Save Money While Shopping Healthy |

Save Money While Shopping Healthy

Maureen Lamerdin, O.M.D.

Who says healthy eating costs more? In fact more times than not you will actually save money choosing healthy, fresh foods along with taking steps to decrease your carbon footprint! What could be better than a healthier you and a healthier planet? Here are some tips to get you started….

1. Reduce convenience foods. Frozen processed dinners, microwaveable meals, and junk food…basically anything that is packaged with plastic or in a box and prepared for our convenience is not only more expensive but contains very little nutrition (despite what you read on the box…..remember never believe what they market to you on the box!) and in the end will make you and the earth feel that much more unhealthy.

2. Don’t shop out of boredom or when you’re hungry. Go with a list in hand and then get out! Shopping with a vague idea of what you’ll need will end up costing much more in the long run. Eat before you go otherwise you’ll want to buy all kinds of junk and end up spending more.

3. Drink water. Drinking products such as soda, coffee, alcohol and juices will not only tack on empty calories and a few extra inches around the waist but can affect everything from sleep problems to weak bones. Drink water, save money, be healthy!

4. Cook ahead and use convenient appliances. Many people state they don’t have time to cook healthy, guess what?…. modern technology, (besides the new I-phone) affords us the time to cook a fabulous meal in minutes! Pressure cookers, crock pots, bread makers and more can be used to either cook while you’re at work or cook in minutes. If cost is an issue, check your local thrift shop as these items show up regularly. Preparing foods over the weekend and then freezing them can give you breakfast, lunch and dinner for a while, so you’re not laboring in the kitchen after work.

5. Eat leftovers, instead of eating out. It is easy to get caught up in going to lunch with co-workers or being too exhausted to cook when you get home. Bring your healthy leftovers to work for lunch instead of going out to eat and cook other night’s leftovers for that evening. Note: you should only keep leftovers for 3-5 days in the refrigerator before freezing or throwing away or giving it to your dog….he’ll be happy!

6. Join a CSA (community supported agriculture) with a friend. Not only will you be eating foods in season, which will afford you much higher nutritional value, but you will be paying less for them and supporting your local farmer thereby decreasing the amount of oil burned to ship zucchini from 2000 miles away to your plate!

7. Don’t buy plastic wrap, tin foil, plastic sandwich/snack bags, etc. There are re-usable alternatives for all of these from Pyrex to cloth bags/wraps to the glass containers that you purchase your tomato sauce, nuts, pickles etc. in.

8. Buy in bulk when it makes sense. Switching to a simple, unprocessed food diet and buying in bulk saves you big bucks! Make sure you’re going to consume the amount you buy or share the cost with a friend.

9. Cut back on meat. Meat is expensive, whether you are looking to buy organic, pastured meats or buy the antibiotic and hormone laden meats that may increase your health care costs in the long run. Either way, newest research is showing that meat should be the smallest portion of food on your plate. It is less expensive and healthier to bulk up on more veggies, beans and healthy grains.

10. Pack your own snacks (especially for kids). Pre-made snacks are definitely convenient but can be a big waste of money. Grab your little re-useable containers and buy from the bulk section or cut up your own fruit, cook your own popcorn or pack some carrots, sugar snap peas and green beans….yum! Healthier and cheaper!

11. Maintain a healthy weight. Reduce your weight by reducing your serving size, and then maintain a healthy weight for your body type. You’ll feel better and spend less.

12. Be watchful at the register. Keep an eye on the scanner to make sure you received your sales price on particular foods.

13. Read labels. If you must buy foods that are packaged make sure you read the ingredient list not just the FDA label. If you don’t understand what one of the ingredients is or the list takes you more than thirty seconds to read it, don’t buy it!

14. Make cloth grocery bags. You’ll save a ton of plastic over time, and help the environment tremendously.

15. Garden and preserve. Obviously in our climate this is easier to do in the summer; however anyone can take advantage of growing herbs in the kitchen windowsill. Freeze, can or dry foods in the summer that can be eaten in the winter. If you have the ability to utilize a greenhouse use hydroponics or aquaponics your food will not only be healthier and fresher but you’ll be self-sustaining when it comes to food.

16. Look for free food. There are a lot of people out there trying to give away apples from their trees so they don’t go to waste.

Start now! Save big on your finances and your health and reduce your carbon footprint.