Eating healthy on a budget seems to be far fetched to some but it is possible to eat healthy on a budget. Lots of it has to do with what you purchase and where but changing your mindset also helps. You’re probably wondering what on earth mindset has to do with eating healthy. Well, in order to live a healthier lifestyle your body and mind are need to be connected and on the same page.
With that said let’s first change your mindset. Many think that eating healthy is costly and if you frequent the many ‘health food’ stores you may tend to agree. However, changing your meals to healthier ones is not difficult and does not have to break the bank. Consider the following:
Everyone knows that organic is best or is it? – Quite frankly the vast majority will agree that purchasing organic fruits and vegetables at ‘health food’ stores is costly. But, who says you must go to the fancy shops to purchase these delightful treats? Instead, support your local farmers and purchase fresh fruits and vegetables from them. Not only will you be supporting your local agricultural groups but it will also cost far less than the shops since you are cutting out the ‘middle man’.
Try out your ‘green thumb’- If your response to the first tip is that there are no local farmers in your location, then start a trend. Start growing your own fruits, vegetables and herbs. A large plot of land is not necessary to grow these items. Many herbs and fruits can be grown in containers and window boxes. Don’t let excuses stump your creativity.
Implement meatless meals – By implementing 2 to 3 meatless meals into your menu plan you will save a lot of money. It is evident that beef, poultry and seafood is very expensive; so getting your family involved and choosing some meals without these costly staples will be fun. It’s fun to experiment and no one ever said each meal had to include a meat dish.
Purchase more than one - When specific fruits are in season they will cost less so be sure to stock up. Instead of purchasing one pint of strawberries, purchase 2 extra and freeze them. Frozen fruit can be used in jams, spreads and smoothies. Do the same with vegetables such as green beans, corn, tomatoes and more. Yes, I know that tomatoes are not vegetables but you understand the concept, right? Purchase in bulk, blanch and freeze and you will have delicious fruits and vegetables all year long.
Dehydrating is fun – If you are not one to blanch and freeze, consider dehydrating fruits, and herbs. It truly is amazing how much fresher and tastier are herbs you have grown and dried yourself. Have you seen the price of dried basil, oregano, and dill for example? Makes you wonder what process they use to dry their herbs, but you can save money by doing it yourself.
Clean your non-organic produce the old-fashioned way – Let’s face it, there will be many times that you will not be able to purchase ‘organic’ produce and that’s perfectly fine. Instead of reaching for the costly pesticide cleaners on the market use warm sudsy water. Yes, the nasty pesticides will wash off with soapy water and you will save money too.
Change your eating habits – Instead of reaching for the processed foods available on the market today, create your own version at home for less. Not only will you know exactly was is going into your food, but you can vary the ingredients and not worry about the empty calories the packaged brands have. Instead of reaching for the frozen pancakes or waffles, make your own batch and freeze for later. Don’t reach for the sugar and salt filled salsa make your own version. And instead of reaching for the chips and candy, substitute with fresh fruit and vegetables. This is where your mindset will come into play. Too often the processed food is easier but remember the cost and the added calories and you will place that package mashed potatoes and reach for a pound of fresh potatoes instead.
So, the question was is it possible to eat healthy on a budget? The answer is a resounding – Yes! First you must determine the changes you need to make. Second, don’t make those changes all at once. Implementing the steps shared is a start and will help you not only help you make healthier choices but will save you money as well. Remember the mantra that moderation is the key to success.
The first step is acknowledging and the next step is implementing. Making small changes will help you see the larger picture. Not only will you be happier because you are saving money but your entire family will be healthier because of these small changes.
Dr. Daisy Sutherland is the Founder/CEO of Dr. Mommy Online . She is a doctor, author, mentor, speaker, wife & mom to 5 children. Dr. Mommy's mission is to ~ Help Busy Women and Men with her 'Get Real' approach to living a happier and healthier lifestyle. Watch for new book: 'Letting Go of Super Mom' coming out August 7, 2012. Don't forget to grab your FREE gift... 7 Simple Ways to Stay Motivated