Eating Healthy on a Budget

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Eating healthy can be expensive.  Organic foods cost a lot more than foods that may have additives and preservatives, for example. Processed and packaged foods are, unfortunately, much less expensive to produce and get to market than fresh foods. Add to that the fact that fresh foods have a much shorter shelf life, and you’re almost doomed to a life of unhealthy eating based on budget alone.

Fortunately, if you’re on a limited budget like most people, there are some things you can do to eat healthy.  You may not be able to only ever eat fresh vegetables grown in the unsullied jungles of Bolivia, but you can improve the overall health of your eating by following a few simple ideas.

Buy generic food.  The generic box is going to be less attractive, but it is much more attractive to your wallet.  Brand name food is always more expensive and, generally speaking, generic foods are the same nutritionally as brand name foods. In addition, many generic foods may actually be better for you than a comparable food that’s not generic.

Consider buying your food in bulk whenever possible .  Buying in bulk is more expensive on the first visit, but it saves you money on your next visit.  It also saves you time and it saves you gas in your car. Consider investing in a big freezer to keep all of your stored food.  Put meats and vegetables in bulk and freeze them.

Make a plan for your grocery trips.  Make a list of the things that you think you might want to eat.  Make meal plans so that you don’t go hungry.  When you go to the grocery store, buy what is on your list and get out.  Don’t take anyone with you. Shopping for groceries it is not a recreational activity.  Just get the food that you need and get back home.

Pack your lunch at home, and then take your lunch with you when you go to work.  Instead of eating out fast food for lunch consider packing a lunchbox to take with you. You can eat much healthier out of a paper sack than you can from the drive thru. Obviously, this assumes that you’ll pack a relatively healthy lunch to take with you to work. The other half of this step is making sure that you pack something healthy when you do pack your lunch.

Eat less.  This one should be obvious, but the less that you eat, the lower your grocery bill and the healthier you’re going to be.  If you’re overweight get on a diet.  Your health and your bank account will thank you.

Spend some time today thinking about your diet, and how you can eat healthy even though you are on a budget. In the long run, the planning and effort you put into it will pay off in a longer and more healthy life.

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