Sometimes our best efforts to eat healthy are foiled by the high cost of fresh food. However, it can be easy to eat healthy on a tight budget - you just need a few good tips and tricks up your sleeve.
Here are 5 easy ways that you can keep both your body and bank account healthy:
1. Eat in season.
Foods grown in season always cost less because they are easier for the stores to stock. For instance, blueberries are a great price in May but cost a fortune in December. Pomegranates are easy on your wallet in November but are pricey in April. If you're ever wondering what's in season, just ask the manager of the produce department at your local store.
2. Buy in bulk whenever possible.
Most stores offer an additional 10% off a case of anything, so buy in bulk if it fits into your budget. Some stores even do so if the item is on sale. For instance, I love the large cans of coconut water but they cost about $2.50 per can. I wait until they go on special for $2 per can and buy a case of 12, bringing them to $1.80 each. Same for organic canned black beans, when I buy them by the case and on special they only cost about 80 cents per can. There's one caveat to this rule: only buy in bulk if you know you'll finish it all before it expires.
3. Grow your own food.
You can grow expensive ingredients like fresh basil, mint and scallions right on your windowsill. An organic herb plant only costs a few dollars, and you can replant it into a small pot on your windowsill and it will produce for months. Just keep it watered and in direct sunlight, and always leave about 1/2 the leaves in tact so the plant can keep producing (if you pick off all the leaves the plant will die - I only made that mistake once).
I always have mint and basil on my windowsill and for about five bucks I'll have fresh herbs from April thru October. Leave the root end of scallions in tact and put them on the windowsill in a pint glass filled half way with water - as long as the root is in tact they will keep growing.
4. Go meat-free at least once per week.
Animal protein always costs the most, so even if you're not vegetarian go meat-free at least once per week. A huge pot of lentil soup or other protein-packed veggie dish contains just as much protein and feed an army for around five dollars.
5. Skip fast-food.
This may seem counterintuitive for some, but that $1.99 value meal is going to cost you thousands in health care costs in the long run. Investing in high-quality food is the best insurance you can have against astronomical healthcare costs later in life.
Click here to watch a video where I talk more about eating healthy on a budget.