Top 10 Tips for Healthy Eating on a Budget
The number one question I am asked about healthy eating is, “Isn’t it expensive to eat healthy?” I actually think it is expensive not to eat healthy. I have four children and a husband and not one of us has been to a doctor for years. Not one of us has taken any medication. My children have never been on antibiotics. I have saved us a lot of money in doctor bills by feeding my family a healthy diet. When the food you eat is high in nutritional value you also eat less! Eating healthy on a budget takes planning and knowing a few tricks. Try the following advice for eating healthy on a budget.
1. Shop at your local health food co-op. These businesses usually have a small membership fee and offer discounts on certain days of the month. Shop their sales and buy in bulk. I was at a co-op today that told me that each of my children could have a free fruit or vegetable every time we shop there. I had them get avocados and young coconuts for free!! They were thrilled and we got extra treats we normally would not buy on a tight budget.
2. Get your organic fruits and veggies through CSA, which stands for Community Supported Agriculture https://www.localharvest.org/csa/ CSA is in most states throughout the US. They are local, organic farms from which you can buy a seasonal share of produce at a very smart price. Not only do you end up with local, organic produce in season, but you support local, sustainable agricultural practices.
3. Shop your local farmer’s markets. Many farmers cannot claim to be organic, but when you talk to them they will let you know whether or not they use pesticides. Many farmers do not use pesticides and sell their produce at very fair prices.
4. Shop the sales. Many stores are offering fresh organic produce. If you go shopping and can be flexible about your purchases, you can just buy what’s on special that week. Many times you can find produce and organic, whole food items for less than their conventional counterparts.
5. Buy meat that is close to the expiration date. Stock up on free range organic meat when it goes on sale due to it’s forthcoming expiration date. As long as the meat still smells fresh, you can buy it on sale and freeze it as soon as you get home. Be sure to ask the butcher if it is still good before you purchase it. Find out what day of the week the meat usually goes on sale due to the expiration date and then shop on that day!
6. Buy in bulk. We have Costco Wholesale out here in the west and I can buy a huge box of organic salad greens and one of spinach for 3.99. I can also buy a big 10 lb. bag of organic carrots for 4.99. Many times they carry organic gala apples and tomatoes “grown without pesticides”. Trader Joe’s is another great option for affordable eating organic foods on a tight budget.
7. Shop your local Grocery Outlet. I try to run into the Grocery Outlet before I do my other shopping. I never know what they will carry on a given week but I am usually pleasantly surprised to find raw organic apple cider vinegar, organic cold pressed olive oil and a myriad of other organic crackers and cereal at a fraction of the normal retail cost.
8. Buy in bulk from a natural foods wholesaler such as Azure Standard. This company delivers by UPS or if you live within their delivery area, you can pick your goods up at a “drop point” in your area. You only pay a $1.00 delivery fee!! www.azurestandard.com
9. Buy your supplements, natural beauty supplies, sweeteners, etc… at a discount store such as Super Supplements. https://www.supersup.com/
10. Learn to sprout your own grains. Sprouting is economical because seeds and grains are very inexpensive. When you sprout them, the amount you have multiplies greatly. The nutritional value multiplies exponentially as well when you sprout things. I have read that if the economy gets really bad, buy a bag of raw, organic wheat kernels and you can sprout them and live on them for a very long time. Healthy eating on a budget could not be more economical and simple than it is with sprouting.
11. Learn how to garden. Grow herbs in your window sill. This is a very therapeutic activity that can save you bunches of money in the produce section! If you have a dehydrator there are many recipes you can use to “cook” veggies at a very low temperature. Heating food at a temperature under 118 degrees preserves ALL the enzymes and nutrients. Dehydrated veggies last a long time and can be marinated and made into yummy chips, used in soups, or just as a nutritious snack. You can dehydrate your own fruits as well and even make fruit leathers for the kids.
Following these tips can save you money and keep you eating organic on a budget.