Find Out About Eating Healthy On A Budget. Learn Ways To Save Money And Eat Healthy Whole Foods At The Same Time
Eating Healthy On A Budget
Don't fall prey to the misconception that eating healthy on a budget is impossible. You don't need to choose between price and nutrition, just plan a bit ahead and also look at products that you may have ignored before.
It's a common myth that healthy food is more expensive. This may be true if you shop in manicured organic health
markets on a daily base, but eating healthy on a budget is possible from sources right around the corner: your local farmer's market offers great local, fresh produce that may cost less than many supermarkets. The key is local and fresh - the less food has to be packaged, preserved, and shipped, the better for you, because the cost associated with the product stays low.
You, the consumer benefits in numerous ways from buying local:
- You can eat healthy on a budget because the costs to create your food are lower. Even if your farmer goes organic, she will be able to keep her prices competitive with ample support from customers like yourself.
- If your local farmer is not organic, you may still get better food buying here, as the food will be fresher straight from the field to you, instead of sitting on an organic grocery shelf for days or weeks.
- Fresher food with a short journey to your table also means less preservatives and unhealthy food additives.
- If you go to your farmer's market later in the day, you may get end-of-day specials that make eating healthy on a budget easier.
- You support your local community with a steady revenue stream, allowing the farmers to apply protective, often organic farming techniques that are better for you and the environment.
Remember that we pay for convenience. You can eat healthy on a budget, save money, and get better nutrition if you use whole foods and put just a little more effort into preparing your meals.
More Tips For Eating Healthy On A Budget:
Try to avoid these:
- Limit the intake of salty foods as they add little value and make you thirsty, increasing your thirst for beverages during the day.
- Alcohol before meals enhances the appetite and lowers our inhibitions to dig in more - that's why they invented the "aperitif" or pre-dinner drink in the first place!
- Never go shopping hungry! This fires back when eating healthy on a budget, as we tend to crave every food we see when we are hungry at the grocery store - which leads to more spending.
Stock up on these:
Stock your pantry with foods you can buy in bulk - they are inexpensive and make hearty, long-lasting meals:
- Beans, lentils, peas, etc - you can make soups, stews, chili, curries, veggie burgers etc, from all these and freeze a good part for later use. This makes eating healthy on a budget easy.
- Focus on whole foods like whole wheat pasta or brown rice - these whole food versions of the main staples nourish your body better with the same calories.
- Grains like millet, quinoa, barley, buckwheat - all good for hearty and protein-loaded dishes at little cost.
- Also stock up on fresh nuts in the shell, as they are long-lasting and very nutritious for all kinds of meals.
Think in larger quantities:
- Don't buy prepackaged one-meal packs as quick dinner for the family. They are WAY too expensive and are loaded with preservatives, salt, and fat that wreak havoc on your health. These may be convenient but you pay a higher price in numerous other ways.
- Buying in bulk is always more economical for eating healthy on a budget. Don't buy ingredients for just one meal. Plan ahead and think of various meals you can make with one product. With a little creativity you will find a bunch of things to do with one food - and freeze extra portions in between so no one gets bored with the same food.
- Example potatoes: vegetable stew, potato soup, Indian potato curry, hash browns for lunch, potato peanut snack, etc.
- Example greens: I don't buy salad packages but rather a head of dark leafy greens. Try greens like kale or collard greens - they are more flavorful and highly more nutritious than the humble romaine. I use a bunch of mustard greens for salads, sandwiches, curries, soups, wraps, etc.
- When you create a dish from fresh produce, keep the stalks and cut-offs to make a nutritious vegetable broth from them. You can reuse the broth for other dishes or freeze it in portions for future meals.
- Keep the cooking water from boiling produce - it makes a great vegetable broth for your next dish.
- Don't go shopping without a list or an idea what you will make. There are too many costly temptations in the store if you don't have a plan you can stick to.
Whole Foods Make All The Difference
Eating healthy on a budget and saving money comes down to the right food choices: if you eat natural, unprocessed whole foods you will be more satiated and well nourished, without being hungry again after one hour.
The problem with fast and junk food is that you get high calories that are "empty", which means they have no nutrients. Your body will therefore crave food again within a short time to get its nutrition - and the vicious cycle of weight gain and disease begins.
While you may spend less on a burger than whole foods, you get no nutrition from the burger, only saturated fat that is deposited in your body. In comparison, whole foods like the whole wheat sandwich give your body the nutrients it needs, and they will make you feel fuller for a longer time.
The next time you visit your grocery store, take a sharp look at the price for chicken breast versus a sack of potatoes and vegetables. Also consider that you will have to eat something with the chicken, so add that to the price of the meat. You may find that the chicken costs a few dollars more for multiple meals, compared to the sacks of fresh produce that will last for many meals.
The point is that you could consider vegetarian meals from whole foods more often to live healthy on a budget. Your wallet will thank you - and your body even more.
Find out more about healthy eating guidelines here.
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