Shopping for healthy food can often seem like a lost cause, and, if a lost cause is defined as something that everyone and everything opposes, it may very well be. Nonetheless, there’s no cause that ever succeeded that wasn’t a “lost cause” at some point. Healthy economical eating is possible, providing you are willing to look beyond the usual options and maybe make a few diet changes.
Eliminate Processed Foods
In order to eat healthy and shop economically it will be necessary for you to eliminate processed foods from your grocery list. Why is this necessary? As a general rule, the further you are removed from the source of any product you buy, the more you will have to pay. For instance, if you buy a loaf of bread, the main ingredient you are receiving is wheat. Before this wheat can reach you, however, it is first sold to refiners, who sell it to the bread company, who sell it to a retailer, who sells it to you. Every time the wheat product is exchanged, the price goes up. Look at the price of your average whole-wheat loaf of bread. It will probably cost anywhere from $2.50-$4.50 a pound. The price of whole-wheat flour, however, is only about $0.60 a pound. This means that you are paying 4 to 8 times as much for the same basic nutrients.
The first step, then, is to eliminate the middle-man. This cannot be done without effort, but it will not take long for you to become well-adapted to the task of processing your own food.
The Basics: Brown Rice, Beans, Oats, Potatoes, Whole-Wheat Flour, and Fresh Vegetables
If you base your healthy diet on several inexpensive products, you have already significantly reduced your expenditures. Brown rice, beans, potatoes, and oats can be purchased for about $1-1.50 a pound. Whole-wheat flour goes for about $0.60 a pound. These items are highly nutritious and will provide you with a strong source of calories, protein, and fiber. They can be used as the basis for any meal. For one person, you can probably purchase enough rice, beans, oats, and flour to feed you for a week at the price of $12. On top of these basic items, you should use the rest of your budget to purchase as many fresh vegetables as possible, emphasizing green varieties, such as romaine lettuce, spinach, green peppers, cucumbers, and green beans. You may also require a few spare funds for coffee, tea, salt, oil, and spices. Everything together will cost you somewhere between $25 and $40.
Once you have made these changes in your shopping habits, you will have to learn how to process these products in a way that is both time-efficient and delicious. This will take time, but it is well-worth the effort. By self-processing foods, you can eat healthy without having to break the bank every time you go to the grocery store. You will also find that you save money on health, dental, and medical expenses because your health will improve. With time, you will find it to be a healthy, economical, and delicious habit.