How to Eat Healthy on a Budget
by lauren Elrick
Whatever your lifestyle, it’s a proven fact that humans SHOULD eat healthy. If you want to live long and prosper, you must eat those brussel sprouts just as your parents told you.
However, if you’re anything like me, you’re not opposed to the occasional giant, gooey, frosting-mounded cinnamon roll from the corner bakery. And when you’re roaming the grocery store aisles, that package of cookies sure seems a lot less expensive than that small carton of blueberries that’s priced at … wait, does that actually say $4.79 for that tiny handful of fruit?!
It can often seem terribly expensive to shop the perimeter of the grocery store, filling your cart with pricey produce when you could be buying semi-healthy (or delicious-but-not-healthy-at-all) options.
It wasn’t until I started asking for advice, thinking creatively, and exploring some other options that I began noticing a difference in the amount I spent each month in groceries.
Here are some helpful hints on how you can eat healthy year-round:
1. Visit the farmers’ market
Folks come from miles around to sell their wares at these markets, and I have to tell you, I get CRAZY deals on produce. Last week, I bought a bundle of spinach (larger than I’d ever seen at any grocery store) for a dollar. Yes, $1.00 my friends. Depending on when the food is in or out of season, you can really get rock-bottom prices on some fantastic fresh produce. If you don’t live near an area that is privy to farmers’ markets, hang on! There’s more advice coming.
2. Join a co-op
The definition of a co-op is: “A jointly owned commercial enterprise (usually organized by farmers or consumers) that produces and distributes goods and services and is run for the benefit of its owners.” To learn more about where to find local food co-ops near you, visit the following links:
3. Eat more frozen fruits and veggies
Since many of them are frozen at their peak of ripeness, frozen fruits and veggies are generally nutrient-packed. Choose bags marked with the USDA “U.S. Fancy” shield for frozen produce that is the best shape, size, and color of its class.
4. If you have the time and fortitude, plant your own garden
If you’re feeling very inspired, learn to fish or hunt. Learn to make bread from scratch. It may seem inexpensive to buy pasta, chips, and Cheez-Its, but in the long run, you actually end up spending more over time for processed food, and it will go straight to the hips!
There is also something beautiful about the art of learning a discipline, such as taking the time to cook or bake. I’ve found that when I do make my own food from scratch, I generally end up enjoying it more. You’ll also have mad skills to show off when you have your friends or that special someone over for dinner.
All this to say, don’t give up. Eating healthy can seem hard. Eating healthy on a budget can seem evenharder. All you need is a bit of fortitude, the willingness to give it some time, and the grace to give yourself if you can’t get it quite right immediately. Before you know it, your piggy bank will start filling up, your body will love all the antioxidants, and you’ll be quite happy and healthy!