I’m just gonna come right out and say it — girl, it does NOT cost more to eat healthy food! That’s just a bunch of hogwash aka an excuse you tell yourself to get out of eating a bit healthier today than yesterday! Grab a pen and paper or take notes on your cell, girlie cuz this blog post is all about Clean Eating on a Budget — aka it DOESN’T cost more to eat healthy!
Eat in Season.
When it comes to saving moolah on produce aka fruits and veggies, it’s key to eat seasonally. That means berries are cheaper in the summer, while asparagus is in season in the Spring! Citrus fruit does better in the winter (thanks, Florida orange growers), and parsnips are best in the fall. Check out this website to get a glimpse on what produce is in season, each season!
Know when to Skip Organic.
Eating organic has it’s place, and def does apply to certain produce. So how do you know if you should be buying conventional sweet potatoes or organic ones? Is cost an indicator? Not necessarily.
Have you heard of the Environmental Working Group? It’s an organization that has our best health interests in mind when it comes to safe cosmetics, sunscreens, and pesticides on our produce! Some countries don’t have any regulations on the kind and amount of pesticides they are allowed to use, and add layer upon layer (upon layer!) of chemicals to our food, all in the name of our “health”.
Some countries to avoid purchasing produce from are Central America, South America and Central Asia (for a more defined list, read this).
Back to EWG.org and why you need to bookmark that website. Every year they create two lists of the most heavily sprayed produce (the Dirty Dozen) and the least sprayed (The Clean 15). Every food listed on the Dirty Dozen should be organically grown and eaten (i.e. strawberries are #1). The foods on the Clean 15 list can be conventionally farmed and consumed.
Skip the Name Brands.
Don’t be afraid of purchasing store brands of your fave foods (and household goods, too). 9 times out of 10, the brand name food product is made and/or packaged in the same plant, off the same assembly line.
Some examples are canned veg, fruit and fish i.e. tuna or frozen fruits and veggies. A Green Giant pea is the exact same as a No Name pea, my fit friend!
Why pay $2 for a tin of canned tomatoes from a brand name, when you can get the exact same can of no- name tomatoes for 99 cents? Hey, a dollar saved is a dollar in my pocket! Wouldn’t you agree?
Buy in Bulk.
Find the closet bulk food store (or section of your grocery or market) and stock up! Food items like nuts, nut butter, pasta, rice, flour, beans, lentils, and quinoa are the perfect bulk-food items! Just make sure you are skipping the white and picking up the whole wheat or rice versions.
Purchase only the amount you need (which saves you money) and store the items in a glass “tupperware” container at home.
Frozen fruit and veggies are a great bang for your clean eating buck! In fact, in some instances, buying frozen is better and almost always cheaper! Frozen produce is picked at it’s peak, when it’s ripe. It’s then flash-frozen (almost frozen right in the field lol), giving you the tastiest version of that fruit or veggie. I don’t know about you, but I’ll take frozen peas over canned ones any day. They just taste better.
Plus, if you use Tip #4 and purchase the no-name or store brand frozen food, you are saving even MORE money. Honey, that’s what I’m trying to get you to see, that clean eating on a budget is more doable than you think! 😉
One word, Leftovers!
Do you “batch” cook your meals, girl? Why the heck not? Batch cooking just means to cook a whole bunch of food, instead of just one or two food items. Example: instead of cooking 4 chicken breasts for dinner, cook 8, and either freeze the leftovers. Then you can use it for tomorrow’s dinner and the next day’s lunch!
Batch cooking goes hand-in-hand with meal planning and food prep. I do two mini food preps each week. I find it’s quicker this way. I’ll be honest, I have no idea if I’m going to want to eat the food I planned on a Sunday the following Thursday.
So instead, I do two mini food preps, one Sunday morning and the other Wednesday afternoon. Wednesday’s are my day off from the gym. I carve out time that day when I would normally be working out and instead, I cook.
Yup, it’s gonna take a bit of planning and maybe a smidge of sacrifice to save money and eat healthier. But, if it means in the long run it will actually save me some time, help me make healthier food choices and maybe even lose a few lbs, it’s so worth it!
Plus, freezing your leftovers keeps you from wasting money by throwing out leftover food that wasn’t eaten at meal time.
Buy What’s on Sale or Use Coupons.
Use your local sale flyers or download a “flyer app” to help you eat clean, but on a budget. Every Thursday we get our flyer delivery where I live. I used to pour over those things with a fine-toothed comb, over a cuppa. It was like my “me time”, something I could do that would help me save a few bucks, and relax at the same time.
These days I pretty much always buy the same foods, so I purchase them whether they are on sale or not. But, if you are trying to eat healthier and save cash, use your local flyers. They’re inserts in your newspaper, or delivered all on their own.
Some apps you could check out if that’s more your style are Flipp and Flyerify. Also, check out your local grocery store or department store apps (if they sell groceries as well, like Walmart and Target).
Have I convinced you yet? Do you now see that eating clean does not cost more when you do your research, plan out your meals ahead of time and then execute the tips I shared above? Little hint…the key is in the execution! Saving money is just a wish until you take steps to make your dollar work for you. The bigger payoff? Your health. It’s something we take for granted but when we lose it (even if it’s just a nasty cold) man alive, do we ever wish we had it back.
Leave a comment b’low sharing what tip(s) you’ve implemented to make healthier food choices, while also saving some money.
Notice how I said what tips you’ve already executed, not which ones you are “going to do”? That’s because there is no “trying” in getting healtheir…ya gotta do it!