“Eating healthy is more expensive than buying junk food.”
This is a common misconception, one that will be debunked by the end of your reading this today. Although it is possible to spend an exorbitant amount of money on “health food”, buying whole foods is in fact not automatically any more budget-damaging than purchasing pre-packaged, processed, modified foods. Giving your body the best is a beautiful form of self-care, and it is possible to do this economically. Especially in this uncertain situation with unpredictable incomes and threats to our health, it is now more important than ever before to be both financially savvy and caring to our bodies.
A tale of two foods…
Imagine a bag of Utz potato chips. Perhaps the crab kind- the spice of the Old Bay seasoning is tantalizing. These can be purchased for less than $3.00 at any standard grocery store. Inside is 150 calories, 9 grams of fat, and 14 grams of carbohydrates, and zero nutrition value per serving of about 10 chips. In contrast, a head of broccoli costs about the same price or less is full of fiber at 30 calories and numerous micronutrients per serving. The versatile vegetable can be pan-fried, baked, roasted, steamed, tossed in a salad, mixed into whole-grain pasta, and dipped into hummus. This sounds like a great deal, to me.
Strategies to eat well on a budget.
- Know your budget, examine excess spending, and making groceries a priority cost. Aim to eliminate little things that add up, such as nagging subscriptions, the extra latte you get in the afternoon, or even cable.
- Purchase whole foods first, and make your own meals. Prepared foods are convenient, but they can cost up to two or three times as much per serving compared to making them yourself. A grain bowl from Roots Natural Kitchen can cost $12-$15 but is less than $5 when made at home.
- Make a weekly menu and prepare your meals ahead of time. This way, you will have food ready when the week is busy and on a time crunch, when ordering dinner sounds easier and more convenient.
- Know the best locations to purchase groceries. Aldi has a great selection of comparable foods to Trader Joe’s, with weekly specials to boot! Your grocery bill at Aldi can easily be a third of the price of what it would be at Whole Foods or even Giant Eagle. Perhaps there is a local discount grocer, a local butcher, or farmers market. In the summer, grow some of your own vegetables and herbs!
- Purchase cost-effective items, such as canned legumes and bagged grains, frozen fruits and vegetables, canned fish, frozen meats, and less-common cuts of meat. Organ meat, especially, is incredibly nutrient-dense and will add diversity to your plate!
- Select store brands over name-brands. Aldi’s numerous products have been taste-tested against the “national favorite”, and the price is nearly impossible to beat.
- Buy seasonal produce! Odds are, you will support local farms as well. It costs less to ship these items to stores, and they retain more of their nutrients due to less time in shipping since harvesting.
- Pay attention to the unit prices and purchase items in bulk when possible. The key here is to look beyond the price tag and view the small label that often marks the center per ounce, pound, etc. This will tell you the true cost of each serving rather than the entire container of food.
Are you ready to take ownership and learn more?
We are ready to facilitate your success! Our nutrition coaches can assist you in implementing the tips above, creating a nutrition plan that works for your lifestyle and family, and feeling your absolute best. They cannot wait to meet you and watch you thrive.