I often hear people say that eating healthy is too expensive, but I hope to save you some money and eat healthy! We all need to save money. Sure, some fast food costs less than a dollar. But its not worth it to eat all that heart-clogging fat and high-calorie food, especially when there are some easy ways to make healthy foods fit your budget and watch your waistline and your wallet. Here, some of my favorite tips:
Buy in bulk. I buy whole grains, nuts, dried beans, oats, dried fruits, and organic brown rice in bulk at places like Costco, Sam’s Club, and BJ’s. Because you're not paying for extra packaging or marketing, your price per pound is a lot cheaper.
Don’t buy small packages. It may be easier to buy portion-size packages of food, but those little bags are often more expensive. Instead, I suggest buying the large package--say, of crackers or pretzels--and then dividing it into small portions in individual plastic bags when you get home. (They even make hundred-calorie plastic bags, which make it a cinch to eat healthy on a dime!)
Shop locally. I go to a store in my area called the Mediterranean Bakers because it’s a great bargain. I buy local produce and very reasonably prices olive oil there. I also go to my local farmer’s market on Saturday mornings. It’s fresh and wholesome, less expensive, and you're supporting local farmers.
Buy seasonally. I plan my recipes and weekly menus around what's currently in season. These foods are lower in price and typically have much better flavor, too.
Grow your own. Homegrown is always best. I have my own herb garden, in my kitchen. I can take snips of what I need, like fresh basil, thyme, parsley, and rosemary, and it costs me just pennies.
Cook yourself. Restaurant meals tend to be pricier than what you'd eat at home, plus you don't know exactly what goes into them so its harder to track fat and calories. I love to cook at home because I can control exactly what ingredients are in my food--such as how much salt or oil is used--as well as portion size. I also know that there are no preservative, something you can't guarantee at fast-food or other restaurants.
Pick inexpensive edibles. Foods that give you more nutritional bang for your buck include potatoes, beans, eggs, milk and canned tuna and soups. These foods have low price tags but are high in vitamins, minerals, and other healthy compounds. Did you know and Idaho potato only costs about a quarter?
Split costs with a friend. Sometimes the food at those warehouse stores is less expensive but comes in huge packages that you can't possibly finish. Instead, find a friend to split some of these items with.
Make restaurant meals more cost-efficient. Today’s restaurant meals are bigger than ever. Instead of eating too much and regretting it later or wasting food, have your waiter put half your entree in a to-go box before he even brings it to the table. For one price, you get dinner today and another meal for tomorrow!
Cook in bulk. Once you're chopping, dicing, and cooking, why not make more than one meal at once and then freeze it or put it in the fridge for another day? This certainly saves times, but it also saves money since those veggies or other perishable items you bought to cook won't go to waste.