How to Eat Healthy on a Budget

Health Tips, Lifestyle

There’s a common misconception that eating healthy needs to break the bank.
Yes, organic, grass-fed, wild-caught, and pasture-raised is absolutely more expensive than not. And don’t get me started on Whole Foods (although they’re getting better and having an Amazon Prime membership can give you good deals!)
But before we get into the hacks for keeping costs low, let’s first consider the costs of NOT eating healthy. Medications, doctor visits and pain-killers are hefty costs that add up quickly.
We also can’t forget the short- and long-term costs of brain fog, pain, less energy and poor sleep.
Eating healthier, high-quality foods can be a bit more expensive, yes, but it’s an investment in your body that will last your lifetime and you’ll feel the benefits every single day.
Follow these tips to reduce the costs of buying higher quality, feel-good food.
1. Shop in season.
Purchasing fresh produce in-season not only saves on cost, but it’s more nutrient-dense and sustainable, too. A food’s nutrients start to diminish the moment it’s harvested.  Fresh, local produce means it’s been less time since the food was picked and it required less travel to land on the shelf, too.
2. Let the deals guide your meal planning.
My meal planning revolves around nailing down the protein and vegetables for the week. If I see a good deal on either, I work it into meal plan for the week. Proteins are also freezer-friendly, so buy extra and freeze if the deal is too good to pass up. I’m rescued almost weekly by our on-hand inventory of frozen produce and protein for last-minute meals. Which brings us to the next tip…
3. Embrace the freezer aisle.
Frozen whole foods have been flash-frozen at their peak freshness (which also means peak nutrients). They’re often more affordable than fresh, out-of-season foods, and they help cut down on waste without the ticking clock of fresh produce. You can use however much you need, whenever you need it!
4. Use the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen for buying organic.
I don’t always buy organic. I often rely on the Environmental Working Group’s annual lists of the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen to guide what is most important to purchase organic based on pesticide risk. 
5. Have a plan (even a tiny one is better than nothing.)
Detailed meal planning can be a huge time suck, but taking five minutes to draft out two proteins and two vegetables to incorporate in the week will help save waste from haphazard purchases (especially if you shop hungry.)
6. Shop the discount stores.
It’s no secret I love Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. Both stores have vast and growing selections of high quality foods. Although the selection is less regular, you can always count on finding organic, grass-fed and wild-caught options. I love seeing that stores like Safeway and Costco are also recognizing the demand and have an ever-growing variety of high quality foods.
7. Cook at home.
Takeout or eating out may be appealing on a time crunch, but it’s incredibly expensive compared to cooking yourself… and often doesn’t actually save you time. Prepping one protein and one vegetable on the weekend can help you have food on the table fast in a pinch. Or try my favorite 10-minute throw-together meal combo: sautéed frozen vegetables in ghee + ground meat + coconut aminos (or whatever seasonings you’re feeling.) Add a grain or starchy carb of choice!
8. Buy less expensive cuts of meat.
Although I recommend high quality for all of your animal protein, it’s not always possible. Less expensive meat, like ground meats, are still packed with nutrients and great for casserole, tacos, bowls, or soup mix-ins.
 9. Cook Once. Eat Twice.
It’s basically a crime to cook from scratch every single night (unless you want to, of course!) I firmly believe in making a double batch of nearly every recipe to ensure we’re stocked with leftovers. Not only is this a huge time saver, but cuts down on overall waste and allows you to buy in higher quantities.

Contact me to discuss how I can help you start eating healthier on a budget today!