This is one of the most common arguments that I hear against adopting a more healthy, whole foods diet. Many, many people feel that they simply cannot afford to eat well and write it off as impossible. I have written many articles that expose the inhumane practices involved in factory farming. Most agree that what goes on is horrendous, but even though people don’t want to support it, they also don’t feel like they have a choice because, supposedly, adopting a healthier, more ethical diet is “too expensive.” Well, there are actually many things that you can do to cut your costs down and provide healthy, nutritious meals for you and your family.
1. Eat In More Regularly
To some this may sound obvious, to others absurd. It depends on your current eating habits. Obviously eating out regularly is costly, but others may argue that fast food is cheaper than a home cooked meal. Depending on what you’re cooking, this is likely just not true. Over time you will see the savings in your wallet, and if you’re used to eating out quite regularly, you’ll definitely feel a difference in your overall health. It may even be more enjoyable when you do eat out because it will be like a treat that doesn’t happen too often. If you’re someone who doesn’t like to cook or doesn’t know how, look up simple recipes and get your family or friends to help! If you really feel that you don’t have enough time to cook, you should definitely consider purchasing a slow cooker. You’ll be able to easily throw together ingredients in the morning so that when you get home from work, you’re just a pot of rice and salad away from a full meal. These are a lifesaver for people with busy schedules.
2. Buy In Bulk
Buying items in bulk can save you a lot of money! When you buy in bulk you are not wasting money on unnecessary packaging, and (bonus!) you aren’t creating nearly as much waste! Buying in bulk also often means that you can get organic items cheaper than conventional items in packages. Some great examples of items you can easily find in bulk are: rice, chickpeas, beans, nuts, baking supplies, spices, tea, coffee, and so much more! Canned organic, BPA free lined cans of legumes can be quite costly, but if you buy them dried in bulk, soak them overnight, cook them, and then freeze them yourself, you can save a ton of money and have these staples at literally a fraction of the cost.
3. Buy Locally & Seasonally
This is a great way to cut costs down, especially for produce. Consider buying with the seasons and whenever possible buy locally. This can vary quite a bit depending on where you live. When it’s summer and berries are in season you could always stock up and freeze them in preparation for when they will be more expensive later in the year. If root vegetables are in season, eat more of these; chances are you’ll be able to get them from local farmers. A great opportunity to buy seasonal and local is to check out a farmer’s market. Often times these items are extremely reasonably priced and offer a great way to cut back on packaging costs as well.
4. Cut Out Expensive Things
This is a big one! Yes, finding organic meats and animal products at a reasonable price is very difficult, but most animal products in general are very expensive anyways. An excellent way to cut down these costs is to drastically lower your consumption! Let’s face it, you don’t need to have meat for every meal, and while you don’t have to turn vegan or even vegetarian, by opting to have meat a few times a week, and/or having much smaller portions, you will certainly save money at the grocery store. There are also many alternative products that you can consider consuming more of. Some examples for how you can cut out meat include: make a spaghetti sauce with lentils instead of ground beef, a stew with chickpeas, or grilled sandwiches with avocado instead of cheese. The options are truly endless. Cutting back on animal products is not only a great way to save money, but also an important way to protect the environment as well. By purchasing these products less, you can then afford to buy local, more sustainable products instead, which in turn threatens the factory farming industry. Also, have a look at some of the things that regularly end up in you grocery cart and cut out what you don’t need at all (and isn’t good for your health, i.e. soda, potato chips, and other packaged treats, even fruit juices).
5. Grow A Garden
I realize this is not a viable option for everyone, but if you have the space I strongly encourage you to give this a try. After all…
“Growing your own food is like printing your own money.”
If you live in an apartment or don’t feel like you have enough space to plant a garden, check this out: 5 DIY Garden Projects For People Who Don’t Have Space For A Garden. If this still is not an option for you, you could always try looking into community gardening or convincing a friend or family member.
6. Canning And Preserving
This is an ancient practice that people used to do to ensure there was food available throughout the year, even when hardly anything was growing. If you have an abundance of fresh produce from your garden you can certainly preserve some of it to last you at least part of the winter. And if you have a cold storage you can store things like potatoes and carrots all season long. Fermenting your own foods generally involves this same process and including fermented foods into your diet has proven to be extremely beneficial to your health. You can read more about that HERE.
So there you have it, eating healthy doesn’t have to be as expensive as you may think it is. Yes, it may require a bit more time and effort, but this is your health we are talking about! Isn’t it worth it? Especially when you consider how costly the alternative can be – illness and hospital and/or surgery bills.
Do you have any other tips you would like to share for how you can affordably eat healthy? Please share in the comments below!
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