I often hear ‘eating healthy is too expensive’ and it drives me NUTS! Often the same mouths that are stating that point are eating processed and fast food that is far from cheap. Is white bread cheaper than brown? Are staple fruits and veggies cheaper than processed corndogs? No. So this drove me to write this week’s blog about eating healthy on a budget – you can eat healthy and save money…here’s how!
Buy in bulk – whether it be at your local grocery store or specialty health food store, there are loads of healthy options in the bulk department. Chia and flax seed, whole grain pasta, lentils, spices – you name it, you can buy it in bulk. And not only are you saving some dough, you’re also saving the environment with less packaging.
I know organic is more expensive. And although I find it to be a priority, everything does not have to be organic. A good rule of thumb is if it has a thick peel, you are good to go non-organic. Dr. Andrew Weil, one of my all time favorite health gurus, names the ‘dirty dozen’ to always buy organic, and the ‘clean 15’ that you are okay to buy non-organic here – http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ALB00035/The-Dirty-Dozen-Foods-You-Should-Always-Buy-Organic.html
Keep you eye open for sales at your favorite health food store, grocery store or pharmacy for supplements on sale. In Winnipeg, Vita Health (http://www.vitahealthstores.ca/) always has a flyer with items on sale and in-store specials that I love to take advantage of. Buy one, get one, or reduced prices on supplements happen all the time at supermarkets and large pharmacies…buy them on sale and you’re sure to save a buck.
Collect points – shopping rewards, air miles, or in-store ‘bucks’…be sure to collect them. They really do add up. You might still pay regular price on your food, but if you can get a free flight at the end of the year, it’s definitely worth it.
Grow your own. If you can, you must! Plant a garden that you can eat from. This way you ensure pesticide free food while at the same time being able to eat at almost no cost. It is some work, but work you will most certainly enjoy the fruits of your labor from.
Community gardens are a great way to get to know people in your neighborhood while at the same time save money. They work similar to a food swap – ‘I’ll trade you some tomatoes for some corn’ mentality. Find out if your area has one and get involved.
Farmers Markets might be my all-time favorite place to be. Buying your organic produce from a farmer and his/her family feels great…and it’s cheaper too. I could easily spend $40 at a market and have fresh fruit and veggies for us all week.
Cook for yourself. Be rid of the processed foods – they tend to be added with ‘food’ items you don’t understand, are packaged incessantly, and are much more expensive. Have a day with friends where you make soups, sauces, dips and items that you can freeze. It is a fun day to spend with your buddies while making whole, natural, nutritious and delicious food. There are tons of recipes online to make anything and everything you can imagine…so go do that!
Eating healthy can be done on a dime, and I promise that down the road your body and bank account will thank you for it.