I always hear people say that it costs too much to eat healthy organic food. That phrase is thrown around all the time as an excuse to eat unhealthy foods, “It’s cheaper” they say. But is it really? Have you done the math, and taken all the factors into consideration? Maybe, but let’s dive a little deeper. Here are some tips I use personally to eat healthy on a budget.
Make your own food from scratch
I know, I know, you don’t have time right. Please make the time. This is by far the most important factor for your overall health, and to save the most amount of money on your grocery bill. The amount of money you can save by doing this is unbelievable. Stop eating out for lunch, bring it from home. Even if you only spend $10 a day from Monday to Friday on lunch, that $200 a month. That $200 can buy you a lot of organic produce.
I don’t compromise on this ever, with myself or with clients, It’s important. Every time you eat out or buy premade garbage, you outsource your food choices. You relinquish your power and give it to someone else. When you make your food at home, you have total control of what goes in your body, and that is a powerful thing. People tend to forget that. So please, get in the kitchen and start cooking!
Pick your Battles
The debate of organic foods is an ongoing one. Is it truly better for your health to buy exclusively organic foods? I believe it is. But even I don’t buy organic everything. I base my decisions off a few factors:
- Do you eat the skin? If you eat the outer layer of the produce, it only makes sense to try to find an organic counterpart.
- Where is it coming from? I tend to choose local when possible. I also try to buy according to the seasons. This helps you get the freshest and cheapest produce. The closer you can get to the source, the better.
- The clean fifteen and the dirty dozen. A simple way to choose what is worth buying organic and what isn't. Each list is changed every year. The clean fifteen is a list of the fifteen least Pesticide sprayed produce items of the year. Meaning, if it costs double to get these organic, it's not as important. And the dirty dozen is the opposite. Anything on this list needs to be purchased organic.
A slow cooker and pressure cooker are your best friends when trying to make cheap cuts of meat taste delicious. You don't need to buy expensive cuts. Buy a whole bottom blade roast and cook it all day in a slow cooker with fresh herbs and spices, add your favourite vegetables and you’ve got a party. Get the whole bird instead of the skinless, boneless, and tasteless breast. Cooking a chicken bone in makes it taste better. Plus you can keep the bones to make your own homemade bone broth. How can that be a bad idea?
Don’t waste anything
I mentioned bone broth earlier which is a great way to make use of what some people throw away. The same thing goes for vegetable trimmings. Maken a spot in your freezer for bones, and some of your vegetable trimmings. These can all be thrown into a crockpot to create a delicious broth for soups and stews, or just to drink straight up. I always keep onion, carrot, celery, broccoli, green onion, and fresh herb trimmings. Once the bag is full, I make a bone broth or vegetable broth with it.
This isn't as true during our cold Canadian winters. But during the spring, summer, and fall please go visit your local farmers market. Get to know the vendors, and look for sales. In my experience, they always give extra deals for return customers. Plus, if you purchase seasonal produce it’s always less expensive.
Hopefully, this was helpful. I know this may seem like a lot of work to some. But to me, eating healthy is non-negotiable. It takes practice, it’s hard, but it’s necessary. Try it for a while, you’ll be happy you did. Roll up your sleeves, put an apron on and get your butt in the kitchen.