For many people, eating healthy and saving money appear to be at opposite ends of the spectrum. And at first glance, I can totally understand this. McDonalds is selling burgers for $1 while the average salad at Whole Foods will run over $8. It seems crazy (and it is), but there's a wallet-friendly option if you have the space for it.
Buy in bulk and pre-make meals.
What you need:1) Reusable food containers2) Bulk food3) Fridge/cabinet space
By making your food in advance (e.g., Sunday = Food Prep Day) you'll have food ready when you're hungry (bring a container to work for lunch) and you can take advantage of bulk food prices, which are almost always way cheaper than pre-made food.
**Reusable Food Containers**- Consider if you want glass or plastic (glass = more expensive but is considered healthier)- Check to see if it's dishwasher/microwave safe- Read reviews to make sure the lids don't fall off- Consider buying 1 for every meal you want to have ready in advance, OR- Buy a couple big bulk containers for keeping the majority of your pre-made food in, and then transfer from the big bulk container to a small "grab and go" container for taking with you when you're ready (i.e., you can wash the small containers throughout the week and keep reusing them, whereas you can keep the bulk containers in the fridge with your pre-made food in them until the next prep day).
**Bulk Food**- Load up on proteins for meals that fill you up and keep you feeling full- Frozen veggies are great for throwing in the freezer and having ready to go after a couple minutes in the microwave- Brown rice and quinoa are super easy to cook and can be found dirt cheap*- Greens tend to go bad quickly (I've had the worst luck with chard) especially when organic, so I tend to keep the least amount of these on hand and just re-order/buy more regularly
*Everyone complains about the price of quinoa, but you can find bulk bags of nutritious quinoa online for $2.19/lb if you look for it. (Here's a quick link I just found, but do your own homework! http://www.amazon.com/Dallesandro-G08C63-Quinoa-10-Bag/dp/B000RHUYD4)
**Fridge/Cabinet Space**- Bulk grains don't take up too much space relative to how much food they provide (e.g., half cup of pre-cooked quinoa = a good deal of cooked quinoa)- Have your food arrive (or go buy it) on your prep day so you can take everything out of packing, prepare it, then put it in the fridge in your containers
Some General Best Practices- Make a few different types of meals on your prep day so you don't get sick of eating the same thing every day- Include a source of protein in every meal to keep you full- Consider eating salads sooner rather than later in the week so as to avoid them getting wilted and slimy (or add any liquids like olive oil / salad dressing on the day of eating the salad)- Order all your stuff from as few vendors as possible to save on shipping costs, or purchase from a local store