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No more excuses! Here’s how eating healthy can actually save you a lot of money in the long run and 5 easy ways to make it happen!
“I can’t afford organic, healthy food.”
I hear you.
Consumer Reports found that organic foods and beverages are on average 47% more expensive than conventional alternatives.
It doesn’t have to be that way all the time.
Eating healthy can save you a lot of money in the long run. Just think about the cost of doctor visits and expensive pharmaceuticals. The payback in vitality, energy, and quality of life alone is worth buying healthy food.
But what about right now, with not much wiggle room in the wallet?
Let’s consider 5 surprisingly easy ways you can eat healthy on a budget.
1. Eat Real Food at Home
This is probably the most important tip on this list. Did you know that many restaurants charge around a 300% markup to make a profit? While eating out certainly has its place, we totally value community (to celebrate a special occasion, meet up with friends, or try something new), But dining out regularly can eat a huge hole in your wallet.
Preparing and eating real food at home can save you an enormous amount of money. When you eat out, the average cost of a meal is around $13. This isn’t including tax or tip. On the other hand, preparing a meal at home costs around $4 on average. Imagine saving $9 each time you eat a meal! That adds up quickly! Not to mention, the food is most likely never going to be as wholesome and healthy as it would be in your own kitchen.
Think: what is it about eating out that you like the most?
Is it the ambiance? Move dinner to your patio, light a candle, or put on some good dinner vibe music.
Is it the taste? Put on your chef’s hat and find a tried and true recipe with good reviews online for what you are craving. Almost any dish you are hankering for can be “healthified” based on your preferred diet with a little googling.
Is it the convenience? Keep dinner simple, bust out the slow cooker, and never underestimate a good sheet pan meal!
Notice the two words in italics: Real Food. This is key. Eat and cook whole foods, preferably organic, in most cases. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is buying and eating cheap processed foods. Learn to read food labels, and if you do not recognize an ingredient, *put it back.*You should understand exactly what is in your food and eat ingredients you would only recognize in your own kitchen.
2. Buy and Cook in Bulk
It’s no secret that buying food in bulk can save you money. However, the true key to buying in bulk is buying things you know you will eat. It is extremely easy to walk into Costco and start throwing things in your cart that you didn’t even plan on buying. Before you buy something in bulk, make sure it is something that you eat regularly or truly adds value to your diet.
It’s also important to buy the right things in bulk. It may seem like a good idea to buy your fruits and vegetables in bulk. However, if you have to throw a lot of it in the trash after it’s gone bad, buying in bulk did not serve its purpose. Food that’s should be purchased in bulk includes canned goods, rice, beans, and nut butter. Stock up on frozen goods as well: organic fruits and veggies, along with high-quality organic, grass-fed meat.
Gravitate towards the real food, not the “healthy” frozen or packaged meals. Don’t get me wrong, when made with simple, whole ingredients, these have their place, but we are trying to be healthy on a budget. So, put in the extra 15 minutes to make that burrito bowl yourself rather than buying the 20 pack of the frozen microwaveable kind.
We love Misfits Market for organic, fresh produce, Thrive Market for organic pantry staples, and of course Costco for everything in between.
3. Buy REAL FOOD
This is a big one.
I know those time-saving organic granola bars are calling your name but stick to the perimeter of the grocery aisle, where the real food(bright veggies and mouth-watering fruits) have their time in the sun. The middle aisles are overpriced, over-processed food that most likely you can make at home healthier and for a fraction of the cost.
Reach for organic as much as your budget allows, or at the very least avoid like the plague the dirty dozen posted on the EWG’s website that highlight what foods contain the most pesticides when bought non-organic.
Also, stock up on wild-caught fish and organic, grass-fed meats.
Keep it simple. Pure, unprocessed food. Everything else is just extra.
4. Plan out your meals for the week
When you know exactly what you are eating, you know exactly what to buy, and you aren’t throwing unnecessary expenses into your cart at the grocery store.
Spend 5-10 minutes Sunday night writing down some yummy healthy recipes to try this coming week, along with the ingredients.
Armed with this list you will buy only what you need and avoid wasting money!
5. Don’t Buy Things That You Can Easily Make
That $4.15 cafe latte at Starbucks every day may not seem like much, but at the end of the year, you will have drained a whopping $1,514.75. So make a delicious cup of higher quality organic coffee at home for pennies in comparison.
Pre-cut fruit and veggies have an unbelievable markup because of convenience. While we applaud you for making the healthier choice, it is not a budget-friendly choice. Washed, cut fruit and veggies are easy to meal prep at the beginning of the week to keep in the fridge to munch on as a healthy snack option.
Bone broth is an expensive indulgence. Save yourself a lot of money by making it yourself with an instant pot. It also prevents food waste. Win, win! Here’s an easy recipe we love.
Granola is overpriced and usually has inflammatory oils and high sugar content. It is so easy to make at home, and you control the amount of sweetener and healthy oil you want.
We love this healthy granola recipe. (It tastes way better than store-bought and creates the BEST clusters!)
Don’t be overwhelmed by the fancy marketing of the “healthy” label. You don’t have to hand whole foods your life savings account to be healthy.
It’s all about the basics: Shop smart and healthy. Eat whole, unprocessed, nourishing foods. Don’t throw your money at healthy convenience items. Sign up for an organic bulk subscription. Plan ahead. No more excuses! When you apply these savvy tips to save money on these items, you will absolutely achieve better health on a budget!
Want Quality Groceries Shipped to Your Front Door at an Unbelievably Great Price?
Thrive Market offers a wide variety of high-quality, non-toxic, and organic products at wholesale prices. By becoming a member, you can save up to 50% off traditional retail prices on everything from pantry staples to beauty and personal care items. Additionally, Thrive Market offers a 30-day risk-free trial, so you can try it out and see the savings for yourself. Signing up for Thrive Market also supports their mission to make healthy living accessible to everyone, including their commitment to providing free memberships to low-income individuals and families. With Thrive Market, you can save money and make a positive impact, all while getting the healthy products you need.