Many people believe that it costs too much money to eat healthy – especially if you’re following a gluten-free, organic and GMO-free diet. This argument drives me crazy, as I believe the opposite to be true. In fact, I believe the costs of eating poorly outweigh the costs of eating healthy by a mile!
If you feel like eating organic, non-GMO, and ethically-raised foods are just too expensive for you, make sure you’re considering ALL the true costs of what unhealthy foods can cost you in terms of your health.
Here are 7 ways to eat healthy on a budget – and how it can actually save you money in the long-run!
(1) Spend $$ on Health, Not Illness: Think about your last urgent care or emergency room visit. Chances are you spent hundreds or thousands of dollars to help you get better! You might also be spending hundreds of dollars on shots and prescriptions each month, not to mention missing work due to illness and doctor visits. Healthy people rarely visit doctors and take medications. They prevent disease by eating healthy foods and taking key supplements. In fact, healthy people spend their hard earned money on maintaining good health, not on treating illness through medications.
(2) Get Rid of Unnecessary Supplements: You can get most of the nutrients and vitamins you need if you consume a largely plant-based, whole foods diet. Most people only need a few outside supplements to maintain good health – supplements like Vitamin D and Vitamin B that you can’t get from foods, and a quality fish oil supplement to add to a diet already rich in Omega 3s (which keeps inflammation at bay). Ditch the rest and save money.
(3) Cook More: Stop spending money eating out and start cooking at home more. When you cook at home, you choose the ingredients and control the costs. Plus, when you cook at home, you feed more people for less. I can host a dinner party for 8-10 people for less money than going out to eat with my husband on a Saturday night. Also remember that most restaurants have razor thin food margins, which leads them to choose cheap ingredients over good for you ingredients.
(4) Know the Dirty Dozen (Plus) List: Some produce is more prone to pesticide and chemical residue than others, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG). When possible, buy the following produce organic because it contains the most pesticides: Apples, peaches, nectarines, strawberries, grapes, celery, spinach, sweet bell peppers, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, snap peas (imported), and potatoes – plus hot peppers and kale/collard greens. This means you don’t have to buy everything organic if you’re watching your budget. Also, consult the Clean 15 list to identify the most “clean” produce, or produce safe to eat non-organic.
(5) Buy Frozen: Produce can quickly spoil, so a good way to make sure your produce lasts is to buy it frozen (and organic). I always keep organic frozen peas, carrots, spinach and broccoli on hand, as well as mangoes, pineapple, blueberries and cherries in the freezer. There’s no rush for me to use them, allowing me to keep the costs of spoilage in check.
(6) Get Perspective: We mindlessly buy electronics, new shoes, and go out to eat for $50 per person, but then we complain that an organic apple is $.40 more at the grocery store. We all need a little perspective when it comes to buying good for you foods, right?!? Get your priorities in order and you won’t feel like spending more at the grocery store is putting your budget over the top. In fact, shopping for quality food is my first priority, and anything extra can be spent on those new shoes.
(7) Shop Online: There are great deals to be had online when shopping for gluten-free, organic and non-GMO products. I personally enjoy shopping at the Thrive Market (affiliate link) – it’s a huge marketplace of gluten-free goods available at a discount (like Costco, you pay a membership fee and then you’re in for the year!). I also shop a lot on Amazon (search for “gluten-free” in Grocery & Gourmet Foods section – affiliate link) because it’s convenient and easy too!
Remember, health is wealth. You should live by the mantra that putting healthy ingredients in your body is more important than buying a new pair of shoes or paying for urgent care visits time and time again. If you eat only healthy foods that come from healthy farms, then you will truly be the wealthiest person on the block!
Here’s a good rule of thumb: Care more about taking care of your farmer than your pharmacist. Cheers to good health at all costs!
Want learn more about ways you can save money on a gluten-free diet? Download my FREE Guide to Eating Gluten-Free on a Budget. I share even more money saving tips with you!
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.