Eating Healthy on a Budget

by Jessica Sommerfield · 0 comments

As ironic as this seems, it is not cheap to make healthy food choices. The cheapest foods are usually highly processed, high in fat, and high in sugar. Some people link obesity, high blood pressure, and heart disease in America to the abundance of cheap fattening foods which lack nutrition. Although we can’t blame our poor dietary choices on the economy, rising fuels costs, inflation, or major food producers, having to choose between healthier food and having enough gas in your car shouldn’t be necessary.

If you’ve started out the new year trying to eat healthier, you’ve probably noticed the impact on your pocket book and might be tempted to give up healthier eating because it’s just too expensive. Although it’s true that fresh, organic, whole grain, less processed foods can be more expensive than their less healthy counterparts, there are ways you can save money and not compromise your health and fitness.

Shop at the Farmer’s Market. Unless you want to start your own garden, then farmer’s markets offer a good alternative. Fresh produce from a local farmer’s market is much more fresh than what you can get at the grocery store, and quite often organic. Not only that, but grocery stores feature high markups on produce in general, so you will save money by purchasing directly from a farmer. Farmer’s markets don’t just have produce, either. You’ll find other healthy and delicious items such as home-made preserves or organic local honey. If you’re unsure if your town has a farmer’s market, check the newspaper or with your chamber of commerce.

Find deals at ethnic grocery stores. Grocery stores which cater to certain ethnic groups are also great places to find healthier foods at lower prices. They frequently carry bulk quantities of basics such as healthy grains and beans. Regular grocery stores charge more for their small selections of ethnic food because they don’t sell as much of it, whereas ethnic grocery stores experience high demand on their products due to the specific dietary habits of their clientele, who are concentrated in the area.

Buy in bulk. Money is not the only thing you save by buying certain items in bulk; it saves you trips (think fuel) to the store too. Just be careful which items you buy in bulk. They should be items you use regularly enough to avoid spoilage and waste, or have specific plans for. Buying in bulk is a great plan if you are too busy to cook or plan meals during the week and find yourself running out of supplies by Wednesday. By shopping at your leisure and buying certain items in bulk, you can even cook and freeze healthy meals in advance to get you through a hectic schedule without being tempted to dine out.

View your food choices as an investment… in yourself. Although these are some ways you can save money while choosing to eat healthier, whether or not you are willing to sacrifice time or a few extra dollars comes down to a matter of priorities. If you prioritize your health and wellness, you will not mind spending a few extra dollars if it means a few less pounds or a few more years on your life. Consider your diet an investment in yourself, and as with any financial investment, you have to spend money to make it.

Bonus Tip:

Did you know that you can save money with Netflix? Even if you don't plan on using the service, you should at least sign up for the Netflix free trial here to get some free movies for a month.

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