I’ve often heard people complain that eating healthy is expensive and “not everyone has the money to shop at Whole Foods.” It’s true- there are quite a few things at Whole Foods that are pricey. I honestly have only been to a whole foods a few times- and literally only bought a juice from the juice bar and an over-priced salad from the salad bar.
Well “it’s too expensive” is not a good excuse my friends, as it is definitely possible to work on a limited budget and still eat healthy- it just involves a little planning and creating home-cooked meals (which is the basis of clean eating anyway!)
Below are some tips that help me keep my clean eating diet within my monthly budget.
1. Create a meal plan. This can be planned by the week or by the month. If you are feeling super organized, go ahead and create a 3-month plan. Honestly, I like to put together a one-month plan and repeat it for three months. I build in a bit of flexibility of course to accomodate for hubby’s special requests, sales and potential leftovers that extend the life of a meal. The reason a meal plan is so important is that you are able to purchase EXACTLY what you need in advance. When you have a plan, it also means random dinners out are minimized. Lastly, if a plan you can seek out deals on ingredients in advance.
2. Source ingredients online. Before adopting a healthier lifestyle I would not have thought to buy food online. Honestly, I save at least about 20% versus the organic section at my local Publix. Plus I have the added benefit of fewer visits to the grocery store, which always seem to result in a few unplanned purchases. My favorite online health foods store is Vitacost- it’s where I get my sauces, beans, beauty products and Nutiva coconut oil. They have an awesome huge variety, great prices, free shipping over $49, perfectly packaged shipments, TONS of great coupons/offers and offer 4% through Ebates. Yes- I’m a fan 😉
3. Be selective with organic fruits and vegetables. Yes- I just said that. You may have heard of a list called the “Dirty Dozen.” It is a list of the fruits and vegetables with the highest amount of contamination from pesticides and are best to get organic. Items on the list have thin skins where the pesticides can leach in. Items that require peeling are super low on the list, so buy conventional bananas, mangoes and pineapple.
4. Use cost-effective cuts of meat. Eating grass fed meat doesn’t need to be expensive. When I buy my meat through U.S. Wellness Meats, it is literally an extra couple of dollars to get grass fed meat versus the meat at my grocery store. And we aren’t hanging out eating filet mignon every night! Take advantage of the low-cost ground meats such as ground beef and ground turkey. I’m also a huge fan of flank steak and roasts- especially in the slow cooker.
5. Shop local for organic fruits and vegetables. One of the best online resources to find farmer’s markets and local co-ops is www.localharvest.org Another favorite of mine to find Upick farms is www.pickyourown.org.