as flour, grains, and legumes with satisfying meat. Eating a lot of meat can be less healthy, as well as pricey. Restrict portions to the right size for your body type.
Vegan wrap and soup
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Even without any animal products there are plenty of tempting prepared snack foods and meals. Focus on whole foods, rather than just anything -- including junk -- that happens to be vegan.
Bowl of popcorn
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These days there is a gluten-free version of just about everything, but in many cases they are more costly. Opt for foods that are naturally gluten free, which still includes treats such as chocolate bars, fruit, and popcorn, rather than always reaching for the engineered substitutes.
Bowl of oatmeal with fresh berries
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Eating a low-glycemic diet is about keeping blood sugar levels stable. Things that can be healthy choices for some, such as popcorn and watermelon, are the worst choices on a low-glycemic diet. Do your research and know which natural foods are allies -- those with a glycemic index of 60 or lower.
Assorted food with high fat for a ketogenic diet
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The keto diet is used by more people for quick weight loss than as a full-time lifestyle change. Since this diet is all about avoiding carbs, the first move is to load up on fats such as avocado, meats, cheese, and other tasty, but pricey items. Find lower- priced sources of filling protein and fat, such as nuts and seeds.
Produce section in a grocery store
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Raw food diets can be surprisingly costly when loading up on organic produce. While it is important to eat the highest-quality raw foods, there are some foods that are naturally more resistant to chemicals than others, so it's not as important to buy organic. Know which foods take priority when it comes to spending more, and which foods don't make much of a difference.
Friends eating outside at a potluck
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Setting up a weekly meal with others on the same diet is a fun way to get variety and bulk. Since you only have to prepare one dish, it's a low-cost way to get access to a large meal that includes ideas for future recipes, and probably leftovers.
Bulk health food section at a grocery store
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Once you find the foods that work best, stock up. Head to a few local supermarkets to find which bulk sections offer the best deals. Invest in a food storage plan that keep items fresh for longer.
Prepared food section in a store
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Prepared meals and snacks are convenient and tempting, but always marked up. Reaching for a ready-made lunch or dinner will usually triple the cost of the same meal if it were homemade. Save prepared food for special occasions.
Frozen vegetables
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Stocking up on frozen foods, or making large batches and freezing individual portions, is a convenient way to keep inexpensive food on hand. Relying on frozen fruits and veggies is also a way to get access to high-quality organic produce for less money.
Vegetables in a grocery store
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All of these diets include vegetables. Vegetables are healthy, inexpensive, and surprisingly filling. Include more in your diet, no matter what it is.
Holding vitamins and supplements
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Many alternative diets must be supplemented with vitamins to ensure there are no deficiencies. Rather than buying a ton of vitamins that are destined to end up unused in the cupboard, investigate which vitamins are necessary for your diet plan, and opt for a high-quality supplement. Quality is a better value than quantity.
Coconut flour
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Most alternative diets have substitutes for a favorite food that you can't have, such as vegan cheese, paleo coconut flour, or raw nachos. There are plenty of recipes and tutorials online. Take time to experiment.
Packages delivered to a doorstep
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Sites such as Nuts.com offer a wide range of products that fit different lifestyle diets at very competitive prices. There are options to buy in big or small quantities, which makes it easy to try out products or buy the ones you like in bulk.
Woman talking to a local grocer at a farmer's market
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Having a friendly relationship with the person selling you produce at a farmers market can go a long way. Offering good deals on slightly bruised produce, or seconds, or simply throwing in an extra something are ways that most farmers show appreciation for loyal and friendly customers.

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