Healthy Eating Is Affordable

Eating healthy starts with shopping healthy. Remember these tips to shopping healthy without busting your budget.

A healthy diet is an essential part of an active life and a key to well-being. One excuse you often hear is that healthy foods are more expensive than unhealthy food. But even if you don’t factor in that eating healthy today saves you money in the future on medical costs, the actual price you pay at the checkout for food doesn’t have to be any higher and may even be less than you spend on unhealthy items. Here are a few tips I’ve learned while shopping for my family.

Buy ingredients

Processed foods, especially snacks and soda, are more expensive than whole, unprocessed foods. They cost more at the checkout, and because they are so low in nutrients, you pay a lot for little or no benefit to you. When you eat whole foods you feel most satisfied, so you are not hungry as frequently, saving you money on expensive snacks.

Plan your meals

Shopping once for the whole week is cheaper and healthier than if you go shopping every day. If you fancy a piece of chocolate, you are not likely to go to the grocery store just for that, but if you are there anyway then you may treat yourself

Make a list

Turn your meal plan into a shopping list, then stick to your list. Walking around the aisles leads you to temptation. Supermarkets are laid out and stocked to entice you to buy the most expensive items.

Shop full

If you go shopping when you are hungry, you will make choices based on your immediate cravings, rather than your meal plan.

Think seasonal

Fruits and vegetables are the foundation of a healthy diet for active people. When you visit the produce section of the store, you’ll get the best deals on the items that are in season where you live. Those that must be imported from other climates are almost always more costly.

Consider frozen

Longer shelf life is not the only reason to buy frozen vegetables and fruit. They are often cheaper than fresh produce and may be even more healthful than fresh items, says Gene Lester, Ph.D., a plant physiologist at the USDA Agricultural Research Center in Weslaco, Texas. Fruits and vegetables that will be frozen are picked at their peak ripeness, when they are most nutritious. Fresh produce may be picked a few days or even weeks before peak ripeness so they can survive shipping across the country. We recently got a Yonanas machine which makes delicious frozen desserts from only frozen fruit.

 Try store brands

I’ve found that generic products are usually the same as branded items, only less expensive. I buy the Harris Teeter brand products (I shop at a Harris Teeter store) and I am happy with the quality.

Hunt for deals

Every store offers weekly deals and coupons. Many now post them online as well as mail printed flyers. Take the time to check out the deals when you’re building your shopping list and you will save a little every week and a lot over the course of the year.

Do you have tips for eating healthy while not spending too much money? Share your ideas in Comments so we can all learn from each other.

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