I often hear people saying eating healthy is too expensive and they find it much easier to grab a burger from the drive through of a fast-food joint. I seriously cringe when I hear something like this. It is completely untrue and I want to prove this to you. Whole foods can actually be the most inexpensive foods.
Here are 6 Ways to Eat Healthy on a Budget
- Be a Discerning Shopper – Organic products get a bad rap in the price department, but keep in mind that not everything you buy has to be organic. Follow the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen, Clean Fifteen list to decide which fruits and vegetables are important to buy organic due to pesticide toxicity. Another great alternative is buying organic frozen fruit. It is less expensive, convenient to use and full of nutrients and vitamins. Further, buying fruits and vegetables from farmer’s markets can be less expensive than most grocery stores. Local farmers are trying to make money and they don’t have to meet the margins that most grocery stores are shooting for.
- Buy In Bulk – This is one thing my grandma has thought me and I thank her for it. We go to the farmer’s market in Greece and she buys a ton of fruits and veggies all by the pound. It is much cheaper to get 2 lbs. of tomatoes for the week than buy 2 tomatoes from the grocery store every other day. I recommend that you head to your local farmer’s market and buy your produce in bulk. Don’t buy $6 pre-cut celery sticks from the store, instead get a bunch for $3 and cut it yourself at home. It will take you less than 5 minutes to prep and will save you money!
- Eat More Plants; Limit Meat – Vegetable and greens are some of the cheapest foods you can find these days. You literary have hundreds of choices in most grocery stores and organic greens are everywhere now! The FDA has spiked up prices on meat, while vegetables are still relatively cheap. Think about it, when you are going out to eat, what is the most expensive item on the menu? A steak, obviously… You can find a pound of ground beef at whole foods for $8.99, while their organic ground beef sells at $10.99/lb. On the other hand, a pound of organic zucchini sells for $3.49 and a pound of broccoli is marketed at $2.49.
- Legumes 101 – Legumes are a great staple for those who want to eat healthy on a budget. They are very filling due to their high content of fiber and protein. These gems are so versatile, you can really eat them in so many different ways. The variety is extensive such as black beans, chickpeas, lentils, split peas, black eyed peas, kidney beans, and many more. You can freeze portions after just one cooking effort so that one recipe serves you a few meals over a period of time. There is no gluten in legumes, so those of you who are gluten-free don’t freak out. Give these recipes a try – white bean soup and lentil soup.
- Add Ancient Grains To Your Diet – Ancient whole grains like spelt, bulgur, sorghum, farro, quinoa and amaranth can be healthy, delicious, unprocessed additions to your diet. Many of these grains are gluten-free, easy to store and can last in your pantry a very long time. Many healthy vegetarians eat ancient grains all the time, but they seem to be overlooked by meat eaters. Try these recipe – Quinoa Stuffed Peppers and Indian Coconut Chicken.
- Use The Freezer – This is a big one… clear out all the 2-minute boxed meals from your freezer so you have space for new and improved, healthy pre-made meals! Buy veggies and fruits in bulk, prep them at home and freeze them. My freezer is stocked with frozen bananas (peeled), berries, dark cherries, spinach, broccoli, sweet potato, butternut squash, pre cooked lentils, frozen soups and even bone broth. This makes it a lot easier for me to grab a packet of frozen lentils with some veggies and make a healthy, last minute stir-fry. My frozen soups are my go-tos after I come off a long plane ride. Five minutes on the stove and voila! A fresh, healthy, homemade meal.