[Premium Content] 10 Smart Tips For Eating Healthy On A Tight Budget
For The Love Of Health. Learn how to tweak your budget so that your food choices benefit both your body and your bank account, says Dr. Debbie Bright.
The struggle is real. I often see patients who want to make favorable food choices for themselves or their families, but the cost of buying healthy things feels like yet another obstacle. Clean food offers health benefits that are profoundly necessary for our long-term well-being and make a significant difference in our lives. Professionally, I am well versed in the benefits of buying organic fruits and vegetables, purchasing fresh fish vs farm-raised and opting for free-range poultry or grass-fed and finished beef. Every forkful that touches our lips communicates either vitality or disease—it really is that simple.
I think back to the days when I was a struggling graduate student spending all my student loan money eating clean at Whole Foods and Chipotle. And then there was the even scarier next step of trying to grow a practice from scratch with no income and no trimester loans coming in to feed me (protein shakes, thank goodness for protein shakes). So I get it. I understand how even the most determined commitment to healthy eating can take the backseat to an empty bank account.
Does Eating Healthy Really Cost More?
Mindset is everything. Please be aware that the long-term benefits of healthy eating will come back to you in the form of inexpensive health care and that the “value meal” is of no value when you factor in sick days or trips to the doctor. A grass-fed steak may cost more by the pound, but being lean, healthy and energized is priceless.The long-term benefits of healthy eating will come back to you in the form of inexpensive health careClick To Tweet
Are Your Personal Food Habits Robbing The Bank?
When my followers and patients say to me that they cannot afford to eat healthily, I ask them to look more closely at their food bill in terms of wants vs needs. What are you spending on your morning coffee-shop latte and low-fat bald cupcakes?
Are you purchasing soft drinks and fancy juices while out for lunch? How often are you snacking between meals and are those snacks necessary? Hopefully, you are seeing how shifts in habit can potentially add room in your budget for grass-fed beef and wild-caught salmon. Here are my top ten suggestions to help you stretch your food dollar in a healthier manner.
Timing is everything and locally grown, seasonal purchases allow for fresher, more nutrient-dense and palatable produce. And it is usually less expensive. Learn what grows seasonally where you are and save yourself a few bucks by supporting local farmers. This is a win for your community and your nutrition.
Buy Frozen And Stock Up
Fresh is always best, but sometimes buying produce in bulk can waste money simply because we do not use the food before it spoils. You want to consume foods that rot (fruits, vegetables, meats) because these fuel the body with vital nutrients. Stock the freezer with frozen essentials that work well in soups, shakes, stews and side dishes.
Skip Convenience Foods
It truly is a luxury to purchase pre-sliced veggies, trimmed chicken breasts, and pre-cooked everything. Supermarkets are great at stocking the shelves with these expensive time-savers. Once you realize that one pre-sliced onion costs just as much as several organic ones or that you can buy a whole bird for the price of four tiny drumsticks, it does not take long to realize that dedicating a little time to food prep can save you loads on your grocery bill.