Guest post by Chase Waters of BlenderBottle.

Life is full of choices, and it can feel like you have to choose between sticking to a budget and deciding to eat healthy when you’ve got a busy schedule. It might seem like you have to pick between sacrificing your health or your bank account. The good news is there are things you can do to have a healthy diet on a budget even if you have an incredibly busy life. Follow this guide for a few simple ways to make the balance easier.

Fill Up With Water

If you’re anything like the rest of the general population, you probably aren’t drinking enough water. When you’ve got a busy schedule, it’s easy to forget, especially if you don’t plan ahead. The average body needs about 8-10 cups of water a day, and that number only increases if you factor in heat, exercise, etc.

You may sometimes confuse hunger with thirst as well. If you’re feeling hungry between meals or snacks, try drinking a full glass of water and see if that helps. When you are bored, so you want to reach for a snack, grab your water bottle instead. Before starting a meal, drink a glass of water. This will ensure that you only eat when you are truly hungry.

Plan Your Menu Ahead of Time

Most people can’t depend upon making healthy choices in the heat of the moment. If you come home on a Thursday after a long day at work or school and your cupboards are empty, you probably won’t look up a recipe, make a list, go to the store to buy the ingredients, come home, cook the meal, and eat the proper portion sizes.

Look at your weekly schedule and pick a day that is best to go grocery shopping. Make a meal plan that includes every breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack. Write it down so you don’t forget, and make a shopping list. Stick to this plan, and you’ll save time, money, and calories.

Meal Prep

Prepare at least part of your meals for days that you know are extra busy ahead of time. Cook the meat, cut up the veggies, etc. to save time. If you know you don’t get home until late on Wednesdays, it’s nice if a meal just requires a couple minutes of assembly or reheating.

This method is especially helpful if several of your meals use some of the same ingredients.

Make Healthy Microwave Food

Perhaps you associate microwaves with frozen burritos or other unhealthy foods. However, the microwave doesn’t have to be your enemy on your journey to healthy eating. In fact, when you use healthy ingredients, a microwave can make delicious foods more accessible for those in a time crunch. The smaller cooking vessels used in a microwave can even help with portion control.

Start with the Healthy Food

It’s fine to indulge from time to time. Just make sure to fill up on healthy foods first to help with your portion sizes. Remember, the indulgence is more about satisfying a taste than satisfying hunger. If you sate your hunger with healthy foods first, you’ll have a natural incentive to keep yourself from going overboard with portion sizes.

Buy or Make Healthy, Portable Snacks

One of the best ways to eat healthy and cheap – and commit to proper portions – is to eat small snacks and meals throughout the day. This helps your body stay away from the starving mode where you feel like you have to eat everything in sight since you haven’t had food for hours and hours.

Of course, you probably don’t have time to prep several meals a day. Some healthy office- and school-friendly snacks include:

  • Fruit
  • String cheese
  • Nuts
  • Vegetables
  • Protein bar
  • Yogurt

It’s important to exercise restraint with snacks as it is easy to go overboard. If it’s better for you to only pack the snacks you’ll eat that day, then do that. If you are fine having extra food sitting around your desk/office, you can store your snacks there as well.

For more tips on cheap ways to eat well, check out BlenderBottle’s ultimate guide to eating healthy on a budget.


Chase is the senior digital marketing manager at BlenderBottle, a global leader in the health and fitness industry. He has worked in the internet marketing industry for the past 9 years, and specializes in search engine optimization and paid media. He shares in your passion for living a healthy lifestyle and wants to help athletes around the world reach their health and fitness goals.

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