Balancing Health and Budget
Whether you’ve chosen to undergo surgery or participate in a medically supervised diet, whether you’ve just started or you’ve hit your weight loss goal, we all know it’s a lifetime commitment to living a healthier lifestyle. When adopting new habits, one of the most challenging aspects can be diet. We’ve all heard it…”eating healthy is expensive”. But does it have to be? How can you eat healthy on a budget? Just google that question and the responses are infinite. Let’s take a look at some basic, yet critical, rules to balance budget with diet.
Plan your week. We’ve all heard the saying fail to plan, plan to fail, right? Looking at your upcoming week before shopping can save you time, money and effort. You’ll know which nights you need to throw something together fast and which nights you can prep your meals ahead of time. Aren’t you much less likely to be going to a drive thru if you know all your stuff is chopped up and ready to be cooked when you get home?
Buy in bulk. Cook two = Eat one + Freeze one. It’s really that simple! Not to mention, by taking advantage of sales, you can buy things to use now and later. Use some for this week’s meal and throw the rest in the freezer. Produce, meats and seafood, and grains all store well in the freezer and you get a better price with the more you buy. Throw in a coupon or two and you may end up with a month’s supply of a pantry mainstay for next to nothing.
Shop in season and in the sales ad. When you’re planning a weeks’ worth of meals, base them around what’s on sale and what’s in season to save yourself some extra cash. Organic foods are cheapest when they’re in season, too. Asparagus, grapefruit, parsnips and artichokes are all in season this month.
Skip convenience. Did you know that pre-sliced broccoli florets cost almost twice as much as a head of broccoli? Knowing that you’re a busy person, supermarkets happily do the prep work for you but it comes at premium. This is when a dear, dear friend can come in to help. Your crockpot. Try cooking a whole chicken buy throwing it in a crockpot with some seasoning and stock and let it cook while you’re at work. You’ll easily get two to three meals worth of meat and it cost about the same as 4 measly chicken breasts.
Compare your brands. Did you know that food manufacturers shell out major bucks to have their products in the “bull’s eye” zone? These are the second and third shelves from the top and they have the highest profit margins. Look down by a shelf or two and you’ll save yourself some money without compromising your health. Store brands are usually comparable to the market leader in quality and are usually made by the same manufacturers. But always make sure to read your nutrition labels as a safeguard!
Reinvent your leftovers. You wouldn’t toss your hard earned cash down the drain, so why would you toss your food from the night before? Use part or all of your previous nights’ meal for lunch or as a side dish for tonight’s meal.