Eat healthy for less.
So many of the conversations I have these days with people, are about the problems they are having affording food, especially healthy food! I must admit, the issues we are facing now – pandemics, supply chain issues, rising gas prices, inflation, a recession… it is a bit unnerving and nothing like we’ve experienced before in our lifetime.
While all of this stress and chaos may make us want to reach for cheaper, processed “comfort foods,” that is the worst thing we can do for ourselves and our families, I feel like we are all suddenly in a battle and need to keep our minds and bodies strong to come out of the other side of it unscathed. And this requires proper nutrition and healthy, whole foods.
But admittedly, those always cost more even in the best of times. The following are some ways you and your family can afford to eat healthier in these troubling economic times:
I know a lot of us to like to go out to eat. It is excellent to take a break from cooking, especially during the heat waves we have been experiencing this summer. But the money you spend eating out or ordering in is twice as much, if not more, than shopping and preparing your own food. Plus, you’ll be eating healthier because most restaurants use vegetable oils in their cooking, and you know you should stay FAR away from those!
Most of us are very busy and don’t plan the meals for the week. I know the foods Dave and I tend to like and have on hand, so I shop with those in mind, mainly fresh veggies and protein.
But when you take 20 – 30 minutes each week and really plan out what you are going to prepare, you’ll have less food waste and less money wasted.
Over the years, my appreciation for frozen fruits and veggies has grown. Sure, it’s nice to meander through the produce section and buy and eat fresh, but how often does your produce go bad before you’ve eaten all of it? When you buy frozen, you never have to worry about food going to waste. In addition, frozen produce tends to be cheaper than fresh. And as an added bonus, frozen fruits and veggies are preserved closer to the time of picking, so they often offer more nutrition!!
Fish is an excellent source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. But fresh seafood has always been expensive, and right now, it’s just simply not affordable for most people. But you can eat canned tuna and salmon and still get the nutrients at a much lower cost.
We’re halfway through the summer, so it is a bit late to plant a garden. But the cool thing is, you can get optimal nutrition from sprouting veggies instead of growing them and you can do it all year long. Read a recent post about broccoli sprouts to see how powerful sprouts can be for your health! My favorite are Sunflower greens. Dave grows these inside all year round.
You can also easily grow herbs on your kitchen windowsill all year long. And if you’re lucky enough to live in warmer climates, you can grow fruits and veggies throughout much of the year.
I plant a small kale and herb garden every year. It gives me great pleasure picking the plants right out of the garden and making a nutritious salad.
A friend of mine told me something she is doing to help her cut her grocery bill down by ordering groceries for curbside pickup. She’s one of those people that makes a list, but does not stick to it. She’ll go in for 6 items and come out with 12. Now those extra items she told me would have raised her bill by $20-$30 dollars in the past, and for her that was okay. But these days those extra items can raise her bill by $40-$70. And so she needed to find a way to defeat her impulsive shopping habits. Ordering what she needed online and picking those items up curbside is how she manages. If you’re also someone who has a habit of coming out of the grocery store with far more than you intended to buy, you may want to try this trick as well!
Some of my neighbors and I swap out our veggies and herbs. One neighbor belongs to a co-op and the extra veggies she has end up on my doorstep. Another neighbor sends over cucumbers and other veggies. I send them my extra kale, sprouts and herbs. We must take care of each other during these difficult times.
I know things are tough right now. There just seems to be no letup in the insanity, and more and more of us are starting to really struggle. You are not alone and we WILL get through this. But to do so, we’ve all got to stay strong and healthy with good nutrition and good thoughts. So consider following these tips! And, stay away from the news!
Love & blessings