I actually said that ^ to my husband when we were at the grocery story last night. Ha! He didn't find it funny. I did! .... so now it's the title of a blog post.
One of the top excuses I hear for not eating organic foods or healthy food in general is "It's too expensive." I get it. I completely get it.
Let me tell you a little story...
Once upon a time a teenage girl got her first credit card. She was extremely careful with it and paid it off in full EVERY MONTH. As she went through college she started to accumulate a little bit of debt, maybe a few hundred dollars on her credit cards. But then she bought an expensive car and that began this girl's debt story.
She got further into debt with credit cards, student loans and vehicle loans. As did her fiance. Planning their wedding they accumulated more debt that she could accept and they worked and worked and at least paid those credit cards off! YAY!
After the wedding they bought their first home, still with zero credit card debt. How quickly that changed. They racked up over $10,000 on their credit cards in the first year of home-ownership. Several car accidents in one year caused financial strain and they had to purchase another vehicle, getting yet another auto loan. They were tapped and they were stressed.
I guess I should change the tense of the story now. This is present day. So I get it. I don't have extra cash laying around right now either. I could easily say it's too expensive for me to eat right. And sometimes I do. Sometimes I let myself have excuses and I DON'T eat right, whether my excuse is money or laziness, but you know what? It's okay when that is the exception, not the rule.
Last night my husband and I went out to eat because we are tight on cash this week and we had a gift card. I didn't eat healthy. I ate a salad at home because we had food for that in the fridge and then I got mozzarella sticks at the restaurant. But that's okay with me. I'm not claiming to be PERFECT. I'm just happy and proud to follow the 80/20 rule and be healthier than I used to be.
My Tips for Healthy Eating on a Budget
1. Eat what you have
And freeze what is about to go bad. This is super simple, but often overlooked. Don't waste the food you already have and the dollars you spent on that food!
2. Buy less pre-cut, pre-packaged and pre-shredded foods
More work for you, but fewer dollars spent AND less junk that is probably lurking in that packaged food.
3. Shop the sales
See what is on sale for use that knowledge to save you money! See what meats and produce are on sale and check out if any other healthy foods like beans, rice or other canned/dried goods are on sale.
4. Plan ahead for every meal and snack
After you write down everything you already have in your fridge, freezer and pantry and check out what is on sale, meal plan all your meals and snacks for the week based on those things! Planning out all of your meals and snacks will help you create a list that includes everything you need for the week, but nothing extra.
5. Buy frozen
Frozen fruits and veggies can be the way to go! The frozen versions are healthier than canned and can be just as tasty as fresh. Frozen fruit works well in smoothies or yogurt parfaits or just blending it up for some healthy "ice cream." I buy TONS of frozen veggies and simply steam them to bring them for a healthy and easy side.
6. Eat in season
This goes along with planning around sales. When you buy in-season the prices on those items are going to be WAY lower than buying the same thing at a different time of year. I'm still learning the seasons for all of the produce I normally eat, but this is a huge one! You can also save by buying things in season from local farms or farmer's markets or even growing it yourself in your backyard. (You can also get eggs from local farms cheap during the spring and summer!)
7. Leave the cards at home
If you don't have the OPTION of overspending on your food budget because you only brought cash, you can't and you won't! This one is a hard one for me, but sometimes it's neccessary to help you sit to your budget.
8. Shop from a list and only your list
This one can be hard too. Get in, get out. Don't browse. Just find the stuff on your list and check out!
9. Eat the correct portions
Overeating is something that a TON of people do without even realizing it. I had NO idea what correct portion sizes looked like before I learned how I should fuel my body.
10. Ditch the desserts
When you're really on a budget (and when you're really trying to eat to fuel) desserts are just a waste! I have a huge sweet tooth, so this is something I cave on a lot, but dessert is empty calories, has zero nutrients and an easy way to spend extra money. Cut them out and save some dollars (and some yellows if you know what I mean!)
Those are my top tips!
Have any more specific questions for healthy eating on a budget? Let's hear 'em!
Hi, I'm Jessie!
I live in NH with my husband and our pups. My favorite things are coaching Girls on the Run, eating good food that I didn't have to cook, helping other people work on their health, volunteering for and running races, watching tv, doing yoga, and spending too much time on social media. #Balance