One of the common misconceptions about eating clean is that it’s too expensive. Last year I laid out a cost comparison in regards to buying healthy foods versus buying junk food in which I compared a clean dinner versus buying candy bars. Although buying clean foods while on a budget can seem overwhelming, here are a few tips that might help.
- Buy local. I cannot stress enough how much cheaper it is to buy locally grown fruits and veggies versus buying from the supermarket. If you go to a farmer’s market, try going later in the day when vendors are eager to get rid of their produce and typically drop their prices (that’s been my experience). Find local farms to buy from. An awesome website that lists farms across the country is LocalHarvest.org. You can search by state or zip code to find the farm nearest you and what they sell. By buying locally grown foods, you will not only be eating fresher, healthier foods, but you will also be supporting your local community.
- Grow your own. Even if you don’t have the resources to have your own garden, you can still grow your own fruits and veggies with container gardening. There is the initial cost in the beginning to buy supplies, but you will save money in the long run.
- Cook from scratch. Yes, cooking from scratch takes time and planning, but it’s cheaper and healthier than buying prepackaged meals. When you buy prepackaged foods, you’re only paying for convenience; however, if you want to save money, your time will be well spent planning and making your own meals. (Plus, have you looked at the ingredients list of those prepackaged meals? They’re typically loaded with salt, sugar, and calories!)
- Buy frozen or canned fruits and veggies. If you live in an area where produce is not available from local growers year round (such as where I live), and you don’t can your own foods, at some point you will have to purchase healthy foods from the supermarket. A 2007 study found that frozen and canned fruits and vegetables provide the same amount of nutrients that fresh fruits and veggies do. Use coupons as often as you can, and you may need to compare costs between stores to find the best buys.