SolveYourProblem Article Series: Health Living & Weight Loss
Live Healthy. Eat Healthy. Be Healthy.

     

How To Eat Healthy on a Tight Budget

Eating the right foods is essential to good health. Too much fat and sugar in the diet can cause a laundry list of health problems, not to mention that it makes it difficult to maintain a healthy weight. We also need to get in all of the nutrients that are essential to good health. And we must watch out for meats that contain antibiotics and hormones and produce that contains pesticides or has been genetically modified.

Unfortunately, eating healthy isn't always as easy as it sounds. Sometimes we just don't have the time to make or seek out healthy meals and end up eating convenience foods or something from the closest burger joint. And for those of us who make it a priority to eat balanced meals, cost is often prohibitive. Organic meats and produce aren't cheap, and health food restaurants can be pricey, too.

As impossible as it may sound, we can eat healthy without putting a big dent in the budget. Here are some tips:

  • Grow your own fruits and vegetables. Most climates are conducive to growing a variety of edible plants. All you'll need is some seeds, some very inexpensive equipment, and a place to grow your plants. A pack of seeds that costs less than a dollar can yield enough food to last quite a while.
  • Can or freeze some fruits and veggies for winter. Chances are you'll have some left over from the growing season, so save them for a few months down the road. Older family members can teach you the techniques you need to know, or you can find information online or at the library.
  • Buy local as much as possible. Farmer's markets offer fresh food that is locally grown, and the prices are almost always lower than organic foods from other sources. Farmers who only sell locally are less likely to have their offerings certified as organic, but you can ask them about their use of such things as pesticides, antibiotics and hormone treatments face-to-face.
  • Buy staples such as flour and rice in bulk. In most cases, the bigger the package, the better the deal. If you're not sure, divide the price by the number of ounces for each package and buy the one with the lowest price per ounce.
  • Stock up on meats when they're on sale. You can store them in the freezer for several months to a year depending on the type of meat. They will be less prone to freezer burn if you wrap them in aluminum foil or freezer wrap in addition to the packaging they are sold in.
  • Eat out as little as possible. Most restaurants have few or no truly healthy options on their menus, and the ones that do are rarely cheap. Preparing your own meals most of the time gives you more control over what you're eating and saves you money.

Eating healthy doesn't have to cost a fortune. By growing some of our own food, buying local and watching for sales, we can eat well without going broke.

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