Do you REALLY want to eat better, but you think it’s just too expensive? If so, I’ve got good news for you; It IS actually possible to eat healthy without spending an arm and a leg!
“If you’re doing your shopping at a grocery store, a general rule of thumb is to stay away from the middle of the grocery store”
Obviously, if you’re eating out all the time, that’s going to add up quickly, so save that for the special occasions. To give you an idea of just how quickly that can add up, let’s say you eat out once a day, every month, and spend about $10/meal. That’s already $300/month… yikes! How about that $5 drink at Starbucks everyday? If you actually get a $5 coffee everyday, that’s an average of $150/month. I bought an espresso machine a few years ago… best decision EVER (seriously though)!!!
You have to pay for your health no matter what, you can do it now, by buying delicious food, or do it later, going in debt with medical bills.The nice thing about eating healthy, is that generally you end up eating a lot less. That’s because, when you give your body what it needs, you’ll feel more satiated, and for longer. You can eat all the junk you want, but if you’re not getting the proper nutrients, your body’s going to keep craving more, and leave you feeling constantly hungry. This side effect in itself ends up saving you some money.
Here are a few tips I have to help you eat better on a budget: If you’re doing your shopping at a grocery store, a general rule of thumb is to stay away from the middle of the grocery store, because that’s where most of the boxed, processed, junk food resides. That doesn’t mean EVERYTHING in that area is bad, but you should do most of your shopping around the outskirts. If you can get fresh fruits and veggies from a farmers market, do that. It’s sometimes cheaper than grocery store prices, because you’re not paying for the shipping and transportation. Plus, you’re supporting local farmers… a win, win.
Keep in mind, however, fresh produce doesn’t last very long, and making several trips to the grocery store every week means more money on gas… unless you have a bus pass, or ride your bike… in which case, good for you, give yourself a nice pat on the back for me. So only buy what you KNOW you’ll use. I like to get some fresh produce and some frozen, that way I don’t have to go back to the store as soon as I’ve used up all my fresh produce.
Buy produce that’s in season. It’s better for your health, your wallet, and the environment. Buy organic, when possible, but if you can’t afford to buy all organic, all the time, try your best to follow the “Dirty Dozen” & “Clean 15” chart. The “Dirty Dozen,” have been found to have the most contamination, while the “Clean 15,” have been found to have the least.
If you live with roommates, consider getting involved in a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) co-op. Then you can all just split the cost, and get fresh produce that’s definitely in season! If that’s something you’re interested in, check out LocalHarvest.org.
“The last tip I have, that saves me the most moolah, is ALWAYS keeping healthy snacks with you… “
Eggs are one of the cheapest, most nutrient dense sources of protein around. Get pasture raised, and non-gmo, if it’s available, the difference in taste, and color (nutrients), is extremely noticeable. For fish, frozen can often be much cheaper than fresh, so it’s always a good option. A lot of times meat that’s close to the sell-by-date will be on sale. If there’s a good sale, buy a lot and freeze some of it, meat generally keeps for a long time in the freezer!
Again, if you have roommates, or even if you don’t, you might want to look into buying in bulk, from a local butcher or rancher. You can find pasture-raised/grass-fed meat for much cheaper than in the grocery store. The only catch here, is that you’ll usually need an extra freezer in the garage to hold the meat. If that’s something you’re interested in, check out eatwild.com.
Eat lots of sweet potatoes!!!!!! Okay, maybe I’m just bias because sweet potatoes are my favorite food… but they’re a cheap, super nutrient dense carbohydrate, so why not?! High quality coconut oil, can often be found at Costco and Sams Club for cheap. And if you bake with gluten-free flours, they can often be found online, in bulk, which is always cheaper!
The last tip I have, that saves me the most moolah, is ALWAYS keeping healthy snacks with you: I leave a jar of cashew butter, and protein bars (EPIC Bars are my favorite!) in my car, and almost always bring fruit with me before I leave my house. That way, if I’m gone longer than intended, I won’t be tempted to stop and eat out, because I have snacks with plenty of protein and fat, that will hold me over until I get back home. If I know I’ll be gone long, then I bring a lunch with me.
Hope you found this article helpful, what are some of your favorite things to snack on?