Making sure you and your family are eating the right foods is an essential part of working towards good health. Too much fat and sugar in the diet can cause many different health problems, as well as the difficulty you will have maintaining a healthy body weight. We also need to get in all of the nutrients that are essential to good health.
Then there are meats filled with hormones, produce sprayed with pesticides…and that doesn’t even count our different dietary needs due to illness, or other reasons.
With all of this, plus the simple cost of foods, eating healthy isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Sometimes we just don’t have the time to make the healthy meals our family needs, and so we end up eating frozen pizzas or something from the closest burger joint. And for those of us who make it a priority to eat balanced meals, cost is often an issue. Organic meats and produce aren’t cheap, and health food restaurants can be pricey too, especially with a family.
While it might sound almost impossible, there actually are ways we can eat healthy without putting a hole in our pocketbooks. Here are some tips:
* Start growing your own fruits and vegetables. Most climates make it fairly easy to start growing a variety of edible plants. All you’ll need is some seeds, some very inexpensive equipment which can often be purchased at your local dollar store, and a place to grow your plants. A pack of seeds that costs less than a dollar can easily provide you with enough food to last quite some time.
* Learn how to can or freeze fruits and veggies for winter. Chances are you’ll have at least some left over from your growing season, and this will allow you to save them for a few months down the road. Older family members can teach you the techniques you need to know, or you can find information online or at the library.
* Buy local foods as often as possible. Farmer’s markets offer a variety of fresh foods which are locally grown, and you will find the prices are almost always lower than organic foods from other sources, such as the grocery store. Farmers who only sell locally are less likely to have their stock certified as organic, but you can ask them what they use in regards to things such as pesticides and hormone treatments.
* Buy your staples (such as flour and rice) in bulk. Most of the time, the larger the package or container, the best deal you will get on your purchase. If you’re not sure, you can easily figure it out by dividing the price by the number of ounces for each package. Then you simply buy the one with the lowest price per ounce.
* Stock up on meats when they’re on sale. You can store them in the freezer for anywhere from several months to a year, depending on the type of meat. They will be less prone to freezer burn if you wrap them in aluminum foil or freezer wrap in addition to the packaging they are sold in. You can even purchase small kitchen appliances now which enable you to vacuum seal your meat before freezing it, if you decide to buy it in bulk.
* Eat out as little as possible. Most restaurants have few or no truly healthy options on their menus, and the ones that do are rarely the least expensive choices on the menu. Preparing your own meals, even those you prepare in advance and freeze, give you more control over what you’re eating and saves you more money than you think.
Eating healthy doesn’t have to cost a fortune. You or your spouse doesn’t need to take on a 2nd job to pay for healthy eating. By growing some of our own food, buying local and watching for sales, we can eat well without going broke. Who can argue with that idea?