If you’re reading this blog, you have (or are trying to have) an interest in eating healthy, exercising, maintaining a healthy & balanced lifestyle, or all three! Trying to incorporate this into one’s life is no easy thing; it does not take long to understand that it can be EXPENSIVE!!
It is NO coincidence that the food that is the least nutritious and harmful to your health is the cheapest. Alternately, the food that is nutrient-dense, healthy, disease fighting & beneficial is very expensive. Things like french fries from McDonalds or an 89 cent Chalupa from Taco Bell made up primarily (if not completely) of artificial things made in a lab. The little bit that might ACTUALLY be real is of such low grade that it is very cheaply purchased in bulk.
All that being said, I get asked ALL the time just how in the heck I can afford to eat organic, grass-fed, wild caught & all the rest. The short answer is this: its EXPENSIVE but it is what I value, so I spend the money on it. The longer answer is this: It isn’t as pricey as you think. If you do your own shopping and cooking, it can actually be cheaper. There IS a way!!!
To be quite honest, the food budget in our house for 2 adults (plus having family/friends over for meals 1-2x/wk) is approximately $300/week. This might seem CRAZY, but let me break it down:
Total Groceries per week: $300, which is $150/person. That makes 21 meals per week per person. Quick math averages it out to a little over $7.00 per meal per person. To me, $7 per meal is absolutely reasonable when it means grass-fed, organic, pasture raised, natural, healthy REAL foods. Compare it to this….
Going out to eat or getting takeout M-F only: breakfast/coffee: $5-$7, lunch: $10-12, dinner: $25. For 5 days of this its $210. This is MORE than I’ve spent per person on food for the WEEK, and this doesn’t even include weekends!!! Even if a person is not getting every single meal at a restaurant, the point is that it is JUST AS expensive and SOOOOOOO much less healthy.
The problem for most people???? TIME!!!!!! nobody has enough, it runs away from us, and we all wish we had more. The honest truth is that we ALL have 24 hours in a day; its about how you choose to use those hours.
How to eat healthy on a budget:
1. Learn about the Dirty Dozen & Clean Fifteen Not all fruits and veggies have to be organic. This chart breaks it down: which are worth the extra expense. Things from the clean 15 list don’t need to be organic. Save $$
2. Buy in Bulk Go to BJ’s or Costco and buy the things you use often in bulk. BJ’s carries organic spinach which is SOO much cheaper than anywhere else. If you can’t use the food fast enough, freeze it.
3. Prep meals in advance I will preach this until my dying day. Take 2-3 hours on a Sunday to do some cooking. Prep meals for the week, put them in Tupperware so you’ll have them set and ready to go. If you make a HUGE amount of food, freeze some. Nothing is simpler than taking soup out of the freezer and heating it up after a long day.
4. Look for deals Trader Joe’s often has much cheaper produce, eggs, milk, etc. than Whole Foods… you can save a TON of $$ by hitting up 2 or more grocery stores.
5. Make your food budget a priority If you are going out to dinner a lot, having cocktails 2-3x/week, and spending your money on lots of other different things, don’t expect a lot to be left for your groceries. Prioritize food shopping when you have a full wallet. Make sure your items for the coming week are purchased before you hit the mall and get sucked in by a new sweater, boots, sneakers, or toy.
Eating healthy on a money and time budget IS NOT EASY. However, if you value your health and wellness, and are willing to make these things a high priority, it is ABSOLUTELY POSSIBLE.
Michelle can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org.