Many people believe that eating healthy is expensive. Right now it is hard enough for people to cope with the failing economy, but risking personal health is not the answer. Unhealthy eating habits on top of the mental stress of the current state of our economy can make for a dangerous combination. Many people have either lost their jobs or are suffering from pay cuts and the cost of food is continually rising. However, staying healthy in a bad economy can be a reality.
I am a Vegan, and I will admit that some of the food I enjoy comes from health food stores and is not always cheap. My husband and I were shopping at the health food store one day and he told me, “You know if I lose my job your eating habits are going to change because then you cannot buy all of this fancy food”. My response to him was that some of the food I choose is a luxury, but if he lost his job his diet would change because some of the cheapest items are rice and beans. He agreed, and the conversation was over. I am not sure if he was more scared of losing his job at that point or the fact that he would be giving up his beloved meat if it did happen.
I know one lady that I work with that stops by the grocery store everyday to catch the items that have been marked down as ‘Manager’s Specials’. These are typically the items that have reached their ‘Sell By’ date, but if you are preparing these foods on the same day, then there is no issue. She states that this also keeps her from having a lot of food purchased and sitting in her refrigerator and/or pantry that may or may not get used. This works for her even though most people will tell you that going by the store everyday costs more money, but if you are not giving into impulse buys and are flexible with your menu selection based on what is on sale, then this could work for you as well.
More traditional methods of saving money include making a list, sticking to it, and clipping coupons. When it is time to go shopping make sure that you do not shop on an empty stomach as this is what makes you give into those impulse buys. Healthier selections are typically located on the perimeter of the store, while the pre-packaged and processed foods reside in the center aisles. Look for the sales on fruits and vegetables. One easy way to cut cost is to purchase the generic brands of items such as vegetables. Frozen vegetables typically have just as much nutritional value as fresh, and are much more affordable. As I mentioned before, rice and beans make an affordable nutritious meal. A bag of rice and a bag of dried beans can go a long way.
No matter which method you choose, just remember that eating healthy can be affordable. You may be giving up dining out and luxury pre-packaged food, but it can definitely be done.