It is possible to eat healthy without breaking the bank.
But it takes some research, planning ahead, and perhaps a mindset shift. Here are a few places to start:
- Eat whole foods. Unprocessed foods are cheaper and more nutritious than processed ones. Avoid food from a box. Simple ingredients can make easy and delicious home-cooked meals.
- Get your protein from good sources. Tuna in spring water and eggs are a couple of inexpensive options. Buy the leanest, best-quality meat that you can afford, since toxins are stored in the fat of the animal. For sustainability, the environment, and your own personal health, grass-fed beef and free-range chicken are ideal. Keep an eye open for “sell today” discounted meat and freeze some of it.
- Buy in bulk and divide up into smaller packages so they can be frozen.
- Skip sodas and juices, and drink tap water instead. Most of us don’t get enough water, and sometimes we confuse thirst with hunger. It is possible to kick a soda habit.
- Buy fresh vegetables and fruits. To save time and reduce waste, prep them as soon as you bring them home from the store. Then they’ll be ready to go into a salad or other dish quickly. Freeze unused portions for soup.
- Frozen fruits and vegetables are a better option nutritionally than canned.
What about organic?
While pesticide residue is a big concern, not all fruits and vegetables are treated the same.
I wanted to get away from pesticides and thought a few years ago that that meant I always needed to buy organic. But the Environmental Working Group (EWG) issues a list each year for the Clean Fifteen – fruits and vegetables that showed little to no pesticide residue – and another for the Dirty Dozen – those which showed higher pesticide residue.
And so if an item is on the Dirty Dozen list, I try to buy the organic version whenever possible.
“The USDA found a total of 178 different pesticides and pesticide breakdown products on the thousands of produce samples it analyzed,” according to EWG. “The pesticides persisted on fruits and vegetables even when they were washed and, in some cases, peeled.
“But there are stark differences in the number and amount of pesticides on various types of produce. EWG’s annual Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™ lists the Dirty Dozen™ fruits and vegetables with the most pesticide residues, and the Clean Fifteen™, for which few, if any, residues were detected.”
Get the lists and more food news from EWG here.
In summary, focus on good, whole foods that give you the most nutritional reward for your money.
What’s your best tip for saving money and eating healthy? Share with us in the comments below. I’d love to hear your ideas.
Thanks for joining me for Step 8 in the “31 Steps to a Healthier You” series, part of #Write31Days 2017. You can read what the series is all about here and catch up on past posts. If you don’t want to miss a thing, subscribe to get each one in your inbox.