Tips On How to Eat Healthy On A Budget
I wanted to talk to you guys today about a few simple steps you can take to save yourself money and still eat clean. I really have heard so many times from friends around me that eating healthy is just way to expensive. But, it really doesn't have to be that way at all. Yes, I'm not going to lie, eating healthier is going to cost more than eating junk, however, you actually will save yourself money in the long run because you will be much healthier which means fewer doctor's visits, and fewer costs spent on medications. Food really is medicine and can do a body good if you fuel it with nutritious foods!! As a stay at home mom of fours kids my family definitely doesn't have tons of money at our disposal, but feeding my family healthy real food is one of my top priorities. I have to find ways to save when I can. So I have compiled a list of simple steps our family has taken in order to save on our grocery bill.
- Thrive Market: An online shopping store providing a variety of organic, non gmo, gluten free unrefrigerated items for wholesale price. I can't tell you HOW much I love this company. As soon as I heard about them I immediately joined. At Thrive Market you pay a yearly membership fee kind of like Costco or Sams Club. All the items are wholesale price. I have seen stuff on Thrive half the price than at my local Whole Foods. Also, they offer free memberships for low income families, and provide free shipping on orders over a certain price you can't beat that!
- Costco: I'm sure most you you by now know what Costco is, but if you don't it's a grocery store that you pay a yearly membership and are then able to shop items at reduced prices. Costco has definitely evolved over the past few years. Pictured above is my cart at a recent trip I took to Costco. I found tons of organic frozen fruits and veggies, fresh organic fruits, sustainably caught tuna fish, organic sausages. You get the point! You can get some great deals on healthier food options.
- Farmers Markets: When the season permits go shop at your local farmers market. Many times you will find great deals on organic and better than organic items. Many times farmers don't want to pay for organic certifications so they are able to price their items cheaper. You are also able to find great deals on local pastured eggs and local meats . If you qualify for WIC many states will also give you vouchers to use at farmers markets.
- Participate in a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture): Research your local farms and find one that does CSA shares. The one downside of this is you do have to have a good chunk of money upfront, but it will save you overall. You will usually get a large basket of a variety of fruits and vegetables every week for 12-16 weeks depending on the growing season. This is also a great way to incorporate different produce that you might not try on your own. Some CSA's now even offer options that include meats, dairy, and eggs.
- Buy a Half or Whole cow: This is another great option for families because you get a large amount of meat at about a quarter to half the price. Our family bought half a cow from a local farmer that was completely grass fed grass finished and the price ended up being about $6.50 per pound compared to the grocery store which for grass fed ground beef is anywhere from $7.99-$9 per pound. Once again, the downside of this is that you do have to pay a large upfront cost, and you need a large storage area like a deep freezer. But, For large families this is definitely a great investment in the long run and will save you money!
- The Dirty Dozen: For those who really are on a strict budget and can't afford to buy everything organic know the twelve dirtiest fruits and veggies and only shop those ones organic. Buying organic is going to always be the better option but if you are limited either try not to eat what is on the dirty dozen list or buy only those organic. According to the EWG (Environmental Working Group)The dirty dozen includes: Strawberries, apples, nectarines, peaches, celery, grapes, cherries, spinach, tomatoes, sweet bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, and cucumbers. You can find more great info on "the dirty dozen"
- Shop What's in Season: It's really pretty simple, when produce is in season it is much cheaper because it is most likely able to be grown locally or at least in the United States instead of having to be shipped from some other country. This in turn will save yourself money, and leave much less of a carbon footprint when you buy foods that are in their prime growing season.
Finally, if eating healthier is something that is important to you, make it a priority and find ways to save. There are always things we can do in our lives if we really want something!