Eating healthy on a budget

The most common complaint by people who desire to start eating healthier foods is the price for these foods at the grocery store. If you’ve ever compared the prices of organically grown apples to regular apples then you know how much more expensive the organic ones are. The same is true for whole grain crackers versus regular white crackers.

However, not everything is just like it first appears. Maybe it is more expensive to buy whole grain crackers, but what if you bought a bag of whole wheat flour and made your own snacks? You would be able to make a lot more snacks with that bag of flour than you would be able to buy for the same price. Sometimes, we have to change the way we think about health foods and their prices in order to get the most bang for our buck. Below are a few tips.

Cheaper isn’t always better

It’s easy to get excited over a good deal – like a $2 bag of potato chips that you’ve got an additional coupon for. However, we all know how unhealthy potato chips are. You may be better off purchasing a 3 lb. bag of potatoes for $2-$3 than the potato chips. Why? The potatoes will last longer and you’ll be able to make more nutritious dishes with them than you can the potato chips.

The above example is true for most processed foods. While at first glance, they appear to be cheap, they really aren’t when you consider how much more you can get when you by the whole food version.

In other words, instead of purchasing the processed foods, purchase the whole food ingredients instead.

For instance, instead of buying a loaf of bread – buy a bag of whole wheat flour and make your own! You’ll not only get more bread for the price, but you’ll also get healthier, better-tasting bread too!

Reduce meat consumption

Nothing will make you go over budget faster than meat. Meat is expensive, that’s all there is to it. While it’s not very cost-effective to replace your meat with substitutes such as tofu, you can save money by purchasing other protein rich foods such as beans and brown rice. This doesn’t mean you have to cut out all meats, but reducing your meat consumption will definitely help your grocery bill.

 Shop for seasonal foods

When you begin shopping for healthier foods, you’ll most likely start buying more fruits and vegetables. In order to stay under budget, you will need to stick to the foods that are currently in season. Out-of-season foods are much more expensive than in-season foods. And, you can always buy extra of the in-season foods and can them yourself (or freeze/dry), giving you the ability to eat them when they are out of season!

Shop the outside edges

The healthiest foods are found on the outside edges of the grocery store. The prepackaged, processed foods are found in the center aisles. Therefore, purchase the majority of your groceries from the outside edges rather than the aisle-foods. Now, keep in mind some whole grain foods are found in the aisles such as flour and dried beans. However, this is the exception to the rule…most of the foods in the aisles are not healthy foods.