Wedding costs have really ballooned in the last few years. The average wedding now costs a whopping $30,000, and the bride and groom usually pick up about 42 percent of the bill, according to a national survey. So, if you're looking for ways to save money in your everyday life, while still maintaining that wedding day diet (you have to feel and look healthy after all!) these tips can help you eat healthy, for less.
Yes, the noodles that got you through college can also help out now! To make it healthier and more filling, try using low-sodium chicken broth instead of water, then use only half the seasoning packet and noodles to cut down on salt and calories. "Add some of your own steamed veggies and lean protein like shredded chicken breast or shrimp to make an entire meal," says Marjorie Cohn, MS, RDN, a national spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics. For an extra boost of flavor, top with chopped green onions.
Ditch pricey packaged snacks.
Snack bars can be good for your body, but at more than $2 a pop, they're not too wallet-friendly. Stock up on apples or carrots and low-fat cheese sticks instead. They're portable, affordable, and filling, says Cohn.
"Many restaurants have notoriously large portions," warns Cohn, so either share an entrée with a friend or ask your server to put half of your meal in a to-go container right away. Voila, two dinners for the price of one! Another good move: "Order appetizers— often they are large enough to be a meal," says Cohn. "I love ordering two appetizers for my meal, such as a simple salad and protein-based appetizer. I get more variety, it feels indulgent, and is likely to have a lot less calories."
See More: 50 Ways to Slash Your Wedding Budget
Skip organics for awhile.
While there are fewer chemical pesticide residues on organic produce and other foods, "there isn't valid research that shows organic is nutritionally better," says Cohn. "The biggest mistake I see is when people get caught up in the notion they have to have organic food. Organic foods are often twice as expensive. Conventional foods are safe to eat and much, much cheaper!"
Store-brand foods are often the same exact product as the name brand, just packaged differently, says Cohn. So give generics a try when they're available— and if you like 'em, stick with them!
You probably don't have time right now to sift through all of the junk mail and circulars for discounts, but the next time you're poking (and pinning) around online, Google a few of the more expensive items (cereals, frozen meals, drinks) you buy regularly to see if there are any manufacturer coupons. You might check your favorite grocery store's website too— big stores often have digital coupons you can download onto your shopper loyalty card.