Think you can’t afford to buy healthy food with your strict budget? Think again.
Years ago, when I mainly ate processed foods, I thought there was no way I could afford to buy healthy food. Shame on me – I don’t think I ever did a price analysis between processed and fresh foods. But it definitely was a perception for me. I wish I would have priced how much three pounds of Cheetos cost ($9.96) compared to three pounds of organic apples ($4.99).
Once I started eating healthier – and especially when I became a mom and was concerned about feeding my children healthy meals – I realized that healthy food could be in my grocery budget.
When I cut out all the processed food from our diet and grocery dollars, I had enough money to buy fresh produce, fresh meats, and dairy products.
To clarify, when I buy my family’s groceries, I don’t stick to strictly organic foods. I wish I could. But it’s just not in our budget. I want to nourish the bodies in my home as much as I can, organic or non-organic.
I do know that all fresh vegetables and fruits contain nutrients that benefit bodies. It’s refreshing to remember that organic foods are no more nutritious than conventionally grown foods.
(Before you stop reading this post and shun Accidentally Green forevermore, I prefer to buy organic foods when possible because they’re not genetically modified organisms. And they haven’t been treated with hazardous pesticides.)
I don’t buy many groceries at traditional grocery stores – in fact, I only go when it’s a last resort. I frequent discount grocery stores and find amazing deals – I am able to afford organic food (and a lot of it!) at my favorite scratch and dent store. (Can you see the prices in my photo? 99 cents for organic ketchup. $2.19 for a half gallon of organic milk.)
For fresh produce, I love a local produce store. Open year-round, it reminds me a lot of a farmers market, only with amazingly low prices. (I can buy three grocery bags filled with fresh produce for $10.) It may not be organic, but it is FRESH, nutritious, and oh so affordable.
But I’ve had to search for these favorite stores – they weren’t in my typical shopping routines. To get great bargains on healthy food, I strongly suggest shopping around and trying stores you might not normally try.
Don’t forget to check out bulk food stores, Asian markets, scratch and dent stores, and local farmers. If you do shop at grocery stores, check for marked down or discontinued items.
One of my favorite ways to access healthy food is to make it yourself.
This may mean growing your own veggies, fruits and herbs in a garden. (This is easier than you may think … and it is very affordable!)
Or, it may mean making food from scratch – whether it’s soaking beans, making bread, or simply making your own salad dressings and soups. (Trust me, dressings and soups are very easy to whip together.)
When you make your own food, you miss out on preservatives and artificial flavors and coloring – and that’s a very good thing. Plus, it’s typically incredibly cheap.
Above all else, don’t give up if you’re frustrated about rising food costs and still make healthy choices. There are options – it may take a while to search for them and try, but they’re out there.
How do YOU make your grocery dollars stretch? How do you afford healthy food?
Today I’m linking up with Wellness Wednesday.
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