When it comes to eating healthy on a regular basis, you may think it’s impossible without breaking the bank. While true that processed food manufacturers have the corner on cheap eats, that doesn’t mean you can’t be both health-conscious and thrifty at the same time. Below you will find 5 tips for eating healthy – on a budget.
There are several things you can do to enjoy a natural foods lifestyle without spending a fortune. However, it does take some effort. Our current food system has cultivated a belief that cheap and easy is good. The belief is inherently flawed when discussing health. Instead, smart and healthy is good, and you don’t necessarily have to sacrifice reasonable costs to attain this.
1. Make a List
Don’t show up at the grocery store thinking you’ll “wing it”. Before you leave the house, take inventory and make a list. Decide what you’ll be cooking that week and make sure you have the necessary ingredients on hand. When you’re shopping, don’t stray from your list unless something is cost-effective and good for you.
2. Grow, Preserve, and Prepare Your Own Foods
The more you are involved in the production and preparation of your foods, the more you’ll save. A pepper plant costs less than $2 (even less when grown from seed) – a steal considering a single pepper in the supermarket can cost just as much, if not more. Whether you have a yard for a garden or a patio for some containers, gardening can save you money and be a rewarding experience in of itself.
3. Consider Farmer’s Markets for Your Produce Needs
True farmer’s markets often have very competitively-priced produce. The fruits and vegetables you find at these markets will be in-season and local as well, which means they’ll taste better and likely be better for you. If you’re buying a considerable portion of your groceries from one vendor, haggle. This isn’t a supermarket, so farmers are often willing to negotiate for loyal customers, particularly when buying a large amount.
4. Have Healthy Options Always on Hand
A bag of full-size carrots in your crisper won’t likely get as much attention from you as a container of washed and cut carrot sticks. In other words, take time to prepare some foods for easy snacking and meals. You’ll be less tempted to eat out or seek out convenience foods when you make healthy options convenient.
5. Skip the Restaurants
Both during lunch breaks and after a long day of work, avoiding the temptation of eating out can be difficult. But as the Huffington Post reports, eating out only twice a week can quickly add up to more than $936 each year. Pack a lunch and learn to enjoy cooking.
Shopping in trendy natural health stores for all of our needs would be fun, but it’s unrealistic for most of us. Fortunately, you can eat healthy on a limited budget with some planning and effort on your part.