According to a new national poll of more than 1,000 women, published in the June 2012 issue of ShopSmart magazine (from the publisher of Consumer Reports), 57% of respondents said their main reason for not eating a healthy diet was cost.
How sad because it is possible to eat healthy on a budget!
I realize that your budget may be limiting you. I’m sure you want to stick to your budget so you can keep your household finances in order. A healthy bank balance plays an important role in reducing stress in your life!
However, let’s put this into perspective. You’ve heard it all before, how you can’t put a price tag on your health. Yet you aren’t sure how to get around it. You know that when your health is compromised, it is difficult to have the energy you need for the good things in life. Poor health can negatively affect every area of your life — time with family or friends, your performance at work and more.
The financial costs of illness can be steep! A major illness can destroy a carefully kept budget due to loss of wages, high medical bills, and sometimes even bankruptcy.
With all that said, you can’t afford not to eat healthy! The best part about it is that it is possible to eat healthy while staying within your budget.
Here are eight tips for eating healthy without breaking the bank!
1) Make a list! Plan your meals for the week and make a list. This keeps you from wasting food and money. For more meal planning tips, check out Meal Planning Helps You Lose Weight.
When planning, alternate the meatier dishes with meals that offer less meat with lots of veggies and healthy grains. This will help you stretch your dollar and increase your fiber intake.
Include other needed household items on your list, like toiletries and cleaners. Then, go to the store weekly. This will limit impulse buying exposure to one trip per week. After awhile you will get so good at making your list that you will add things to the cart by choice, not by impulse.
2) Compare prices! Not all stores have the same prices for the same or similar items. I shop Trader Joe’s for a huge part of our list. The remainder I buy at our specialty markets and Nob Hill Foods. Trader Joe’s has a great selection of healthy foods, and the majority of their products are priced lower than their competitors. I only buy at Nob’s or specialty stores what I can’t find at Joe’s, plus the items I know are priced better elsewhere. Get to know the different stores in your area and their price differences. If they are close together, consider making multiple stops on your shopping day.
3) Buy the store name brand! Many store’s have their own brands now which cuts costs significantly. Often times it’s the name brand food with a different wrapper. Read your labels and make sure you are avoiding trans fats (partially hydrogenated oils) and high fructose corn syrup. Organic foods are becoming more and more available under the “store brand” labels, so always check to see if your store has that option.
4) Shop in season! Fruits and vegetables are always less expensive when they are in season. When you buy out of season you are paying for the extra shipping. Consider freezing seasonable fruits and veggies while they are less expensive and save them for later.
5) Know your source! Local farms and ranches may opt out of the Organic label because of cost. This doesn’t mean that they aren’t growing and raising the food in it’s purest form. Visit your local butcher ,produce stand, bakery, and other specialized food shops. Often times you can buy natural foods that are antibiotic, hormone, and pesticide free without the hefty “organic” price tag. Ask the local farmer how the food is grown.
6) Chop your own stuff! I chop my own garlic. celery, onions, carrots, and other types of root vegetables. This allows me to buy organic and save the money I would be paying someone else to cut my vegetables for me.
7) Watch the extras! Limit things like cookies, chips, sodas, and sugary cereals. Consider these foods to be treats. Try substituting fruit, oatmeal, and water.
8) Get creative! Buy foods that can multi-task! I always have yoghurt on hand and use it for snacks, in place of sour cream in recipes, or to make smoothies. Only buying one product for multiple uses is great. I know I will use it up rather than watch it grow mold. Throwing away food is like throwing cash away.
Have a question or a money saving tip you’d like to share. Please leave a comment below. I’m looking forward to talking to you!