Healthy Eating Tip: Healthy Eating on a Budget
Yeah, it’s true, some healthy foods do cost more than their less healthy counterparts. Examples being, whole grain breads, pastas and brown rice are usually a little more expensive than buying the refined white versions… Yes I agree, this is stupid.
However, I often times hear, ” but healthy food is too expensive” when talking about barriers to healthy eating with my patients at work. After this we then discuss the amount of pop, chips and fast food that are ingested on a regular basis.
So, basically what I gather from our conversations is that people are okay with spending $5 on a bag of chips, $10 for a 12 pack of pop and $4 for a bag of M&Ms but not okay with paying for bananas at 50 cents per pound, carrots for $1 a bag and a box of whole grain pasta for $3. I am confused…
HELLO!? Pop, chips and fast food are way more expensive and less satisfying than spending 50 cents more on a box of brown rice that will last a few meals…So before I rant any more and get myself into trouble, I’ll just offer some tips on how to save some money at the grocery store while making healthy choices. 🙂
It’s huge. When we plan, we are more organized, we buy less and we eat what we buy (less food that gets thrown out!). Therefore we save money. Try planning a week of meals in advance. While you make your weekly meal plan, look in your pantry and cupboards for ingredients you already have. Try using up ingredients you have before buying something new. Then, make a grocery list of things you need and stick to it!
*I have a friend who uses a white board in her kitchen to write down their weekly meal plan. Seems to work great!
Items To Skip:
If our main goal is to eat healthy, that means we have to buy the not so healthy foods less frequently in order to be able to buy the more nutrient dense foods more frequently. Right? 😉 And often times those more healthy foods are going to be the foods that aid in weight loss (fruit, vegetables, whole grains, low fat dairy, lean protein), not the less healthy foods (chips, pop, sweetened beverages, desserts). SO REALLY, it is a win win situation. Lose weight, not your pocket change.
That being said, the items to skip include: pop, chips, packaged desserts, frozen meals, juices, sports drinks, ice cream, candy….I’m sure I’m missing a few but you get the point. In my opinion, those foods are the expensive items in the grocery store. Not to mention, why pay a higher price for foods that are low in nutritional value?
Shop In Season:
We all know apples are the cheapest in the fall and berries are cheapest in the summer… Enjoy what the season brings. Eat seasonally and save!
Here is a list of produce that are cheapest for each season.
Summer: Apricots, avocados, blackberries, blueberries, boysenberries, cantaloupe, cherries, melon, peaches, cucumbers, corn, green beans, summer squash, tomatoes and zucchini.
Fall: Apples, grapes, pears, pomegranate, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, eggplant, mushrooms, pumpkin, squash.
Winter: Grapefruit, kiwi, mandarin oranges, oranges, tangerines, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, potatoes, sweet potatoes, winter squash.
Spring: Apricots, grapefruit, kiwi, strawberries, artichokes, asparagus, beets, carrots, spinach.
Just saying, these are the foods that are going to be giving you the biggest bang for you buck anyway…They are inexpensive with lots of nutritional value. The best kind of deal out there!
Protein tends to be some of the more expensive items in the grocery store. The less expensive proteins include: round cuts of meat (round and loin cuts are the leanest cuts), whole chickens(be sure to take off the skin) or buy chicken in bulk and freeze extras. Canned tuna in water, beans, tofu and eggs are some other ideas to keep that change in your pocket and your protein lean.
So remember: plan ahead; skip the less healthy items; buy seasonally; shop for less expensive protein. Hope you can take some of these suggestions next time you grocery shop. Save a little cash and lose a little weight! Not the other way around!
Let’s Be Robust!