Ever since I kicked the junk food to the curb, people tell me all the time “eating healthy is too expensive.” I’ll be honest, my reply typically is something like “well, the hospital bills are much more expensive than the healthy food.”
Unfortunately, for many people (including myself), we have to get sick before we realize we have not been eating right.
We have one body and it is up to us to keep it going and give it the fuel it needs. I learned that the hard way. I’m not going to spend my time telling you to eat right, you already know to do that. I am going to spend a little time telling you how to curb the expense though. It can be done and it is well worth it.
- Shop in Season: While I realize you already know this, it is important to mention. When you plan your weekly menu for your family, be sure to plan around fruits and veggies that are in season. You’ll find, they’re the cheapest (and they taste the best too). Plus, you can get creative with things like eggplant or squash. You might find a new favorite!
- Think Outside the Store: Trade services with local farmers, ask if you can plant your own garden in a family member’s yard (if you don’t have one), offer to pick extras for the farm for a discount, etc. You have to get creative and it will pay off! We have a local farm that will give you free berries when you pick some for the farm itself, you’ll earn enough to freeze all year long!
- Skip the Packages: No need for a “prepackaged salad” when you can make your own for a fraction of the price. You can grow your own too but even if you’re not the farming type, simply buying a head of lettuce or some spinach and adding your own mixture to it will be much less than buying a bag salad that will likely go gross in a day or two.
- Cook in Bulk & Freeze: If you find a great deal on chicken (like I did this past weekend), buy extra and freeze it or cook it and freeze it for later! Freezer cooking saves time and money.
- Use Bulk Bins for Spices, Flour, etc.: Did you know you can take your own containers to Whole Foods (and many other stores) and fill them up in the bulk bins with spices, flour, etc for half the price of the package version? It’s true! If you only need a cup of flour then you can buy a cup of flour, pretty easy and you’ll save money. Personally, we have food allergies so, I do not use the bulk bins for cross-contamination issues but, if you don’t have that problem then be sure to check them out!
- Learn to Cook…Again: I’ll admit, this one is not easy. I’ve had to learn to cook with fresh veggies, fruit and mainly chicken. I don’t add a lot of seasoning (my body just can’t handle it) so it’s pretty basic around here. Take some time, check out some books at the library and forget what you once knew. You’ll find you will save money by sticking to the basics and simply by adding different veggies, you can change the whole shape of a meal! Need some help? Check out my pinterest boards!
- Plan Ahead: Menu planning is key to saving money. Plan around sales, coupons, what is in season, etc and you’ll save money and time at the grocery store. Sticking to your list and planning ahead is crucial. Also, prepare ahead. Buy your fruits and veggies then wash and store them in grab-ready containers. That will keep you from reaching for the easy junk food!
- Use Coupons: Yes, there are coupons for organic and healthy items. You can call the manufacturer directly, look at the brand website or get store coupons at places like Whole Foods or Sprouts. Most health foods stores do offer their own promotions and coupons. The savings are out there, you just have to know where to find them!
- Try Co-ops: In the Broken Arrow/Tulsa area, I own The Produce Gathering, you can order produce and organic meats from local vendors. Think of it as an online farmer’s market. Search for a co-op in your city or if you live near us, feel free to join ours too!
- Make It: Make your own trail mix, use quick oats instead of instant oats or make your own granola instead of buying it packaged. Little changes like that can mean big savings. Pricey granola bars are easy to make yourself, I can make 20 at a time for less than what it would cost to purchase 5 of them. Google around and you’ll find some easy recipes and easy changes you can make right now!
Eating healthy is not cheap but, I’d much rather spend a little extra and stay healthy then cut corners and end up paying more doctor bills. Investing in your health is the best investment you’ll make, I wish I would have learned that sooner but I promise, I’ll never forget.