How many times have you heard it’s too expensive to eat healthy? Perhaps you’ve said it yourself. Major manufacturers of processed foods and fast food companies would have you believe this. But the exact opposite is true.
When you eat simple whole foods, you are eating foods that nourish you. Your body is super-intelligent and knows when you have the nutrients you need. When you have those important nutrients, many of the hunger signals coming from your brain shut down for a while.
On the other hand, when you eat foods that are low in nutrients, those hunger signals remain active and will trigger cravings. Feeling a nagging hunger that comes from eating low nutrient foods and skipping meals is what drives your food bill up.
But somehow, the idea that eating well is too expensive has slipped into our consciousness.
We might look at an organic peach that costs $1.00 or a bunch of organic broccoli that costs $3.00 as super expensive, but then buy a latte and not think twice about it. Or we buy a frozen pizza and turn away from a piece of organic chicken.
There are many ways to make a steady diet of good food affordable. First, you need to have a combination of foods that give you the right kinds of carbohydrates, fats and protein.
These include whole grains like quinoa, brown rice and bulgur, to name a few, a wide variety of vegetables and fruit, nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, olive oil, eggs, wild fish and clean meats without antibiotics or added hormones. Clean water, tea, coffee and occasional wine are fine too.
These foods give you the nutrients you need to stay healthy and potentially enjoy lifelong wellness. If you have health challenges, changing to a diet of healthy foods is an enormously important medicine and will give you encouraging results very quickly.
I changed my own way of eating more than 20 years ago after years of consuming white flour processed foods. I lost weight, improved my lipids and healed chronic gum inflammation.
The best part was it ended my craving for highly processed low nutrient foods and the likelihood of developing Type II diabetes.
I have found that applying certain techniques helps tremendously in making good food affordable. The tips I follow include:
Eating Seasonally and Locally
When you eat seasonally you are likely to be eating foods that are grown locally. Local food is fresher and lower in cost because of its seasonal abundance and no overhead costs for shipping and transportation.
Buy extra when food is in season and freeze it for use when it is no longer available locally.
Keep a Garden
If you have some land, plant an organic vegetable garden. It’s quite remarkable how much food you can grow from a simple handful of seeds. It’s a great way to connect with nature and the origin of food.
Co-op gardens have both social and economic benefits. They also support local farmers and provide more care of the soil and air quality in your community.
If you live in Europe, you may find this book on urban gardens helpful. In the USA, refer to Local Harvest to find a garden or Farmers’ Market near you. Australia also has an active community garden program.
Plan Your Pantry and Refrigerator
Make an initial investment in your pantry and refrigerator staples. Choose organic spices, vinegars, olive oil and butter, whole grains, beans and legumes so you have some basics to work with. Then make a shopping list of what you need to buy weekly.
Save Dining/Take Out for Special Occasions
To help you see where your food money is going, keep track of all food/beverages you buy in restaurants/as takeout for one week.
If you eat out frequently, you may find that the money you spend could easily buy you a few weeks’ worth of high quality organic foods for you to have at home. Eat out only occasionally and the experience will be more enjoyable.
We’ve covered the myths about healthy food being too expensive. We’ve looked at techniques for accessing quality foods. We’ve strategized about saving money by eating at home instead of in restaurants.
Now you may be wondering what you need to have on that weekly shopping list that will keep things affordable. If you’re not sure what to buy, contact me and I will give you a list. Let me know if you live by yourself or if you have others in your household.
Either way, a list will help you to successfully buy a basket of food that is nourishing and affordable.
You can also check out the many recipes and menu ideas I have on my website.
Have you felt that buying or growing high quality food is too expensive? Or do you have a spending strategy that makes healthy eating work for you? Please join the conversation and share your experience.