One of the biggest lies you’ll hear about eating healthy is that it’s going to be expensive.
After all, your health is your wealth; how can you work and make money when you are suffering from headaches, back pain, weak immune systems, and other uncomfortable conditions?
Although it’s true that your health definitely is an investment, taking care of yourself by eating healthy doesn’t have to be expensive!
With proper research, time, and preparation, you can still eat healthy without spending a fortune on food. And here are five ways to do it.
1) Learn the Basics of Cooking
Every time you go out to eat because there’s “no food in your house,” “you’re too busy,” or you “can’t afford healthy food,” both you and your wallet suffers.
Sure, a dollar can take you far on a dollar menu, but most of those cheap foods are void of fulfilling nutrients.
Fast food industries are smart; they make food real cheap yet really addictive so that you’ll buy more and more of it, thinking you’re saving money.
But the only thing you’re saving on is cooking time.
Exhibit A: let’s say you want to order a salad from McDonald’s (and yes, they do serve salads). Not only will you be given a monumental amount of added calories from dressings and toppings (looking at you, fried bacon bits), but you also got robbed. You could have easily used that six dollars to prepare possibly a week’s worth of salads. Salads that are nutritious and delicious without the extra calories.
Instead of going out to eat for the sake of “saving money,” learn to cook. Watch Youtube videos. Watch Tasty videos. Learn the basics of boiling and sauteeing. Find a few staple foods that you can easily cook and don’t take much to prepare. My favs are rice and beans, oatmeal, and salmon with vegetables. Cooking puts you in control of how many calories you want to consume.
2) Use Social Media to Help You Meal Prep
You already know how important and impactful meal prepping is on your health goals. If you have specific weight loss/gain goals you’re trying to reach and want to eat healthy, meal prepping helps by holding you accountable for what you eat.
If you’ve never meal prepped before or need inspiration for doing so every week, go on Instagram! There are thousands of profiles dedicated to healthy eating, specifically through meal prepping. My favorite meal-prepping profiles are @mealpreponfleek, @marekfitness, and @mealprepdaily. But typing in “mealprep” as a hashtag in IG will introduce you to over 3 million other profiles to motivate you to spend less on fast food, cook, and eat healthy.
Staples that you’ll see on almost every page is a combination of chicken or some meat and vegetables. But if you’re like me and get tired of eating and cooking the same thing, hop on Pinterest for some healthy recipes to try out.
3) Plan Before Grocery Shopping
Sit down with your laptop or phone a week in advance. While you’re strolling on social media looking for ideas, take out a blank piece of paper and create a menu. Make a menu for your breakfasts, lunches, and dinners for two weeks.
If you want to be even more detail-oriented, add a column for snacks. Having an idea of what exactly you want to eat will help you meal prep, which will help you walk into the store without wasting money on food/junk you don’t need or eat. Remember, if you fail to plan you plan to fail.
4) Shop at the Perimeters of the Store
Now that you’re at the store, you’re going to need to know where to shop so that your wallet and your health will be happy. And that, my friends, is at the perimeter of the store. In this section, you’ll find all your fruits, vegetables, meats, and dairy products.
Here’s a food fact—the fresher the food, the fewer chemicals, added flavoring, and preservatives (generally). Foods that don’t need to be shelved have a longer shelf life because of the preservatives and trans fats inside them. Fresh foods don’t have as many preservatives, so they have to be placed in refrigerators.
In other words, you want to buy foods that will rot after some time. Unlike McDonald’s burgers.
Of course you can still dip into the aisles to get your pasta and your rice cakes, but the majority of your groceries should be fresh foods and not convenience items.
5) Freeze Meat for Longer Shelf Life
Did you know freezing foods can temporarily extend its shelf life?
The cool temperatures slow down the aging process of the food so that you can enjoy foods in bulk well after their expiration date.
So how would you utilize this tip? Buy meats that are on sale and put them in the freezer. Normally, you can ask workers their schedule on delivering meats, and from there, you can guestimate an upcoming sale on meats. Foods on sale might be closer to their expiration date, so buy the meat in bulk, prepare a few pieces, and freeze the rest.
BONUS TIP: Try Generic Brands
Not saying you have to force yourself to live a knock-off life of Great Value chicken and cereal. But if you want to eat healthy and save money, you’ve got to be adventurous.
Generic brands or store-bought brands are almost always lower than the name brands. And, heck, sometimes store bought brands taste better. And if they don’t taste better, they most likely don’t have all the added colors and flavorings and sugars—aka the things hurting your weight journey anyway.
When it comes to living healthy, 80% of your progress will come from what you eat. Which means you shouldn’t settle for subpar, hypnotizing foods that’ll rob you of your health and consequently, your wealth.
There are several ways to eat healthy while not spending an arm and a leg on food. But the best way to do so is to start. Now.
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What are some ways you have cut the cost of eating healthier?