“I would eat healthy if it wasn’t so expensive.”
“Organic does taste better but the prices are just way too much.”
“The dollar menu at Mc Donalds was just too good of a deal to pass up.”
We’ve all probably used one of the statements above at one point or another in our lives. I know that for me the most common one has been about eating organic. In a perfect world I’m sure most of us would eat healthy all the time, buy organic (because lets be honest it really does taste better), and in turn we would all be in a much better health state. But unfortunately we don’t live in a perfect world and finances often take hold over our health and the choices that we make.
First off I want to say that I am ALL ABOUT saving money. I am extremely frugal and I make saving money a fun game that I can play whenever possible! Creating budgets and sticking to them gets the blood pumping through my veins. I am also ALL ABOUT being healthy so today I want to share how you can make the two things align. Below I will be sharing my tips for eating healthy on a budget.
- Organic is important because the chemicals on our foods can be very damaging to our bodies. When choosing Organic start off slow and just buy organic when it comes to the dirty dozen. The following 12 fruits and vegetables are the most contaminated and should be bought organic when possible.
- Peaches, Apples, Sweet Bell Peppers, Celery, Nectarines, Strawberries, Cherries, Pears, Grapes, Spinach, Lettuce & Potatoes
- The 12 least contaminated fruits and vegetables that you can get away with going non-organic on include:
- Onions, avocado, sweet corn, pineapples, mango, asparagus, sweet peas (frozen), kiwi fruit, bananas, cabbage, broccoli and papaya.
- Always buy what is in season when it comes to your fruits and vegetables. Below I have listed some popular items from each season that you can incorporate during these specific times of the year. If you really like these certain fruits or vegetables year round then a good tip is to can or freeze them to use throughout the year.
- Spring: Asparagus, Broccoli, Cabbage, Spinach, Sugar Snap Peas, Strawberries, Blueberries, Apricots, Avocados, Lemons, Pineapple, Beets
- Summer: Zucchini, Pears, Cantaloupe, Watermelon, Bell Peppers, Cherries, Cucumbers, Grapes, Honey Dew Melon, Tomatoes, Corn, Summer Squash
- Fall: Apples, Acorn Squash, Butternut Squash, Brussels Sprouts, Butter Lettuce, Mushrooms, Pears, Pumpkin, Pomegranate, Sweet Potatoes, Swiss Chard, Peaches
- Winter: Oranges, Dates, Grapefruit, Kale, Clementines, Pears, Tangerines, Turnips
- Year-Round: Bananas, Carrots, Celery, Potatoes
- Buy in bulk and from the bulk bins preferably. Most of the time we pay for packaging so if you can avoid the packaging and by from the bulk bins then you are going to save a lot of money. Some staples that I always have on hand from the bulk section are:
- Old-Fashioned Oats
- Steel Cut Oats
- Brown Rice
- Unsalted, Roasted Nuts
- Ground Flax Seed
- Cook most of your meals from home. At a restaurant they have to pay an entire staff from the chef to the waiter to provide you with your meal. At home it is just the cost of the food and your time.
- Not only should you buy in bulk but also you should cook in bulk to save money. A lot of the recipes that I post here on my blog are bulk recipe ideas so start exploring! Most of the meals that I make are under $2/person and they pack a lot more of a nutritional punch than a Bic Mac at Mc Donalds.
- Cooking in bulk and meal prepping go hand and hand. When you have your meals planned out for the week you are much less likely to have to eat out or spend money on snacks that you could have prepared at home.
- Although fresh is always best, when healthy frozen or canned foods go on sale stock up. I always do this with things like canned tomatoes, bean varieties or frozen fruits.
- When it comes to animal protein look for sales and stock up to freeze when a sale is going on. You know those annoying newspapers that you get with all of the local grocery deals? Look through them once in a while! I try my best to always get organic, antibiotic free and hormone free meat so when it goes on sale I’m the crazy person who gets in the line at store with like 20 pounds of chicken!
- Animal protein is great but it is also more expensive than most plant proteins. Try substituting some of the animal protein in a recipe for some plant based protein. For example, last week I made chicken lettuce wraps and I added in around 3 cups of quinoa. This added more bulk to the recipe without breaking the bank.
- Lastly, be honest with yourself and track where you are really spending every penny for two weeks. A lot of us don’t realize how much it costs to buy a daily cup of coffee from the coffee shop, to go out to dinner twice a week or to get our nails done every couple of weeks. Once you know where your money is actually going you will have a lot easier time redirecting it towards creating healthy habits and buying healthy foods.
Beyond implementing these tips I would like to encourage everyone to start shifting their mindset on the issue of health and finances. I like to tell people that you are going to either pay now or you are going to pay later. I choose to pay now for high quality foods, the best supplements and preventative care rather than paying for huge medical bills later.
Not only do I not want to pay huge medical bills but I also want to have great quality of life! I don’t want to spend the last five years of my life in hospice or getting taken care by someone else every second of the day. We are in a society where we are living too short and dying too long and it is becoming way too normal to do so. You have the ability to step out and make the choice to be healthy! Choose healthy now so that you can be healthy later!
The Wellness Paige