People have excuses for everything.
Maybe that’s just a part of the human condition. Right there with telling the occasional lie and being lazy when possible.
One of my biggest healthy living pet peeves I hear way to often typically involves someone carrying a McDonald’s bag and goes something like this. “I would love to eat healthy food, it just costs WAY too much!”
There are so many things wrong with this statement, I don’t often know where to begin. There is the fact that being obese simply costs more money than being healthy. And since diet plays a very significant role in determining how much one ways, it’s obviously worth it to do everything you can to eat as healthy as possible.
Then there is the price of the food. On the surface, you can make an argument that shopping in the grocery store for healthy food is more expensive, especially if you are looking to by organic produce. Wrong. Check out a great visual representation comparing healthy and unhealthy options with prices that are virtually identical from the fine folks at dailyspark.com. You can also check out some low cost, healthy options courtesy of The Shanty Town.
But the cheapest way to eat healthy is to grow your food yourself. Obviously, for some this is more feasible than for others. If you live in an urban area, apartment, or townhouse, you may not have any land available to grow fruits and vegetables.
There are, however, solutions to these situations.
Many herbs will grow in small pots in the house with no problem. And if you have fresh basil, thyme, and rosemary growing in your kitchen, I promise you’ll find ways to use them to add flavor to whatever you’re cooking. There are many vegetables that can grow in pots on your patio as well, such as lettuce, tomatoes, green beans, and even carrots, as long as the pot is big enough.
And if you have a small yard, you can certainly plant even more! Right now, I have a small garden area (approximately 8’x10′) and I’m growing broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots right now. As the spring gets closer, I’ll clear those out and put in some tomatoes and sweet peppers. This summer, it will get some sweet potatoes, before more tomatoes for the fall. Living in Florida I’m able to garden all year long, but no matter where you live you can get a bountiful crop, as long as you plant vegetables that thrive in your climate zone.
And ask anyone who likes tomatoes, there is nothing better than picking them off the vine and slicing them up for a snack.
Another option for healthy, fresh produce on a budget is the farmer’s market. Most town have them, and they are amazing. At a farmers market, you can talk with the people that actually grew the food, find out how they grow their produce (certified organic, organic without certification, etc.), and try many new foods that you may have never been exposed to before. Also, the prices are typically way cheaper than those in the grocery store, and you’re money goes straight to a local farmer. It’s a great system for everyone involved. Want to find a farmer’s market in your area? Check out www.localharvest.org.
If you are unable to grow some produce for yourself and you happen to live in a food desert, don’t despair. There is one other way to eat healthy food on a budget, but it takes a little discipline and effort on your part. But if you are consistent, you can save tons of money per month on food costs no matter where you get your food, as long as you do the cooking. That’s right folks, if you cook and prepare your own meals you can shop at Whole Foods and STILL save money over the cost of eating a majority of your meals at restaurants. So stop being afraid of the kitchen, and use it to save you some cash!
At the end of the day, there are so many ways to eat healthy food without going broke trying to do it. How do you feed your family healthy food while maintaining your budget? Let me know in the comments!