In this economy, who’s not concerned about eating healthy on a budget?
If you have made a commitment to a healthy eating schedule, you may be worried that your food bills will skyrocket, but this does not have to be the case.
Organic produce costs more than conventional produce, raw and organic dairy costs more than pasteurized dairy, and organic and grass-fed meats cost more than factory-farmed meats. Eating healthy on a budget can definitely be tough, but it is far from impossible if you follow some of these tips:
- The number one way to eat healthy and save money is to eat at home as much as possible and to focus on whole foods. Meals prepared at home are almost always better quality and are definitely less expensive than meals out, and whole foods are cheaper and more eco-friendly than packaged foods. Definitely skip going out for tea and coffee. You’ll save a lot of money (and you’ll do your health and the environment a favor) by preparing your own organic and fair trade varieties as home.
- Consider joining a co-op that allows you to order directly from a natural foods distribution company. Items are typically ordered by the case so it is a good way to buy larger quantities of healthy staple items, canned and jarred goods, and all-natural body care items that you use frequently at discounted prices. You can also purchase large quantities of grains, beans, nuts and seeds this way, and you can split the large quantities with other members of your co-op. You can find out if there may be a food co-op you can join in your area by word-of-mouth or place an ad in your local paper if you would like to start one.
- Take advantage of sales. Large supermarkets as well as health food stores typically discount numerous items significantly, so buy these when you can. When organic butter and frozen fruit are on sale, for example, stock up and keep them in the freezer. Sales are also a great time to stock up on items that you really enjoy, but may generally avoid buying due to their cost.
- Buy what you can in bulk; nuts, seeds, grains, and dried beans are best purchased this way. This cuts down on packaging, so it’s better for the environment, but buying in bulk also saves money. Beans in particular are much less expensive if you buy them dried (and soak and cook them yourself) instead of in cans.
- Be realistic when you’re eating healthy on a budget. Don’t buy all organic produce if you can not afford it. It might make more sense to just buy local conventional fruits and vegetables, and clean them well with a produce wash. The benefit of eating these foods outweighs the negatives. Some supermarkets have their own brand of organic produce that may be more cost-effective than the produce in the typical health food store- compare and save money where you can.
- Learn to prepare foods that have traditionally been homemade, such as stocks, cultured vegetables and kombucha. These items can be pretty pricey in stores but they are quite inexpensive to make at home, and they are delicious and health-promoting to boot.
Remember that your health is very precious, and you have every right to spend a bit more on high quality foods. Poor health as a consequence of not eating well can be terribly costly, so invest in your health by eating well- it is worth every penny!