Welcome to a new episode of The Diet of Common Sense Podcast!
The Diet of Common Sense is a common sense approach for active people to stay healthy, improve energy and mental power! It’s the nutrition of entrepreneurs, busy professionals and other active people who lack time, but value their health and well-being.
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In this podcast episode, we’ll talk about how to eat healthy on a budget. Or how to stay healthy, improve energy and mental power without ruining your bank account.
How much does healthy eating cost? Probably it depends how much you want to spend. You can find quality food with as little as 1$ per serving.
How much does disease cost? Well, that’s a different story.
For example, only heart diseases in the United States costs more than $321 billion each year—$193 billion in direct medical costs and $128 billion in lost productivity from early death. (1)
Can you eat healthy on a budget? Definitely, you can be very strategic with your food choices and eating healthy doesn’t have to cost a fortune. As mentioned, you can eat quality food with as little as 1$ per serving.
So you can actually save money, eat well, lose weight and stay healthy too!
Listen to the full podcast episode or keep reading the transcript below:
Here are a few ideas:
1. Don’t buy organic foods, or limit their consumption.
Organic foods are usually less processed, have fewer additives, and are more controlled – however they are not necessarily chemical free.
And not all organic foods are healthy – the term ‘organic’ refers only to the farming methods used to produce a food and has nothing to do with its calories, fat, salt or sugar content. Think organic chocolate and cakes – they have just as many calories as their non-organic counterparts, however they may be less processed and have better quality ingredients.
Also think animal products that are free of antibiotics and hormones. Animals raised in organic farms receive no antibiotics or growth hormones, are given food that has been grown organically, and are able to roam around outside.
„While organic foods have fewer synthetic pesticides and fertilizers and are free of hormones and antibiotics, they don’t appear to have a nutritional advantage over their conventional counterparts. “There’ve been a number of studies examining the macro- and micronutrient content, but whether organically or conventionally grown, the foods are really similar for vitamins, minerals, and carbohydrates” – according to an article from Harvard Medical School.(2)
Another perspective from the Mayo Clinic: „There is a growing body of evidence that shows some potential health benefits of organic foods when compared with conventionally grown foods. While these studies have shown differences in the food, there is limited information to draw conclusions about how these differences translate into overall health benefits.”(3)
Although organic products may be cleaner, with fewer additives, with overall reduced exposure to chemicals used in farming the question is: is it necesarry to pay more – up to 50%-100% more in some cases without some clear improved health benefits? Not really, if you are eating on a budget. Their non-organic conterparts may offer as many benefits, at a fraction of the cost.
2. Buy seasonal products –they are fresh, have more flavor, are loaded with nutrients and are less expensive. Often, they come from local farms, so you can also support the local communities. Most of them are under 1$ per serving and are actually safe and healthy.
Think about the taste of fresh strawberries, for example. Tasty, refreshing, full of flavor and sooo packed with antioxidants, they are probably the stars of the spring season.
You can serve them fresh and also freeze them to use them year round in your smoothies, shakes or why not, home made ice-cream.
On a personal note, this spring and summer I could not get enough of strawberries and cherries. I’ve eaten them for 3 months, several servings a day and I could eat them fresh year round.
3. You can also cut off expensive foods if you are on a budget – foods like caviar, quinoa, avocado, pomegranate, Manuka honey, different type of expensive cheese and chocolate, Asian muhrooms and other fancy products. View them as nice-to-have rather than must haves.
4. Smart shopping
Buy on sale and in larger quantities – you can buy at lower prices, but pay attention to the quantities. Ask yourself – do you really need so much of a certain ingredient? You may save money on food on one hand, but waste money if you end up throwing away food. So really pay attention to quantities to avoid wasting unnecesary money.
Plan your meals and make grocery lists. Plan your meals around foods that are on sale, or make grocery lists with seasonal products – think spinach, lettuce, radish, and others fresh products from your local market.
Do not go shopping when you’re hungry – yes, you need this if you want to avoid impulse buying or unexpected cravings for products you would not normally buy.
5. Cook at home and cook your food in bulk
Cooking at home is healthy and can be less expensive than eating out or ordering food.
You can choose one or 2 days during the week to prepare your bulk food – think sliced vegetables, pots of brown rice or quinoa, or cooked fish or chicken to add to your salads or side dishes.
Most cooked meals can stay safe in the fridge for 3-4 days. So you don’t need to cook everyday, and some meals can be quick and very easy to prepare.
Check my FREE Food Recipe E-Book for Busy People: 30 Recipes To Kick Start and Encourage Your Healthy Eating Habits for Life.
You can also take your cooked meals to work. For example I like the lunch boxes from Black and Blum, and I think they are ideal for taking your meals on the go:
• Leak-Proof Stainless-Steel Lunch Box: A sleek food container for a modern lifestyle. Perfect for breakfast, lunch, and everything in-between. The stainless-steel lid is designed with over-molded silicone to ensure a completely leak-proof seal.
• Vacuum Security: The vacuum valve on the lid provides extra security and leak-proof functionality. Lift the valve to open and push down to securely close. Truly a no-fuss, no mess, on-the-go lunch box.
• Oven + Freezer Safe: The container and lid are made of high-quality stainless-steel material and are completely safe for use in the freezer, and oven. Transport your lunch, cook dishes in your oven, and store pre-cooked meals in the freezer.
6. Eat less meat
Meat is expensive – so limiting your meat consumption can be both cost effective, and healthier, since increased animal protein appears to be a fertile ground for certain diseases.
This opens the door for many other protein options, including beans and lentils, eggs, green peas, quinoa, or nuts.
Vegetable proteins are a good alternative, some experts claim better, to animal proteins. So don’t hesitate to include vegetable protein in your meals, in virtually unlimited quantities.
As a conclusion:
Healthy doesn’t have to be expensive, or in other words you can eat healthy on a budget.
To sum up, here’s how:
1. Don’t buy organic foods, or limit their consumption.
2. Buy seasonal products –they are fresh, have more flavor, are loaded with nutrients and are less expensive.
3. Cut off expensive foods if you are on a budget – foods like caviar, quinoa, avocado, pomegranate, Manuka honey, different type of expensive cheese and chocolate.
4. Shop smart including buying on sale and in larger quantities, planning your meals and making grocery lists, and do not go shopping when you’re hungry.
5. Save time and money cooking at home and cooking your food in bulk.
6. Eat less meat – limiting your meat consumption can be both cost effective, and healthier.
You can also use budget tracking apps such as Mint, EveryDollar, Wally and other cost and budget tracking apps to have an overview of your spending.
Fill your belly and stay healthy without emptying your bank account!
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To your health and success,