It’s more important than ever to eat healthy, as many of us are constantly immersed in unhealthy environments that compromise our level of wellbeing. This includes sedentary work settings, poor quality of air, and noisy neighborhoods that prevent proper sleep.
Eating healthy, however, is not as easy as it seems, and one of the barriers is the cost of each food.
With the advent of modern agricultural techniques, large corporations are able to mass produce foods and thus lower their cost of production. This results in lower-priced foods, which results in higher demand, which only increases the incentives for these companies to produce more. Over time, a vicious cycle develops, and many cheap, overly-processed foods become the staples of our diet.
In this article, we discuss 8 tips for eating healthy while on a budget, even in spite of the copious amounts of cheap, unhealthy foods available.
- Dexter Poin
- Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
- Edition no. 0 (06/05/2014)
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Make Homecooked Meals
Cooking everything from scratch will allow you to control every ingredient you put in the meal. This will force you to engage in meal planning and budgeting, which will make you more conscious of how much money you’re spending.
Also, unless you’re a sous chef, you’re likely to gravitate over time to making simpler meals that are more convenient. This will help you save money, as fewer ingredients mean lower costs.
The reality is that certified organic foods are simply more expensive than their non-organic counterparts. If you want to eat healthy on a budget, you might have to accept that not every food you eat will be certified organic.
However, just because a product lacks this certification does not mean it has not been organically produced. Often times if you contact the company or farm, you can find out crucial details that determine the quality of the food. Such determinations include pesticide usage, preservatives added, growing techniques, and level of refinement.
Focus on the Cheapest Whole Foods
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- Leanne Brown
- Publisher: Workman Publishing Company
- Paperback: 208 pages
- Beth Moncel
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Regardless of what you’re eating or where it comes from, if you focus on only eating whole foods, your diet will be healthy.
Start by making a list of all the whole foods you like to eat. Then, drive to all the grocery stores in your area and find the cheapest versions. You can also ask friends and family members where they shop for the best deals.
A source from Local Farms
Often times local farms will give you discounts on their crops if you go to them. This is because the costs of transporting food are built into the final price of the food. By making the effort to drive to the farm, you are minimizing the farm’s costs.
Also, many times you can buy local crops in bulk for a reduced price. This might not be ideal for produce, but this would work for frozen meat, some dairy products, and perhaps eggs.
Local farms also often sell what they call “cosmetically challenged” produce, which just means that part of it has been compromised or damaged. Many of these foods are still healthy and usable and are often sold for extremely cheap. Eating healthy on a budget often entails taking the extra initiative to meet the farmers in your area.
Follow the Sales
Once you’ve determined the healthy foods in your diet, try eating in alignment with what goes on sale at the grocery store. Of course, don’t allow these sales to overly determine your diet, as you still need to get sufficient vitamins, minerals, and calories, and of course, buy from local farmers.
But if the grapes are extremely cheap at your local grocer, then consider making that your temporary fruit staple instead of the expensive apples at the farmers market.
Negotiate with the Produce Department
If you notice that certain foods are overly ripe, or slightly compromised, you are certainly allowed to propose a new price. Don’t be afraid to be aggressive. The relationship between you and the grocery store is mutualistic. They need you just as much as you need them. Eating healthy on a budget involves being both confident and aggressive.
Acquire Food Through Alternative Means
If you really think about it, you can technically get food without spending a penny. This doesn’t mean the food is free, only that you’ve transcended the process of exchanging money.
One way of doing this is to offer some product or service to someone who has access to food. This can either be a direct farmer or just another customer. Regardless, if you have something they want, you can propose a trade.
Keep it Simple
- Duc C Vuong
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- Edition no. 1 (07/05/2010)
- Paperback: 208 pages
One way of eating healthy on a budget is to focus on healthy meals that are as simple as possible. Try picking one or two of your favorite foods and making a meal just out of them.
Some of the priciest foods in our diet are those that provide us with little nutrition or calories, like refined sugars and condiments. Either exclude these from your diet or minimize them as much as possible.