Shopping for food that doesn’t contain more than your daily allotment of calories on the side of the box can seem to be frustrating. After all, at the specialty stores it’s not unusual to see lettuce going for five dollars a head, which can make that five dollar “ready” pizza which is big enough to feed a family of four seem a lot more appealing when it comes to the amount of time needed to prepare healthier food.
However, this doesn’t have to be the case. Healthy food can be had at a reasonable price, provided that the shopper is able to go at the process with a sense of rationality and knowledge of what he or she is looking for. With this in mind, we present a list of tips in order to help the shopper who wants to eat healthily on a budget.
Buy produce that’s in season. Learn what grows when in your area and purchase accordingly. Obviously, if it’s the dead of winter and the grounds are frozen there’s not going to be much to buy that’s made locally, but if you’re shopping in the summer it’s cheaper to get what’s available. Buy oranges in the winter and get your watermelon in July. If you want cantaloupe in December, chances are it’s either come from far away or was grown in an artificial environment, both of which are expensive to maintain and will show up as such on your grocery receipt.
Get back to basics. It’s easy to give in to the temptation of buying that Vietnamese-grown kale at the supermarket. While there is something to be said for getting adventuresome with your foods, it doesn’t help your wallet much. This isn’t to say that you can’t enjoy the occasional fun piece of produce you encounter at the supermarket, but your bill will be lower if you stick to carrots, apples, potatoes, and corn. Basically, if it’s produced locally, it’ll be cheaper.
Avoid diet products. Diet products are not necessarily good for you, and they’re often heinously expensive. Besides, if you’re looking to become healthy on a permanent basis, you’re looking at making a lifestyle change, not just going on a diet. Stick with regular foods and work on your portions, instead.
Simpler is cheaper and healthier. Instead of buying instant oatmeal in packets, go for the larger cardboard container of oatmeal. It’s cheaper and better for you.
Shopping list, shopping list, shopping list. Before going out, make one of these. And then stick to it. Nothing drains a wallet faster and widens a waistline more than impromptu purchases. A shopping list will keep you from splurging.
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