To stay healthy requires a healthy diet and if you’re trying to lose weight and build muscle a healthy diet is even more important. Proteins, carbs, fruits, vegetables and healthy fats are all part of a healthy diet. They’re needed to build muscle, maintain energy levels and give you all the vitamins, minerals and fiber that your body needs. Hydration is also a must have in a healthy diet. Unfortunately, the rising cost of quality foods makes it seem hard. If you’re paycheck isn’t increasing as fast as food costs it can seem near impossible, but with these tips and tricks you’ll be able to keep a healthy diet on a budget.

1) Search for whole foods. Buying unprocessed foods is cheaper than processed foods and it’s better for you. Not only do you save a little money you’ll also have complete control of ingredients. Box meals should be avoided as often as possible. Whole foods that offer protein include ground beef, chicken breast, tune, cheeses and eggs. You can get your cards from pastas, oats, bananas, spinach and rice. Flax seeds, olive oil and fish oil offer you healthy fats.

2) Affordable proteins are your best bet for a budgeted healthy diet. You need a gram of protein per pound of body-weight a day to maintain and build muscle. Instead of stocking up on high cost steaks and fish to fill your protein needs buy eggs, tuna, chicken and other cheaper protein sources.

3) Frozen fruits and vegetables are a great way to save. All kinds of fruits and vegetables are available at most stores. You can pull out berries and munch on them for a snack after a few seconds in the microwave. Frozen vegetables can be pulled out and added to almost any casserole dish. Frozen foods are also available in bulk and can cost up to half as much as buying fresh. The frozen foods are also already washed and cut so that you can save time during preparation.

4) Shop for generic and store brands. It’s hard to overlook a favored brand when you’re shopping for foods. However many generic brands taste just like or very close to name brand items. By buying off brand products you’ll save on money companies spend on marketing and packaging.

5) Supplements can help fill in the holes. While your diet should be filled with whole foods sometimes there are gaps. Supplements can help maintain a healthy body and often are less costly than whole foods. Look into buying protein, Fish Oil and a multi-vitamin.

6) Stock up, especially when sales are going on. Most dry foods like rice and pasta are easy to store. So when stores run a promotion for these items buy as much as you can and stock it away. You can often find supplements online available for bulk sale. Find sites you trust and watch for free shipping promotions.

7) Only buy fruits and vegetables that are in season. Buying foods that are out of season cost more and often those foods don’t taste as good. In the winter root vegetables, like potatoes and carrots, are in season. Apples and late season fruits are in season during the fall and you can enjoy berries and early season vegetables in the summer.

8) Calorie dense foods, like whole milk, potatoes and pasta are a healthy way to get your daily calories fast and affordably.

9) Discounted meat is a great way to stock up on proteins. Many stores will run a sale or a discount when meats start getting close to their expiration date. These meats can be bought in bulk and stored in a freezer until you’re ready to prepare them.

10) Visit your local farmer’s market. You may not always find cheaper foods, but often the foods are better tasting and high quality than those found in stores. Farmers will also be willing to offer lower prices or offer free stuff when you’re looking to buy a lot.