As good as it feels to eat healthy and treat your body right, it can get tricky when you’re in a pinch. Why get a $9 green juice when you can get dinner for $5 at your nearest fast food drive-thru? We know the struggle. So here are three quick tricks to eating healthier on a budget!

Set a budget for groceries, then apply the 80/20 rule.
Have you heard of the 80/20 rule for eating? The basic premise is that you eat healthy, nutritious foods 80 percent of the time, and indulge in treats 20 percent of the time. It allows you to have a more flexible, balanced diet rather than one that’s strict and regimented. Apply this method to figure out a reasonable monthly budget for food. Then, do some math! Spend 80 percent of your food budget on groceries to make meals at home and 20 percent for dining out. By doing this, you’ll save money by making your own meals and have better control over portions and ingredients that go into each dish.

Shop smart!
Now that you have your food budget for groceries, use the following tips to help stick to it when you’re at the store:

  • Find the most affordable grocery stores in your neighborhood by doing some research. Ask friends, co-workers, and family where they like to shop! You can also experiment by purchasing the same items at different stores and see which receipt came out the lowest.
  • Don’t go into the store on an empty stomach. You will undoubtedly purchase more food, especially those that have higher fat and sugar content. Eat a snack before you shop – your wallet and body will thank you later!
  • Pick up a basket instead of a cart. If you’re visiting the grocery store each week to restock on fresh foods, a basket will suffice. It’s easy to pick up unnecessary items when you shop around with a large cart because you want to fill it up. A basket will force you to shop smart.
  • Shop the perimeter of the store where all the fresh vegetables, fruits, and meats are located and avoid the center aisles where most of the pricey, processed foods are. Sticking to this alone will keep costs down.

Take advantage of happy hour.
Happy hour is a perfect solution to catching up with friends without putting a huge dent in your bank account or compromising your health goals. Happy hour offers great deals on food and drinks before restaurant peak hours – you don’t have to sacrifice your social life to save money! What’s more, the happy hour snack can hold you over until you’re back home and able to eat something healthier.

xx, The FabFitFun Team