Transitioning to a healthy lifestyle can feel socioeconomically prohibitive but it doesn’t always have to be. Below is a collection of tips and tricks to keep you eating healthy while helping you stay within your budget.
GET A WHOLESALE MEMBERSHIP
If you have an extra $50-$60 consider purchasing a year-long wholesale membership. These places typically have lower prices/ounce than regular grocery stores:
COSTCO: They usually have fantastic deals on organic produce, high-quality meat, and lots of pantry staples. I love getting my coconut oil, olive oil, coconut aminos, collagen, and organic meat + produce there. ($55 MEMBERSHIP)
THRIVE: Thrive Market is an online wholesale store for health food. It’s perfect for purchasing pantry staple items and high-quality meat. The best part (at least for me) is that you don’t even have to leave your house. The prices are very similar to Costco but they have a wider variety. ($59.95 MEMBERSHIP, plus 25% off your first order by using this link)
Thrive Market also provides free memberships to families in need. You can look into their program if you are low income and apply here.
DON’T PURCHASE EVERYTHING ORGANIC
If you are in a financial bind it is not necessary to purchase 100% organic vegetables. Check out the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists. These are compiled based on which non-organic vegetables are the most toxic and which are the least toxic each year. Do your best to avoid purchasing the Dirty Dozen non-organic. Also know that if you cannot afford to purchase organic, pasture-raised/grass-fed food, you can still eat healthy.
COOK AT HOME
There’s a restaurant I love to go to because they have grass-fed burgers (more nutrient dense) and duck fat fries (instead of common inflammatory oils that are used to fry food at restaurants). That being said, the burger is around $13 and the duck fat fries are $7. I share the fries with my husband and our total ends up being around $38 with tip. For that amount of money I could get 2 lbs of grass-fed beef at whole foods ($5.99/lb), six organic sweet potatoes ($1.69/lb), a whole jar of duck fat ($7.99), plus some organic lettuce and I would STILL be under the total it costs for my husband and I to go out. Plus, the amount of food purchased at the store could easily last the two of us for four + meals.
STOCK UP ON SALE ITEMS
When you are at the grocery store and see a good deal on meat or produce, buy extra and stock your freezer. I am constantly doing this with meat and frozen veggies.
START A GARDEN
This is by far the most cost-efficient way to have organic, fresh vegetables. We grow more expensive items in our garden like spaghetti squash, butternut squash, tomatoes, blueberries, and herbs, as well as some other fun things like zucchini, cucumbers, and cauliflower.
BUY IN BULK
Foods are oftentimes cheaper in bulk than they are when you purchase them in pre-packaged bags. Some cities have bulk stores or you can shop the bulk section of Whole Foods and Sprouts.
DON’T PURCHASE SPECIALTY FOODS
Things like Paleo Puffs, jerky, pre-made bone broth, dehydrated fruit, and sweet potato chips are all great convenience foods but they also cost more at the grocery store than fresh food. Consider making your own versions at home for way less!
BUY FROZEN VEGGIES
Frozen veggies are a great way to get healthy food at a lower cost. Trader Joe’s has a good selection. Just make sure the only ingredient is the vegetable (we don’t want additional, potentially inflammatory preservatives!).
PURCHASE CANNED GOODS
Purchasing chicken and fish canned is typically cheaper than fresh and it has a longer shelf life. These are great to stock up on when they go on sale! It’s best to make sure the fish is wild caught, the chicken is free-range or pasture raised, and the can is BPA free (BPA mimics hormones in your body and can cause endocrine issues).
Most people are a little grossed out at the idea of eating the organs of animals but it’s an incredibly affordable way to get high-quality, nutrient-dense protein into your diet. Try fried chicken liver or pate to start!
SHOP MULTIPLE GROCERY STORES
This can get a little time consuming but check the Sunday paper for coupons and sale flyers for grocery stores and shop multiple places in order to get the best deals. Many stores also have apps you can download where you get exclusive deals. I use apps for King Soopers (or Kroger) and Whole Foods.
Blog Author: Whitney Shook
Whitney is a holistic Nutritional Therapy Consultant who helps women with autoimmune disease health through diet and lifestyle changes.