Monday, July 30, 2012

How to Eat Healthy without Breaking the Bank

Eating well is a crucial part of a healthy lifestyle, but for many, it can be a struggle. A nutritious diet lowers the risk of chronic disease, increases productivity, boosts energy, and helps build muscle when paired with an active daily routine. Though prep time and cost are the most often cited barriers to eating well, they don't have to be.

Healthy food is not always more expensive than junk food, despite what many think. In fact, the boxed, processed, preserved foods most often found in the middle aisles of the supermarket consistently rank as worse for your body and worse for your budget! (If not short term, then certainly in the long run due to the cost of poor health.) So, without further ado, here are 9 ways to eat well for cheap.

1. Eat eggs. Eggs are inexpensive, delicious, and chock full of healthy nutrients. Worried about cholesterol? Eggs are still an option! Dietary cholesterol is not bound to blood cholesterol, so you can get all the benefit of the protein and vitamins and none of the risks.

2. Drink water. No one needs soda, no one really needs iced coffee beverages, and no one will perish without smoothies or juice. We do, however, need water. Ditch soda for good and bring a water bottle with you wherever you go. Sip before you feel thirsty to stay hydrated all day long and keep your body functioning at peak levels. Drink water because it’s cheaper and better for you than any other beverage on the planet.

3. Opt for tap water. Bottled water companies don’t actually get their product from icy springs in the mountains. They bottle their water in factories using the same liquid that comes from your kitchen sink. If you don’t trust the quality of tap water or don’t like the taste that your pipes might leave behind, get a filter. Try a Brita. One $12 pitcher can provide up to 40 gallons of crisp, filtered water. Bottom line, tap water will always be cheaper than bottled water. And, it’s better for the environment!

4. Buy generic. When you’re shopping for groceries, opt for the generic version. The box might be less attractive, but you can use the money saved to purchase pricier fruits and veggies you might otherwise shy away from. Brand-name food will always be more expensive, and you’re paying for the name! Buy generic to cut costs and free your money for where it matters.

5. Don’t buy junk food. Food that comes in a box or plastic wrapper is almost guaranteed to be nutritionally lacking and more expensive than whole, natural foods. Surprised? A Snickers at our local market is $1.29, a banana is $0.69. Hungry? Grab a Sn…banana!

6. Invest in a big freezer. Buying in bulk might be more expensive at the cashier, but it’s cheaper in the long run. Shopping for food in bulk usually gets you a discount per item, saves time, and saves gas (fewer trips to the grocery store). Frozen vegetables are easy to find and can be stored in the freezer for months so you don’t waste money on rotten produce. Lots of freezer space allows you to have healthy, whole foods on hand year round without having to worry about scheduling meals around seasons and freshness.

7. Rotate your food. Sounds strange, but place fresh veggies towards the back of your fridge so you consume the older produce first and prevent waste. Rather than shoving produce and leftovers towards the back, rotate items around so the older veggies are consumed first and all leftovers are enjoyed. This will dramatically cut down on waste and help you get the most out of your grocery shopping.

8. Eat leftovers. Prepare healthy dishes at home and bring leftovers to work. Buying lunch on a regular basis is expensive and unhealthy. Double whammy. Make extra food for dinner, portion out a single serving in Tupperware and stick it in the fridge to heat up for lunch the following day.

9. Eat less. The less you eat, the lower your grocery bill. Think about the cost of your food as you consume it. Eat the appropriate portion to maintain a healthy weight – no more, no less.


Anonymous said...

These are awesome tips! Well said.

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ScientificAwesomeness said...

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