Do you sacrifice your health so you can live within your means? You don’t have to anymore after reading today’s guest post by Kimberley Laws!
Does your tight grocery budget have you filling up your cart with white bread, Spam, and Hamburger Helper? While these options may be easy on your debit card, they are likely wreaking havoc on your health. There is a way to fill your fridge with nutritional foods without emptying your bank account. So put down the Kraft Macaroni and Cheese and say “hello” to healthy, but affordable eating.
Gone are the days of penny-pinching at your health’s expense. Forget creating a budget for your stomach and come up with a plan that will address all of your vital organs’ nutritional needs.
Stick to the Perimeter.
Processed foods are filled with tongue-twisting mysterious ingredients that are harmful to your body–and these, typically, are found in the inner aisles of your supermarket. Instead, limit the bulk of your shopping to the outer aisles where the whole foods live. This way you’ll end up with a healthy supply of meat, dairy, fresh fruits, vegetables, and grains. If it’s in a box, put it back and flee the area.
Mm. Frozen is Good.
Yes, you read that correctly. When it comes to vegetables, frozen is the best way to go. Not only are they picked and frozen right away–making them more nutritious than fresh varieties that have spent days getting to your store –but they won’t go bad, they don’t need to be washed, you can buy them in bulk, and they are easy to prepare. And, whatever you do, stay away from veggies in a can. Frozen fruits are also a viable alternative to fresh, particularly during the off-season.
Pick Low-Price Proteins.
Put down the mock chicken, macaroni loaf, and other mystery meats. Instead, opt for economical, high-quality protein sources. Legumes pack a mean protein punch without a hefty price tag. Eggs, milk, natural peanut butter, chicken, and lean pork are other wise choices. Canned tuna is another viable option; however, it is recommended that you don’t consume more than 6 ounces per week due to high mercury levels.
Yes, a rose by any other name would smell as sweet–and your no-name condiments are just as tasty as their pricier counterparts. Admittedly, there will be times when you will want to stick with your tried and true favorites, but, for the most part, you will never be able to tell the difference between brand names and generic labels.
Frequent the Farmers.
A great way to get your paws on affordable fresh produce is to buy from your local growers. Whether you opt to buy directly from a familiar farmer, frequent a farmers’ market, or pull up to a stand on the side of the road, purchasing local fruits and vegetables helps boost both your local economy and your overall health. If you are feeling particularly energetic, you may even want to try growing produce in your own back yard.
Eat Your Oats “Old School.”
Old-fashioned, whole oats are dirt cheap, can be purchased in bulk, and–here’s the best part of all–they are crammed full of healthy nutrients including fiber, protein, and oodles of minerals. They warm you up on a chilly day. And they keep you feeling full for a long time.
Steer Clear of “White.”
White bread, white pasta, white rice, and white sugar should be eaten in moderation, if at all. Instead, opt for their brown counterparts. The price difference is negligible, but the health benefits will be huge.
By following a few helpful tips, you can eat both cheaply and nutritionally. So rid your cart of those boxed foods, kiss your “mechanically separated” meat products farewell, and toss your squishy white bread back onto the shelf. There’s a new you in town and you refuse to sacrifice your health for your budget.
What tips do you use to eat healthy without going over your budget?
About the Author
Kimberley Laws is a freelance writer, avid blogger, and adventurous eater. You can follow her neurotic and OCD ramblings at The Embiggens Project and Searching for Barry Weiss.