Healthy Eating On A Budget

Would you like to eat healthier but think it’s too expensive?  Think again! You may have to put a little effort into it, but it can be done. Here are some easy, budget-friendly tips on how to eat healthier on a budget.

Think Farmers Markets-

Shop your local farmers markets. They may not always be organic, so just ask the grower.

Consider CSA’s-

Consider joining a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). These groups purchase vegetables from organic farmers and then have them delivered to a central drop-off location in your area. Just google!

Know Your “Clean” Fruits and Vegetables

These following are considered “clean” because they tend not to have the pesticides, so it’s not necessary to buy the organic version.

Sweet Corn
Sweet peas
Sweet Potato

Stock your fridge and cupboards with items that are quick and easy to cook (yet kind to your wallet):

•    Beans and lentils, whether canned or dried, make nutritious, hearty soups, and can be a main course with the addition of fresh vegetables or rice.

•    Brown Rice is a great addition to leftover meat and veggies. Although brown rice is slightly more expensive than white, the nutritional payoff is well worth it. Another inexpensive, easy-to-fix grain, millet, is best when bought fresh. Simply rinse and toast before using it in recipes.

•    Pasta, likewise, is quick and easy to prepare, and can be paired with veggies, meat, or a fresh salad. Have fun adding your own embellishments (mushrooms, spices, and herbs.) Choose whole-wheat pasta whenever available.

•    Soups can’t be beat for nutrition and convenience, especially since you can use canned or packet soups as your base, then add your own veggies and leftover meat. Again, try to experiment, adding your own herbs and spices.

•    Fresh vegetables and fruit should be bought at least once or twice each week, preferably in season, to ensure optimal taste and nutrition. You can also rely on canned/frozen varieties as handy additions to last-minute meals. Veggies make great stir-fries and vegetable patties, while fruit is good for a quick nutritious snack.

•    Meat and fish can be kept on hand also for last-minute meals— try the newer tuna and salmon pouches, and shop for inexpensive cuts of meat that work well in stews and casseroles.

•    Condiments add flavor and interest to your dishes. Keep a selection of dried herbs, spices, curry powder, marinades, vinegars, tomato and soy sauces, along with stock cubes, in your cupboard. Experiment with the new, such as Japanese miso, an aged salty condiment made from soybeans and various other ingredients (found in the natural foods section, usually refrigerated).

Absolute No No’s

Make sure and remove the following from your cupboard:

Proteins: Commercial chicken; highly processed luncheon meats

Fats: Commercial cooking oils, margarines and spreads; anything “partially hydrogenated”

Dairy: Low-fat dairy products; anything ultra-pasteurized

Carbohydrates: White bread; white rice

Beverages: Soda; anything containing high-fructose corn syrup; anything containing synthetic vitamin D2, which can have toxic effects. Condiments: Anything containing high-fructose corn syrup; anything with lots of additives and colorings

Baby Steps

Most of us cannot buy everything organic, but it is important to try and incorporate it into your lifestyle. It’s worth your time to indulge in a few key items.  For example, since chicken and pork are usually grown in total confinement, it’s probably worth it to pay extra for the organic versions. Beef and lamb, on the other hand, are still grown at least partially on pasture—so they are good conventional choices for shoppers trying to keep costs down.

The most important item to remember is that you don’t have to make these changes overnight. Little by little begin to incorporate some of these suggestions into your lifestyle. You’ll be happier and healthier for it!

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