Most people claim that eating healthy is too expensive; while I agree buying a case of Macaroni and Cheese can be a weeks worth of cheap and easy meals, it's not very good for your body. There are a few ways you can make the most of your money, so that you aren't breaking the bank, but also aren't compromising your health.
Make meat the side dish - instead of focusing your entire meal around a cut of meat, how about putting the focus on your veggies and grains and letting the protein take a back seat? This way, you can afford to purchase better cuts of meat (organic or grass-fed). If you're concerned about not getting enough protein, just include some beans or lentils in your veggie or grain dishes.
Have a plan and stick to it - if you take the time to meal plan at the beginning of the week, then you should only be purchasing the food you need. This will cut down on how much uneaten food you are throwing away at the end of the week. It can take a bit of practice, but soon you'll figure out how to plan meals using left overs from meals earlier in the week. Also remember that most foods can be frozen, so if you have leftovers that you know won't be eaten, try freezing them for a lunch later in the week, instead of tossing them.
Double recipes - when cooking soups, stews or casseroles, why not double the recipe and freeze leftovers in single servings for lunches? Having meals waiting for you to grab in the freezer may stop you from purchasing your lunch on days that you are in a hurry or feeling to lazy to make something. Invest in a slow cooker, they make big meals so much easier.
- Grow your own – cherry tomatoes, herbs, lettuces, and small peppers can be grown in pots on your deck during the summer months.
- Buy the whole chicken and cut it up yourself.
- Buy in bulk, avoid packaging
- Cook more – eat out less
- Buy in season and buy locally – to avoid transportation costs
- Eat nutrient dense food – you’ll be less hungry
- Don’t throw out wilted veggies – these make beautiful soup stock that can be frozen and used later
- Don’t spend too much time in the grocery store – you’re apt to spend more
- Avoid “ready-to-eat” foods. Buying basic food items will save you money and will be healthier for you and your family.
- Read labels – be sure you’re getting the best nutrition for your food dollar.
- Foods that have a Nutrition Facts label will also have an "ingredients" list. The ingredients are listed from "most" to "least" -- in other words, if sugar is the first ingredient, you know that the food is mostly sugar!
In good health,