When I was a personal trainer, the most common excuse I heard for not eat well was “it is too expensive”. Eating healthy does not have to be an expensive ordeal. There are many tricks to eating healthy on a budget that many fitness professionals including myself follow. My husband had decided long ago that I would stay home once we had a child which means using our resources wisely. In this day and age, it is easy to give up the fight of try to eat healthily and settle for Ramen noodles and the dollar menu every day. Here are the guidelines we abide by to help us eat healthy on a budget.
How To Eat Healthy On A Budget
We started shopping at Aldi around two years ago and I am so thankful we did. They provide all of the main staples without having six different brands to choose from of the exact same thing. Aldi has their own brand lines to keep costs down. These brands are Live G-Free(gluten free), Simply Nature(organic), and New Any!(meats without antibiotics,hormones, nitrates, or fillers). I always look forward to their produce specials, for they are incredibly great deals. My favorites are carrots for 49¢ and a pineapple or cantaloupe for 99¢. Aldi has many unusual policies in place to assist in keeping the costs down such as having a quarter “held hostage” in the cart. You have to return the cart to the building and relock it to receive your quarterback. They also do not give you bags or bag your items. Shopping bags are available to purchase and bagging your own stuff is no big deal. My ONLY beef with Aldi is they have soy, cashew, and almond milk but not coconut. What gives?
Clean 15 & the Dirty Dozen
This tip is the cheat sheet of eating produce in spite of GMOs. Produce that has a thicker or inedible peel do not cling on to pesticides and other chemicals like produce with edible or thinner skins do allow some produce to be bought non-organically. Taking this route has really helped my family avoid costly produce while protecting ourselves.
Clean 15: Watermelon. Asparagus. Avocado. Peas. Cabbage. Cantaloupe. Corn. Citrus fruit. Sweet Potatoes. Kiwi. Pineapple. Onions. Mangos. Payaya. Cauliflower.
Dirty Dozen: Apples. Peppers. Cherries. Grapes. Lettuce. Peaches. Nectarines. Pears. Spinach. Berries. White Potatoes. Tomatoes
Carrots and bananas seem to flow from one list to the other depending on the source. We buy nonorganic bananas and carrots. The carrots are only bought in regular, unpeeled form. Doing this allows you to peel a thick layer away yourself giving you more protection from GMOs. Whether you buy organically or not, always soak your produce in 1 part white vinegar + 3 parts water mixture for 1 hour- longer if there are nonorganic apples in the mix.
Wait! Don’t keep scrolling! I don’t mean for good! We dialed back our meat intake to 2 or 3 suppers a week instead of every day. Beans, chickpeas, nuts, eggs, oats, peanut butter, cheese, and seeds provide excellent amounts of protein and cost MUCH less. Eggs and beans alone offer endless recipe ideas. Meat is one of those items I am a stickler about getting organic which adds up quickly. Luckily with combining Aldi and not eating meat as often, our meat budget is actually cheaper than if we shopped at a traditional grocery store.
There are ways to get rewarded for shopping even if the store does not offer a rewards program. I have fallen in love with using phone and tablet apps to do just that. These apps are divided into two categories 1) receipts points and 2) rebates. Receipt Pal and Receipt Hog give you points for gift cards by simply taking a picture of your receipts-seriously. Personally, I stopped using Receipt Hog because it’s point value was not worth my time to me. I can sing praises to Receipt Pal all day. We have received countless Amazon gift cards from them. Okay, rebates. These apps give you monetary value back for buying specific items. My favorites are Ibotta, Checkout 51, and CartWheel. Ibotta has options for many specific stores. Checkout 51 is for any store. CartWheel is Target only. All of these apps have produce options on there. By combining Checkout 51’s offer and Aldi’s sale, I got a bag of carrots for around a quarter. Yup, a quarter.
Kroger Credit Card
My husband and I are not big spenders and do not finance or “charge” items unless it is a real emergency. However, this credit card has a rewards program that we could not refuse. Here is the breakdown: 1 points for every dollar spent, 2 points for every dollar spent at Kroger, 3 points for every dollar spent on Kroger brand items. This is perfect for us. There is a Kroger right across the street for Aldi and we go there if Aldi doesn’t carry an item(coconut milk!). At the end of each quarter, you receive $5 to spend at Kroger for every 1,000 points you have accumulated. We struck gold this past week with our refund. We were able to get two containers of organic chicken breasts, 3 boxes of shelf stable coconut milk, 2 bags of Daiya cheese, and other items for FREE. our credit card is treated just like a debit card- we put the amounts in our budget, do not spend what we do not have, and pay off the card every month. No questions or exceptions.
Eating healthy is an essential part of a wholesome life and nothing should stand between you and that life. Don’t let the prices you see at fancy health food stores get you down or scare you off. Follow these simple tricks to eat the way your body needs without losing your mind.
How do you eating healthy afforable?
This was written by Emily from Purelydiligent.com. She is a married mom of one and on her blog, she blogs about everything from recipes to health and fitness.