Eating Healthy on a Budget

When it comes to getting in shape or maintaining a healthy lifestyle one of the most common concerns I hear from people is it costs too much to buy healthy food. I feel extremely fortunate to be able to consume a mostly organic diet, and I know most people cannot afford to do that. Nobody should be deprived of living a healthy life –a better quality of life—simply because of income. That’s why I feel compelled to help people discover ways they can eat healthier within their means. No matter what your budget is, you CAN make healthier choices and I’m excited to show you how!

This week I will give you some general tips and in the coming weeks I will offer you more specifics and even break down cost savings for you for each meal. For now, let’s take a look at some simple strategies.

1. Shop the farmer’s market – this is one of the best resources to gain access to fresh fruit and veggies at a fraction of the cost you’d pay in the super market. The food you buy is healthier and tastier, and most of all the money you spend supports local farmers and sustainable agriculture.

2. Buy in season fruits & veggies - Food grown in season tastes better and is cheaper. As a guide, buy root vegetables (onions, garlic, beets, sweet potatoes, carrots, etc.) in the Winter; apples & squash in the Fall; broccoli & berries in the Summer.

3. Buy Frozen – if you can’t buy fresh produce and veggies –frozen is the next best thing – in fact, if there aren’t any added sugars or preservatives, they are equally as nutritious as fresh produce.

4. Cook your own meals – this is the best way to be certain of what’s going in your food. I know you’re thinking you don’t have time to cook, but if you plan it right you don’t have to be in the kitchen every day.

a. Once you buy your food from the farmer’s market set aside time to clean, cut, and store it. This will save you valuable time when you’re ready to cook your meal.

b. Cook several simple meals at one time that you can eat for a couple of days. One trick I use is to prepare a large pot of brown rice and sauté, stir fry or steam some veggies and then store them in the fridge. Then when you come home and need something to prepare quickly you can grill some chicken or fish and warm up your rice and/or veggies and you have a meal.

c. Another option is to cook all your meals for the day upon waking up or before going to bed. It takes 30-40mins, saves you stress about what you’ll be eating the rest of the day and you eat healthy while saving money.

5. Cut out processed foods and add more whole grains to your diet – there is recent research that indicates high fructose corn syrup (which is found in most processed food) interferes with the hormone, leptin, which regulates appetite. So when you’re consuming a lot of processed foods, it could very well be making it more difficult to satisfy your hunger; consequently you eat more. If you incorporate more whole grains (oat, rye, brown rice, wild rice, wheat, etc.) you will fill full faster and longer. So, you might spend a little more to buy whole wheat and whole grain breads, rice and pasta, but the overall benefit far outweighs the cost. Until next time…

Peace, Love & Fitness

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