Okay here's the deal... I chat with a lot of folks who seem a bit confused on how much $$$ it takes to eat a healthy, balanced diet.
I get it.
Those $12 green elixir juices are delicious. And I know "going organic" is mostly a great idea (even though buying foods that are ACTUALLY certified organic is pretty tough). And don't even get me started on how many MOOLAS I've dropped in the past on super foods, vitamins and supplements (thank you, Shakeology, for covering all my bases and saving me from that broke-ass path!!) So what gives?? The fact of the matter is that you don't have to buy trendy health food in order to be healthy. Say whaaaat?! Yup. I know. Take a deep breath. Below, I've outlined my TOP 11 ways to eat healthy on a budget.
After all, we're all on a budget (even if we bend the rules online shopping sometimes...), but we also care about our bodies because they're the only ones we've got! So let's get eating the good stuff, alright?!
1) Buy frozen fruit and vegetables.
This is honestly one of the best tips I can give you on saving money while buying quality produce. Frozen produce is picked at the best time - when it's ripest! Which, for you, means that it contains the highest amount of nutrients possible for the cheapest price. Double win!! Some of my favourite items to buy in le icy section include: spinach, mango, pineapple, berries, corn, green beans and sometimes the stir fry mixes!
2) Skip the "PACKAGED goods".
I know I don't need to tell you how sugar-laden and cheaply produced "boxed goods" like most* granola bars, cookies, crackers and chips are. But just in case you were wondering... there is an epidemic happening in North America called OBESITY and one of the MAIN contributing factors to this is the added sugar and crap in our packaged foods. If you want to save your money AND your waistline, skip the sugary cereals and opt for the healthier options! (fyi buying gluten free cookies is NOT a healthier option). Feel free to email me if this is something you struggle with!
3) Buy in bulk whenever possible.
If you think eating healthy means you can't still enjoy delicious treats like muffins, granola, etc. then you are in for a wild surprise. I will OFTEN make baked goods to keep on hand because
1) I love snacks and 2) I enjoy eating well. Feel free to check out any of my recipes for your own kitchen inspiration!
A few items you can buy in bulk to save yourself some $$ are: rice, pasta, nuts, shredded coconut, beans, flour, spices, seeds.
4) Choose "in season" fruits and vegetables.
This should go without saying, but if you want to save some hard earned cashola and still eat well, you're going to have to learn when certain fruits and veggies are in season. For example, I LOVE asparagus, and buy it often. But sometimes in the winter months, it is so outrageously priced, that I hold off and choose a different vegetable to accompany my meals! We're lucky here in North America, that we get to experience fruits and vegetables from around the world all year round. Go out of your comfort zone and try something different. Your taste buds may just love you for it!
5) Buy everything from one place.
This also kind of goes without saying, but when you drive to the grocery store, your vehicle uses fuel. And fuel costs money. (Kudos to you if you're a walker or transit-taker)
So it makes sense to find a store that can cover all of your basic needs without you having to drive all over town to acquire them. This will be different depending on what you eat, but for me, Superstore is my go-to. They have an awesome health foods aisle, their produce is good quality and they also carry home-goods and beauty essentials. Basically it's my 'one-stop-shop' to success. Plus, they have a points card, so I get to earn free groceries based on the things I buy most often. That is another bonus!
6) Drink Water!!!
But seriously though. If you don't follow any of the other tips I share with you today, please PLEASE follow this one.
Not only are most people WILDLY dehydrated, but we're constantly dehydrating our already water-craving bodies by drinking caffeinated beverages such as coffee, pop, energy drinks, etc.
ENOUGH WITH THE MADNESS.
You are going to save yourself a whole lotta money AND calories if you ditch the sugar liquid and start drinking water instead. Plus, you can pick up a Brita filter for around $8 and keep fresh, filtered water in your fridge all the time if you choose!
Or you can go rogue like me and drink it from the tap... *gasp* I know. I'm badass.
7) Make a list and stick to it.
One of the worst things I do to myself is grocery shop while hungry. It's always a bad idea. I know it's always a bad idea. And yet, sometimes, I find myself in this predicament.
Don't do this. You will overspend every time and it's usually not on awesome "health-conscious" items. Ya feel me? So, plan to succeed by making yourself a list. Even better if you can categorize it based on the layout of the grocery store. Put your produce items in one list, followed by your refrigerated, etc.
It'll make your life a whole lot easier AND you'll get your grocery shopping done in a more time-effective manner. Look at that, saving you money AND time. I'm basically a wizard.
8) Stop buying take out or fast food.
Seriously. Just stop it. Now. You KNOW it's not good for you. You KNOW it's a waste of money and you end up feeling greasy and sleazy afterwards. And you KNOW there are WAY better options if you really do need to grab lunch on the run (I'm talking fresh wraps, soups, veggies and hummus, etc.)
Ditch the XL Papa John's and save yourself some money and cholesterol. Your body and your bank account will thank you for it.
9) Pack your lunch the night before.
"But Marie, how can this possibly save me money?!" Trust me, my friend. When you leave the school/office/clinic/building for your lunch break and that tummy is a rumbling', you are WAY more likely to drop mad cash on "convenience" foods than you are to search out healthier options.
SO, save yourself the trouble and pack an awesome lunch the night before!
My pro tip? Make extra of whatever you're having for supper so you can have an "instal-lunch" as you're cleaning up the dishes the night before!
10) KISS: Keep It Super Simple.
Healthy eating doesn't have to be complicated. You don't need to make fancy smoothie bowls (although I do love me a summer time smoothie bowl), or spend hours in the kitchen in order to eat well. Here's an example of a healthy, balanced diet that doesn't overcomplicate things:
Breakfast: blended smoothie OR eggs with veggies OR oatmeal with nuts
Lunch: Greens salad with chicken, fish, tofu, beans OR whole grain wrap with vegetable soup. Bonus points if you add hummus or avocado!
Snack: apple and almond butter OR greek yogurt and berries OR Lara bar
Supper: Oven roasted salmon, sweet potatoes and asparagus OR Turkey burgers on a portobello mushroom bun with homemade caesar salad
Snack: Grapes OR Sliver of dark chocolate OR herbal tea and almonds
It doesn't have to be complicated!! Don't stress yourself out trying to follow every trend
11) Make your coffee/tea at home.
This is one of those sneaky, little bank account depleters: also known as "the latte factor".
Every time you spend $5 on a coffee, you're robbing yourself of the ability to spend money on things that you should be prioritizing in your life.
In fact, when I chat with potential clients and they tell me they don't have enough money, this is one of the very first things we often go over and they quickly realize that their "latte factor" is costing them more than a pretty penny monthly.
Am I saying never enjoy a $5 deliciously steaming treat? Of course not. But what I am saying is that if you don't have money to pay for apples, eggs and romaine, but the barista at Starbucks knows you as the "grande skinny vanilla latte girl", then we have an issue.
So there you have it. 11 of my TOP tips on how to eat healthy on a budget.
My main advice here is to stop trying to overcomplicate things. Eating healthy is simple: if it comes from the earth, eat it. If it comes from a box or bag, skip it. I hope these tips will help you on your next grocery shopping adventure.
And of course, if you need more help than an 11 tip list and want to work 1:1, shoot me an email. I'd love to chat. xo Marie