One reason (or excuse) that people use when deciding NOT to try a clean eating diet is the cost. Is clean eating expensive? Fact or fiction? It does not have to be.
Everyone has felt the budget pinch when it comes to the rise in grocery costs over the past few years. It could be difficult to find an extra $100 in the budget to spend on healthy food, if it were really necessary.
There are several things you can do that will help overcome that excuse. Let’s take a look at them:
Eat Seasonal Foods
Learn when foods are harvested and buy produce that is “in season.” It is not only less expensive, but it gives you a nice variety of foods for your table though out the year, rather than eating the same dishes over and over.
Seasonal foods are less expensive as a rule, whether you buy them at your regular grocery store or the farmer’s market.
Seasonal produce picked at its prime is much better than cold storage produce that is picked early and shipped long distances. Freshly picked fruits and vegetables also taste better and provide more nutrients that your body needs.
Buy in Bulk
This does not work well when buying for one, but if you have a family, it is a smart choice. You can purchase staple foods like brown rice, quinoa, whole grain flour, and even dried beans and peas in bulk.
See what your local grocery stores have to offer. Also, check online prices – sometimes those are better.
Buying these items in bulk makes your weekly shopping trip easier because you have less to buy – and it saves you money.
Cook from Scratch
Over the past couple of decades our society has become so dependent on convenience foods that making dishes from scratch is almost a lost art.
It is not uncommon to spend hard-earned case on sodium-free, organic chicken broth rather than using bones from your chicken dinner to make your own broth. That is a two-for-one process, and you control what is in the broth. It is cheaper and healthier.
It is not difficult to start cooking from scratch. In fact, it is easy to cook your beans, make soups, stews, and salads from scratch.
I challenge you to make at least one new homemade dish every week.
Try your hand at baking bread or biscuits. Try making some homemade barbecue sauce. Not only will you save money, you also have full control over the ingredients. So-o-o-o much better!
Buy from Local Farmers
Go online and find your local farmer’s markets; plus look for farm stores in the area. They are a great source of local produce, diary, and eggs. If you are lucky, you may even find meat. Since there are no shipping costs involved, you will be able to get fresh, high quality food at reasonable prices.
CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) boxes are another excellent source of local fruits and vegetables. You buy a share of a farmer’s produce for the year and end up with a box of assorted fruits and vegetables throughout each growing season.
Go to http://www.localharvest.org/csa/ to learn more and find farms in your area that participate.
Grow Your Own Produce
If you have space in your yard, considering planting a garden. Create you own produce department. Growing lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers is very easy. Depending on your climate, you may want to try melons and strawberries. Or if you don’t have much of a yard, try planting in containers.
You can even grow you own produce when you live in an apartment. Plant an herb garden or grow sprouts. You can grow spring greens in a pot or bowl in the kitchen window and enjoy a nice bowl of fresh salad every few days.
It is an easy, fun and delicious hobby. Give it a try! You may surprise yourself.
There are a couple of side benefits, as well. It gets you outside and it is a great way to teach your children about where food comes from and what it takes to grow healthy fruits and vegetables that are good for their bodies.
So – to answer our question: Is clean eating expensive?
The answer: It does not have to be.
Do not let budget constraints prevent you from eating healthier foods.
It is not only doable on a limited budget; it will also save you money in the long run by preventing health care costs that can arise from poor eating habits.
Have fun – stay healthy – and save money by eating clean!