Many people assume that to eat healthy requires breaking the bank, but does this actually have to be the case? Sure, buying organic produce and grass fed meats and dairy can become pricey, but there are ways to avoid spending a pretty penny. If you are hoping to improve your diet, but worried that buying the most nourishing foods will set you back financially, check out these 5 steps to healthy cooking. Not only will you become more in touch with the healthier cook in you, you’ll also save money while doing it!
Meal planning is essential.
The best way to save money is to plan the week’s meals out beforehand. Not only will this allow you to only purchase what you need for the days ahead, but it will eliminate an enormous amount of waste. Foods are less likely to go bad if you know exactly what is in your fridge and when you are planning to use it. Also always make sure you have kitchen staples on hand, like cooking oils and canned veggies, and things you can snack on like fresh fruit or trail mix.
Spend time in the kitchen chopping and dicing.
Pretty much every grocery store has a refrigerated area in the produce section designated for precut fruits and veggies. Try to avoid purchasing any of these, because they are often significantly more expensive than the uncut version. So instead of buying diced onions, purchase a whole onion. Sure, you might spend a few extra minutes in the kitchen dicing, chopping, and mincing – but it is significantly cheaper to purchase the whole food, and also adds to the overall cooking experience.
Organic is not always necessary.
When people think “healthy”, the word organic often comes to mind. But purchasing organic foods is not always more beneficial to your health. Just remember the “Clean 15, Dirty Dozen” rule. There are generally 12 or so produce items that should be bought organic due to high pesticide use. These are typically those items where you eat the outer skin, like apples and leafy greens. There are 15 common ones that are considered clean, so no need to purchase organic. These are food items where the outer layer is peeled away, like oranges or avocados.
Do you really need all of those animal products?
The most expensive part of our grocery bill is usually organic meat and dairy products, so consider cutting back on these. If you limit – or cut out all together – the amount of animal products you eat each week, you’ll leave the grocery store feeling a little less overwhelmed by the money you just spent. And it also turns out eating less animal products can be beneficial to your overall health.
Purchase seasonal foods.
The easiest way to save money on organic and conventional produce is to buy what’s in season. Not only is seasonal food cheaper, it’s also richer and more delicious than foods that are grown out of season. For example, strawberries bought in January will be three times more expensive and three times less juicy and delicious than strawberries purchased in April.