While many of us are well aware that eating healthy is the right thing to do, the price tag (or our perception of the price tag) is the number one reason why we simply do not. Convenience and comfort run the show when it comes to our diets and our overall health is suffering y’all. Well RADicals, here’s the good news: you can have a healthy diet without going broke. I know just how to do so and am excited to share these RAD tips with you.
Dine In More & Dine Out Less
The number one way to save more money when it comes to your healthy diet is to dine in more and dine out less. This will take more prepping and planning than you may be used to (see below), however the cash you stash and the pounds you’ll drop both make this in house dining experience totally worth it. For instance the average salad in New York city costs close to $13. Why not spend that same amount of dough at the grocery store and make your own salads for close to a week? Need help? Read this.
Change Things Up With The Seasons
When the seasons change so should your menu. Eating produce is cheaper when you eat in season, so next time you find yourself bored with yet another night of steamed broccoli, peruse the produce aisle for a healthy swap. This will not only expand your palate but your pocket book will appreciate the change of pace too. In love with certain fruits and veggies year round? Well before you drop all your cash for cherries check out the frozen section. Frozen produce is just as healthy as fresh produce, and when out of season, much cheaper.
Grow Your Own Grub
Another way to stay in control of your diet is to grow your own grub. Our first lady has shown us that gardening is RAD so if you are up for the challenge make gardening your new hobby. The pride coupled with the money you’ll save makes this tip worth exploring. However if you’re a city girl like me, and the only land you see is a few miles away, then start small and grow some of your favorite herbs indoors.
When it comes to healthy goodness, the closer to home it is the better it is for you (if you ask me). By buying from local farms or farmer’s markets you not only get better quality food but you’re supporting your community in a super RAD way. But here’s the twist – local food costs a bit more. Here’s another twist – when you buy a lot many farmers give you free stuff. See there, healthy karma does exist.
Here’s The Deal, Plan Your Meal
Unless you’re interested in blowing money fast at the supermarket then do yourself a solid and quickly make a plan. Planning your meals is an easy and excellent way to save money because when you head down aisle 10 with a mission you are less likely to toss other unnecessary items in your basket.
Meat Free Equals Debt Free
Animal protein is usually the priciest item on your plate, so if you’re really in a bind and want to save some money go meat free a couple nights a week. Veggies like mushrooms and eggplant have a natural meaty texture and therefore serve as great substitutes in burgers, stews and sauces.
Feed The Village
Even if you live alone or have a small family, buying in bulk can be a major moolah saver – especially when promos are running. Foods like pasta, rice and oats are easy to stockpile, so if they’re on sale, buy as much as you can afford and store to last you until the next sale. And while we’re on this note of “more is better,” when you do cook, cook in large amounts. Eat what you can and then freeze and store the rest for later. Leftovers make great lunches or can be eaten for dinner again on busy weeknights.
It’s Ok To Be Fake
If you’re amazed by named brands boo then I encourage you to be a bit more fake from time to time. By buying generic and store brands instead of big-name brands you’ll instantly save money. In fact sometimes the fake stuff tastes better – this is certainly the case for my staple snack of microwave popcorn.
Cut Coupons Like Crazy
If you’ve watched television or opened a magazine in the last year then you already know that the coupon craze is everything right now when it comes to saving your coins. I’m always amazed when I watch a segment on my favorite talk show and a stay at home mom boasts “I just bought $200 worth of groceries for 49 cents!?” Think you don’t have time to cut coupons? Well according to the Red Plum Purse String Study (2012), you can save up to $30 each week by using coupons. Hello!? That is $1,600 per year.
Be A Preserving Princess
Another factor that can really help cut down your food bill is adopting the ability to preserve foods for later use. I mean canning actually used to be a huge part of the at home cooking process. So I say you get yourself a set of mason jars and bring back this healthy trend by making your own tomato sauces, jams, condiments, pickles and so much more. Money saving fun coming right up!