How to Eat Healthy on a Budget By Rachel Schwartzman, ND #WellbeingWednesday
It’s often believed that eating healthy has to cost a lot of money. In my naturopathic practice, I am always trying to bring healthy food to the table and teach people cost effective ways of making this happen. Here are a few healthy tips that can help you stretch your dollar while still maintaining healthy food choices.
- Buy Bulk items. I cannot stress how much you can save by starting to buy unpackaged food. When food items are packaged and wrapped, you are paying for what ultimately is going to be put in the trash. Head on over to your local health food store and pick up all your pantry items, such as beans, rice, nuts/seeds, granola even herbal teas can all be found in the bulk food section. You can start saving those glass mason jars to store your food items, making for a neat and organized pantry while also avoiding plastic bags.
- Buy foods in season. With summer being here, our fruits and vegetables are plentiful. It’s a good time to stock up on some of these items that can be expensive in the winter when not in season. Think about freezing fresh fruits and vegetables to have for when these items are scarce and expensive in the winter.
- Avoid processed foods and quick snack items. We pay a premium for packaged food items that are quick and convenient and generally lack essential vitamins, minerals and fiber. Aim for whole grain foods and fresh produce. Try making your own snacks such as muffins or putting together items from your bulk pantry. A small apple, handful of dried apricots and almonds is a great and inexpensive snack option.
- Get in the kitchen and start experimenting. There is no doubt when you cook your own food as opposed to buying the packaged version, you are saving money. Try that hummus recipe, make your own chocolate chip cookies, and cook a pot of soup. Most dishes homemade are a fraction of the cost of the prepared version.
- Think about Food Waste. The average person throws away $500-800 of food per year. Multiply that by a family of 4, and you can see how this can really add up. Use leftover chicken or tofu for a stir fry, that leftover piece of fish and avocado for tacos and freeze your fruits and vegetables that are on the way out to toss into a smoothie. Get creative with meals, challenge yourself to new ideas by using what you have in your fridge.
Eating healthy does not have to be expensive. In actual fact the opposite is true, it is the “unhealthy” options that can empty your wallet fast. Try new things out and see what happens, but most importantly, have fun with food.
Rachel Schwartzman is a naturopathic doctor, acupuncturist and birth doula. She is passionate about bringing health to children and families in simple and effective ways. rachelschwartzman.com