Tips to Begin Clean Eating on a Budget

1/16/20246 min read

Many who have successfully transformed their lives through weight loss and lifestyle changes agree on the importance of adopting healthy habits.

One key aspect that significantly contributed to my journey was clean eating.

The most crucial difference it made was that it took away cravings and worked as an appetite suppressant, making it easier to create a calorie deficit, which contributed to my faster weight loss.

So if you have the same goal as I had when I decided to lose my excess weight and body fat and keep it off, this post is for you.

In this post we will:

  • Explore what clean eating is

  • Provide tips to begin clean eating

  • Discuss how to choose healthy food

  • Offer alternatives for healthy sweets and fats

  • Share grocery shopping tips for clean eating

  • Go through simple recipes to get you started on your clean eating journey without breaking the bank.

What is Clean Eating?

Clean eating refers to prioritizing whole, unprocessed foods and trying to consume foods in their most natural state, without additives, preservatives, and artificial ingredients.

The focus is on fresh fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats.

Clean eating also emphasizes drinking plenty of water and avoiding sugary beverages.

Tips to Begin Clean Eating

Starting a clean eating journey can be overwhelming, but with a few simple tips, you can make the transition easier:

1. Meal planning and meal prep: Planning and preparing your meals ahead of time is an important step because it allows you to make better choices while avoiding impulse purchases.

Make a weekly food plan and a grocery list based on it.

2. Cooking at home: Making food at home allows you to manage the ingredients you use. It is also more cost-effective than eating out.

3. Reading labels: When grocery shopping, read the labels carefully. Avoid products with so many ingredients and added sugars, artificial sweeteners, and hydrogenated oils.

4. Focus on whole foods: Fill your plate with a variety of whole foods, and always start with some sort of vegetable.

Fruits, vegetables, healthy grains such as quinoa and oats, and lean proteins are nutrient-dense and will keep you satisfied and keep cravings away.

5. Reduce processed foods: Processed foods often contain hidden sugars, unhealthy fats, and artificial additives.

Stay away from processed foods as much as you can and opt for homemade alternatives.

Choosing Healthy Food

When it comes to clean eating, choosing healthy food is essential. Here are some tips to help you make healthier choices:

1. Shop the perimeter: Fresh vegetables, meats, and dairy products are typically found in the outer aisles of a grocery store. Spend more time shopping in these areas.

2. Seasonal produce are your friends: Seasonal fruits and vegetables are typically less expensive and more flavorful. They are also fresher and contain more nutrients.

3. Buy in bulk: Buying staples like grains, nuts, and seeds in bulk will help you save money in the long run. Look for companies or online retailers that sell bulk items.

4. Choose lean proteins: Lean proteins such as chicken, turkey, fish, or legumes. These options are not only healthier but also more budget-friendly.

5. Experiment with plant-based meals: Incorporating more plant-based meals into your diet can be cost-effective. Beans, lentils, and tofu are affordable sources of protein.

Healthy Sweets and Fats for Clean Eating

Clean eating doesn't mean giving up sweets and fats entirely. It's about making healthier choices. Here are some alternatives:

Healthy Sweets:

Opt for fresh fruits: Enjoy nature's candy by indulging in a variety of fresh fruits. Even though they are naturally sweet, they won't make you gain weight as they are packed with vitamins and fiber.

Make homemade treats: Instead of spending a lot of money on unhealthy store-bought desserts loaded with refined sugars, try making your own using natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup.

Choose dark chocolate: Dark chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa is a healthier option compared to milk chocolate. It contains antioxidants and less sugar.

Healthy Fats:

Include avocados: Avocados are so nutritious that it doesn't take a lot of them to satisfy one's appetite. Therefore, you can take advantage of their healthy fats without spending a ton of money buying a lot of them.

Use olive oil: Replace unhealthy oils with olive oil in your cooking. Again, you don't need a lot of this amazing oil to enrich your meals with, so you help both your abs and your pockets.

Snack on nuts and seeds: These excellent sources of healthy fats are amazing choices when it comes to snacks. Enjoy a handful of almonds or walnuts with one or two dates, and you will be in no need of anything else for a good while, and your body and budget both will thank you.

Grocery Shopping for Clean Eating

Grocery shopping for clean eating doesn't have to break the bank. Follow these tips to make your shopping trips more budget-friendly:

1. Stick to your list: Avoid impulse purchases by sticking to your shopping list. This will prevent you from buying unnecessary and unhealthy items, which can hurt both your weight loss goals and your budget eating plan.

2. Buy in-season produce: In-season produce is often more affordable and fresher. Plan your meals around what is currently in season.

3. Compare prices: Go to different stores and compare prices between different brands and shops. Look for sales and discounts to save money.

4. Shop local: Local farmers' markets often offer fresh produce at lower prices. Support local farmers while getting the best value for your money.

5. Consider frozen options: Frozen fruits and vegetables can be as nutritious as fresh ones, and they are generally less expensive. They also have a longer shelf life.

Simple Recipes to Begin Clean Eating on a Budget

Here are a few simple and budget-friendly recipes to get you started on your clean eating journey:

1. Quinoa Salad


  • 1 cup cooked quinoa

  • Assorted vegetables (such as cucumbers, tomatoes, and bell peppers)

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

  • Salt and pepper to taste


1. Use a large bowl to combine the cooked quinoa and chopped vegetables.

2. Use a separate bowl to whisk the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper together.

3. Add the dressing to the quinoa and vegetables and toss to combine.

4. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.

2. Black Bean Tacos


  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

  • 1 teaspoon cumin

  • 1 teaspoon chili powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 8 small corn tortillas

  • Assorted toppings (such as lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, and salsa)


1. In a small saucepan, heat the black beans over medium heat, then add the cumin, chili powder, and garlic powder. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Warm the corn tortillas in a skillet, air fryer or microwave.

3. Fill each tortilla with the seasoned black beans and your desired toppings.

4. Serve immediately.

3. Baked Lemon Salmon with Roasted Vegetables


  • 4 salmon fillets

  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme

  • Salt and pepper, to taste

For the Roasted Vegetables:

  • 2 cups broccoli florets

  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced

  • 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced

  • 1 zucchini, sliced

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • Salt and pepper, to taste


1. Use a small bowl to mix minced garlic, olive oil, dried oregano, dried thyme, salt, and pepper.

2. Brush the salmon fillets with the above mixture.

3. Place lemon slices on top of each fillet for added flavor.

4. In a separate bowl, toss broccoli, red bell pepper, yellow bell pepper, and zucchini with olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Then, bake the salmon and vegetables in a preheated oven you set at 400°F (200°C) for 15-20 minutes, or cook it in an air fryer until the salmon is cooked through and flakes easily with a fork.

The vegetables should not be over cooked, just until they are tender and slightly browned.


Clean eating is a lifestyle choice that promotes consuming whole, unprocessed foods.

It is possible to begin clean eating on a budget by planning meals, choosing healthy foods, opting for alternatives for sweets and fats, and being mindful of your grocery shopping.

With these tips and simple recipes, you can embark on your clean eating journey without breaking the bank.

Remember, clean eating is about nourishing your body and making healthier choices, so enjoy the process and savor the benefits it brings to your overall well-being.