How to eat healthy on a budget
Whenever I talk to my friends or nutrition clients about changing their lifestyle and food habits for something healthier the first objection is: “it’s too expensive”. This is often followed by: “I don’t have time”.
Here is how I make it work with my full schedule and without breaking the bank.
1. Buy seasonal and buy local produce. I talked about the health benefits of this on the blog before. The local products you buy in season are usually cheaper, often contain the most nutrients and taste the best. Try to visit a local farmers market every week and buy as much as possible. Freeze any leftovers and you’ll save a lot of money.
Oh yes, the “I don’t have time” thing…I travel for a living and I’m not always home on my local farmers market days so I subscribe to a CSA box (Community Supported Agriculture). A farmer offers a certain number of “shares” to the public. Typically the share consists of a box of vegetables, but other farm products may be included, such as pasture-raised eggs, raw local honey, organic dairy, hand-crafted jams, and artisan olive oil. Interested consumers purchase a share or membership and in return receive a box of beautiful seasonal, local produce, delivered to your door. My CSA of choice is Farm Fresh to You. I can customize my box to my liking and choose both the size and frequency of the delivery. It is delivered to my front door and they always include a couple of fun recipes along with my beautiful produce.
If you live in the SF Bay Area you can save $15 off your first Farm Fresh to You CSA box with this code: KIRS7367
If you live in other parts of the country to can find your local CSA here.
2. Organic food is often seen as more expensive and this may also be the case. Don’t let this discourage you from eating healthy. If you can’t buy organic products, it is still so much healthier to eat a piece of (not organic) fruit than no fruit at all. The ‘‘clean fifteen and dirty dozen list” is also very convenient when shopping on a budget. For example, I will not spend extra money on an organic avocado with a thick skin, but will find it in the long term worth the money to always buy organic berries.
3. Cooking at home is much cheaper than eating out. Create a routine so that it becomes a habit to cook your own food instead of going out for dinner and maybe even breakfast and lunch. This is not only cheaper, but also much healthier. You know exactly what is (and what isn’t) in your food. Planning is essential for this. Make a meal plan and grocery list for the week. When I’m home on Sundays I will usually make a big batch of soup for the week. I also roast a couple of different types of vegetables. This makes it a lot easier and quicker to put dinner together. Every night, while I warm up the soup, I make a big salad and add some of the roasted vegetables. If we aren't having soup then I’ll have my husband fire up the grill. We alternate our animal proteins between wild fish, pasture-raised chicken, lamb and grass-fed meat. Keep it simple. For as much as I love her, there is no need to play Julia Child in your kitchen every night. I will usually make 1-2 “special” and fun dishes a week as my time and schedule permits.
4. I like to shop online for my shelf stable foods such as: rice, canned coconut milk, chia seeds, hemp seeds, cacao powder, nuts, teas and so on. My favorite online shop for this is Thrive Market. Think Costco meets Whole Foods online, and for every paid membership Thrive donates one membership to a low-income American family. Thrive Market offers the best-selling natural and organic products at wholesale prices through a $60/year membership. For less than $5 a month members can shop 4,000 of the highest quality food products from more than 400 of the best brands on the market, all delivered straight to their doors at 25-50% below retail prices. Thrive Market offers free shipping on all orders over $49 and delivers anywhere in the continental United States. The average cost of shipping on orders under $49 is approximately $5.
Get 15% off you first order using this link: http://thrv.me/salutebyk