Can you eat real food for an athletic body without spending a fortune on super foods?
People often tend to justify their bad eating habits by claiming healthy foods could be a great financial burden. That’s just the bad reputation of healthy eating.
Not that I understand how someone could cut costs by cutting on the budget for real, healthy food, as I think investing in our wellness every day could save us huge amount of money and a lot of stress than eating unhealthy and visiting the Doc regularly. But that’s another story.
Do you know that eating unhealthily is MORE expensive?
I know that at that point you wouldn’t agree with me, but I hope I will change your mind after you read my argumentation.
Buying cheap food affects not only your wallet, but also your mood, energy levels and health. Eating mostly packaged food seems a cheaper option, but in fact you’re spending more money on a kg/lb of food than you would spend on apples, meat or cucumbers.
But even this is not the true cost of your unhealthy choices, because by having mostly convenience and packaged food you are creating a perfect environment for:
1. Compromised health
2. Immune system disorder
3. Less productivity at your office
4. Mood swings
5. Hard to control cravings
6. Emotional eating and guilt
7. More food for comfort eating
As a result you visit your doctor often, you have to be out of work and spend money on medicine. You probably also spend more money on comfort food for satisfying your emotions and bad mood and most likely your favourite jeans won’t fit soon.
Tell me this is not pricey!
I guarantee you that when you draw the line at the end eating healthy will seem the best option even on a budget!
Personal Notes: Do you know that healthy and fit people are usually more happy, calm and productive? They tend to have less problems with colleagues, family and relatives and eating disorders and almost perfectly balance their lives which results in bigger amount of money for their hobbies and social life. You can go more often on vacation when you save from doctors, psychologists, medicine, comfort food, new clothes due to weight fluctuation, etc.
So how can you do the healthy shopping on a budget?
1. Plan Ahead
Take a look at your fridge, pantry and freezer before going to the store. Some of the things you can skip buying if you already have enough amount for the following week. Then make a list for everything that you need for 7 days ahead and buy only those items. Thus, you won’t miss anything and wont make impulsive decisions.
2. Don’t go hungry in the store (or with hungry kids!)
Usually people tend to buy excessive amounts of food if they’re in the grocery store on a very empty stomach. If you shop before lunch instead after lunch you will choose mostly foods of low nutritional quality and high calorie density. This is linked to the food insecurity, because food scarcity makes you pick up the cheapest, unhealthy options when you finally have access to food.
3. Research the weekly discounts
This will be your most successful strategy! I know that lots of people don’t like planning but it’s better to spend 6-7 minutes on it than to spend unnecessarily $100 in the grocery store. Review the sales flyers of your nearest supermarkets. Best discounts are usually for meat and fish and you can even save up to 50 - 60% of the regular price.
If there is something of a great deal you can buy bigger quantity and freeze it for a couple of weeks. I do it all the time and never worry that much about what’s available in the market at the moment.
4. Try the products of the store brand
I know you might think that these product are of a lower quality, but give them at least a chance! Check the ingredients and compare them to some of your favourite products. Store brands often are made with the same ingredients (or even healthier ones!) and are much cheaper. They also are quite good at imitating the taste of our favorite famous brands.
5. Check online offers
Shopping online is the best option for saving time and money, because you can have great items at a low price delivered in your home. Most online shops have Happy hours, weekend or other discounts.
4. Not always organic is better
It would be perfect if everything you eat is organic, but I think for a lot of people this isn’t possible. However, there is a trick how to eat healthy fresh produce that is not labeled as organic.
Most fruits and vegetables are exposed to toxic pesticide, but usually some of them are with higher amount and you can avoid them if you check the yearly list in the Environmental Working Group. I recommend you to buy the foods in this list organic.
2. Sometimes frozen is as good as fresh
Frozen fruit and vegetables sometimes are cheaper than fresh ones due to seasonal supply. What you probably don’t know is that when stored correctly frozen fruits and vegetables are as nutritious as fresh produce.
4. Bulk products are often more inexpensive
Packaged food such as legumes, nuts and seeds oftentimes is more expensive than in bulk. The packages might be convenient but why not have glass containers at home instead of artificial wrapping. Plus, you can buy as much of the item as you like.
For extreme money savings and best health - always prepare your own food!
You control all ingredients on your plate and don’t pay for the services at the restaurant. When you have a dozen of eggs, meat, fish, healthy snacks and lots of veggies in your fridge, you won’t need to spend money on anything but water, tea or coffee. You can freeze leftovers or spice them differently and even use them for a new recipe.
Want to learn more how to use food for marvelous health, body & skin?