As a Health Professional and Nutritional Educator, I hear this all the time “Healthy Eating is Expensive.” I have to disagree. Ever since changing my lifestyle and cutting out processed food and decreasing the amount of dining out, our food budget has gone DOWN. The so called “cheap” food that is found in the middle aisles of the store is what is burning a hole in the pocket book of American families. When you look at the actual ingredients of what you are getting (toxic), the cost of the bright and colorful packaging (marketing and advertising), the cost of health outcomes and diseases stemming from a unhealthy diet (cancer, heart disease, diabetes), is very expensive.
So we are either paying the farmer now, or the doctor later. Either way money is being spent so might as well spend it on your health and decrease your risk of poor health in the future.
Here are some of my favorite money saving tips for healthy eating!
Eat less meat – Meat is expensive and we don’t need a lot to get the nutritional benefits of the protein, since all of our other food groups do have protein, yes even fruits and veggies. GO meatless a few days a week or just think of meat as a condiment on your plate rather than a main dish. When you buy your meat, portion it out and freeze it. Just remember a little goes a long way.
Buy Frozen Veggies– We all know fresh is best, but frozen is pretty great too. Its harvested at the peak of ripeness and then flash frozen so the nutritional quality is just as high as fresh as the store. Not to mention the fresh produce at the store was picked weeks ago and shipped across the country (or world) to land at our market ready to eat. So even fresh has lost some nutritional value along the way.
Simple Meals– Fewer ingredients, less cost. Keep you meals simple with 5 or less main ingredients and you will find that your cost stays down also. A simple pasta dish with chicken, veggies and a simple sauce can cost you about $12 dollars in ingredients and feed a family of six for roughly $2 per meal. Keep your meals simple and balanced, and eat your portion from a smaller plate. This is actually the correct serving size for our stomach per meal, which is about the size of your fist.
It all boils down to perspective and a real look at your expenses. One family meal out can cost around $40, which is about half of my weekly food budget. If you are looking to save money and buy better quality food, then you can by using the tips I suggested and cut back on your food spending outside of the home. You will eat less at home and you will eat healthier because you prepared it and you know exactly what is in the food you make.
If you need help in this area, lets connect! Together we can figure out a plan that works best for you and your family.