One of the most common excuses I hear from people as to why they can’t seem to get healthy is that they think fresh food costs too much. While it’s true that some restaurants and stores mark up fancy ingredients, I assure you that it can be easy to eat healthily on a budget. You just need a few good tips and tricks up your sleeve.
Here are 5 easy ways that you can keep both your body and bank account healthy:
1. Eat in season
Instead of finding a recipe then shopping for produce, try this: shop for in season foods, then find the perfect recipe centred around the food.
Foods grown in season always cost less because they are easier for the stores to stock. For instance, mangoes, avocados, sorrel, Portugal are a great price when in season but cost a fortune when out of season. In season produce is usually in the feature displays in your grocery store with big signs to highlight the great prices.
If you’re ever wondering what’s in season, just ask the manager of the produce department at your local store. Shopping your local farmers’ markets is also a great way to eat in season. Beyond being a better price, in season food is usually more fresh, nutrient-packed and delicious than out of season goods.
2. Shop at the Market
Shop at your local market. You are able to shop in bulk as well as you get to meet the farmers and get your produce at a great low price.
3. Grow your own food
You can grow expensive ingredients like fresh basil, mint and scallions right on your windowsill. An organic herb plant only costs a few dollars, and you can replant it into a small pot on your windowsill and it will produce for months. Just keep it watered and in direct sunlight, and always leave about 1/2 the leaves in tact so the plant can keep producing (if you pick off all the leaves the plant will die – I only made that mistake once).
I always have mint and basil on my windowsill and for about five bucks I’ll have fresh herbs from April thru October. Leave the root end of scallions in tact and put them on the windowsill in a pint glass filled half way with water – as long as the root is in tact they will keep growing.
If you have more space, then of course the sky is the limit. Gardening not only saves you money, it can be a stress-relieving hobby that your whole family can love.
4. Go meat-free at least once per week.
Animal protein (chicken, fish, steak, etc.) is usually the most expensive thing in your grocery basket. Even if you’re not vegetarian go meat-free at least once per week. A huge pot of lentil soup or other protein-packed veggie dish contains just as much protein and feed an army for around five bucks.
5. Skip fast-food
This may seem counterintuitive at first, but that $1.99 value meal is going to cost you thousands in health care costs in the long run. Investing in high-quality food is the best insurance you can have against astronomical healthcare costs later in life.