Clean eating and maintaining a healthy diet has been associated with emptying your bank account at the grocery store. Whole Foods Market may be responsible for this mindset, but we want you to move away from this notion because it is quite simple to eat healthy on a budget. In fact, you may even find that you save money when you focus on plant-based foods.
Why Should You Eat Healthy?
A lot of people have the desire to eat healthy, but they can’t seem to follow through with that diet for whatever reason. When people eat unhealthy foods, energy levels tend to deplete, the immune system weakens, and weight gain happens over time. Not only does focusing on healthy foods reduce your risk of diabetes, obesity, and heart disease, but it can also increase productivity, boost energy levels, and save you money, both on groceries and on healthcare costs in the long run.
Where Do You Start?
Eating healthy starts at the grocery store. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store and avoid the middle aisles because that’s where the processed foods, pre-packaged meals, frozen foods, and unhealthy snacks are. If you have to go to a middle aisle, choose the one with lentils, whole grains, and organic foods. Stock up on healthy foods so that you don’t have to eat out. You’ll spend more money eating healthy food at restaurants than preparing meals at home.
Know When You Don’t Need Organic
You don’t have to buy organic produce in order to eat healthily. Chemical use is limited for certain commercially grown produce, but we advise buying organic when it comes to “The Dirty Dozen” list. The produce items on that list tested positive for 47 or more different chemicals, so we advise buying organic when purchasing:
- Sweet bell peppers
- Spinach, kale, and collard greens
- Domestic blueberries
- Imported grapes
Stop Buying Junk Food
The amount you spend on packaged snacks, frozen meals, processed foods, and sodas would surprise you. Buying all of those food items is essentially pointless because they contain unhealthy ingredients and very little nutrition. You are better off purchasing quality whole foods, which are less expensive and more nutritious.
Shop For Seasonal Produce
Due to mass production and genetically modified organisms, many produce items are available throughout the year. You may notice that apples cost extra during the spring, or asparagus is quite expensive in the fall. This is because they have to be imported to get to your local grocery store, and you pay for a portion of that cost. Apples are cheaper in fall because that their season. For example, citrus varieties are more affordable in winter, while stone fruit (peaches, apricots, plums, and nectarines) are more affordable in summer.
Pack Your Lunch
If you eat out regularly, you can spend up to $100 or more in a workweek on lunch alone. Health food restaurants tend to be pricier as well. Additionally, you will be less tempted to make unhealthy food decisions when you bring your own lunch. This can take practice and a little meal prep work, but it pays off, both for your health and your bank account, in the long run.
Frozen Fruit Is A-Okay
When purchasing frozen fruit, make sure that the fruits in the bag are the only ingredients listed. Companies sometimes add sugars or other ingredients during processing, so be on the lookout! Frozen fruit is great for making smoothies, which should become regular meal replacements in your quest to become healthier. One more thing, if you purchase fresh fruit from the grocery store and you see that it may go bad before you use it, cut it up, put it in an airtight bag or container, and store it in the freezer for smoothies. That will help to limit your food waste.