According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, food is a basic necessity for survival. I would hardly argue that point. So what do you think about the idea that that “eating healthy is too expensive?”
I relate the consumption of good food to health and wellness, it comes with the territory of being a holistic nutritionist-in-training. But I wonder if the majority of the population thinks this way? And if not, how can we change that perception?
I think that everyone should be able to have access to good, nutritious food regardless of income. However, if you are on any kind of budget (like the holistic nutritionist-in-training kind) I have come up with some ways to eat well without breaking the bank.
#1. Plan, plan, plan
Have you ever gone to the grocery store without a list or hungry? I have and that’s when disaster strikes. Before you know it, your cart is piled high with food you don’t need and you end up spending more then necessary.
Before you shop, make a meal plan for the week (or for 3-4 days) and write out everything you will need to purchase. Once you get to the grocery store, stick to the list. Once you’re in the checkout line, re-evaluate and see how far off the list you got.
#2. Let the internet and library be your friends
Both are excellent resources to find inspiration and meal ideas. Use these tools to create your meal plan. There are also lots of options for eating well on a budget.
#3. Unconventional options
Living in a big city we have a lot of options where we can purchase our food. Grocery stores offer convenience but not always the best items or prices.
Shopping at farmer’s markets, co-ops and food deliveries are a great option to get local produce. You will save money and help support local farmers. In the spring time, plant a backyard or balcony garden or join a community garden and grow your own veggies.
You don’t always have to buy organic. Check out the Environmental Working Group’s Shoppers Guide to Pesticides. This list gives you the Dirty Dozen (items which to buy organically) and the Clean 15 (items that are lowest in pesticides and do not necessarily need to be purchased organically)
Thought you could just buy candy in bulk? Wrong! By purchasing flours, beans, lentils, grains, spices, nuts and seeds you will save tons; packaging is expensive and a few cups of bulk dried chickpeas will take you a long way.
Think outside the box!
#4. Shop the perimeter
Have you ever heard the saying “shop the perimeter of the grocery store?” This means sticking to the outside ring of the store – produce, bakery, meats and dairy aka the basics.
The middle aisles of the grocery store are often filled with crap like chips, granola bars, sugary cereals, packaged soups etc. With careful planning you can make your own granola bars or soup that are much more nutrient dense and without the added junk.
#5. Re-evaluate where you are spending your $
You might not like this but…
In Toronto, the price of 1 vodka soda costs the same amount of 6 organic apples. One of these will nourish your body, provide you with nutrients and fibre while the other one will spike your blood sugar and leave you feeling not so hot the next morning. Having a drink or two is ok but it seems a bit silly to say you can’t afford to eat well and then knock back 6 beers.
It is possible to spend less and get more, all it takes is a bit of planning but it is possible. Healthy doesn’t have to mean lots of supplements or fancy foods, healthy can be simple and basic but still tasty and nourishing.
Do you think that eating healthy is expensive?