How To Eat Healthy On A Budget

dreamstime_m_43031486.jpg

One of the major barriers to eating healthy is the increased cost. I am not going to tell you eating healthy will cost the same as eating ‘unhealthy,’ but I will say it is going to cost more for you to eat healthy. How much more?  It does not have to cost a lot more maybe a third more than normal has been my experience. The Knight family of three spends about five hundred a month on food, but I feel very strongly that I am investing in my family and myself by buying higher quality food.  I feel confident you can pay now, or pay later when it comes to your health. In my experience, what you eat is the single most important determinant of your health. There are other factors to health, of course, but none as important as the food you put in your mouth in my humble opinion.

Before we go any further, I want to quickly define what eating healthy is. It is eating real food in its original form. You need to be able to tell me what something is by looking at it. For the most part, I stay away from food in boxes, have been heavily processed, has an ingredients list as long as my arm, or most of the ingredients I am unable to pronounce.

Why would you want to spend more to eat healthy?

 For one thing, you will have more energy. Tell me this is not worth paying extra for. If you are feeding your body clean, whole foods your body is going to be running better off of this and creating more energy for you to be productive.  You are going to be sick less often and therefore have to be off from work less often. Even your child will be sick less often because you will be providing them with the nutrients needed to build and maintain a strong immune system. Think about it; your family will be sick less often requiring less medication and be more productivity since everyone can work and go to school. 

I have found my mind is much clearer when I am eating clean, unprocessed foods as well. This is great if you are in school, or you need to have a clear mind for your job and/or for general learning. How many of us could use more energy, a stronger immune system, need less medication for illnesses, and have a clearer mind? These are just some of the benefit of eating higher quality food.

Where do you find this high-quality food?  Everywhere, if you know where to look for it. When I go to my local grocery store, I do not even need to look at 90% of the food on the shelves. I walk the perimeter of the store looking at the produce, meats, and some dairy. Locally, I shop at Earth Fare, Harris Teeter, Aldi, and Wal-mart. Each store has different items to pick up. Earth Fare, I mainly shop for sales and special items I can only find in a health food store. At Harris Teeter, I mainly buy items that are on sale and rarely pay full price for an item here or at Earth Fare.  Aldi is my new love because they have some really good deals in there if you know what to look for, but Aldi is not a health food store. Wal-mart is a useful resource as well and is carrying more and more high-quality food and organic products all the time. The way to get these stores to carry more high-quality products and get the prices down is to purchase these products.

The local grocery stores and online shops are my go-to. I like the convenience of buying when I want something. I am not a fan of a bunch of food coming in all at once as with some local farm programs. Produce tends to spoil too quickly. We do a lot of frozen fruits and vegetables so we can eat them when we want.  I recommend investing in a small freezer. You can find them cheap on Facebook Market Place or Craigslist.

Some of the online resources I use are Vitacost and Thrive Market. Vitacost has great prices to start with on most products, and they offer frequent sales. These sales are the time to stock up. Thrive Market, on the other hand, is membership based usually running around sixty dollars a year. They offer sales less frequently, but will often offer freebies with an order over forty-nine dollars and both websites ship for free with an order over forty-nine dollars. Thrive offers thousands of products at a rock bottom price in most cases. Both Thrive Market and Vitacost carry products you will not find in the store as well, and that is why they can be a useful resource. Both stores carry supplements as well as essential oils.

How do you eat healthy on a budget?

I would limit eating out to once a week. The Knight family may go out on Sundays to Graze, Five Loves, or Sesame Burger, which are some of our favorite local restaurants. For my wife and I with tip, it is usually under thirty dollars. We will drink water and go for the main course only. I find this is plenty to fill us up and make us satisfied.

In the grocery stores, I will often scan the sale papers when they come out on Wednesdays.  If it is an item my family needs, I will stock up on it and put some in my freezer in the garage. We keep an inventory list of the items in our freezers, so we know how much we have a certain item and know when to restock. It takes me about two hours a week to do the grocery shopping for my family.

To tie up some loose ends, always look at the prices as the cashier is ringing up your items to make sure you are getting the right price or sale that is running. For Harris Teeter and Earth Fare make sure you join their programs so you can get the sales and rewards points.  A great tip is if an item is out because it is on sale and other people beat you to it. Take a picture of it and show it to the customer service representative and they will give you a rain check for the item. So, next week when the item is not on sale and is restocked you can come in and use your rain check and get the sale price for it. You do not have to miss out just because a sale item is not in stock when you finally make it to the store.

This is basically how I shop for healthy, high-quality food on a budget. I will be coming out with some videos of what is in my refrigerator, freezers, and cupboard and where I purchase them. If you need me to accompany you to the grocery store be sure and contact me through Knightwellnesscoaching.com.

So, how are you shopping for healthy food on a budget?  What are some tips and tricks that have worked for you?  Share in the comments below. If you found this article useful or helpful, please be sure to share it with your friends. We hope you and your family have a healthy week.