Eating healthy is all the rage. As fads go, it is an especially beneficial one. From college kids to busy moms, people everywhere are thinking about health. It seems pretty straightforward in theory, yet obesity and diet issues are on the rise. So, what’s the problem?
Well, there is a widespread belief that it is too expensive to make healthy eating a lifestyle. Chain health food stores and boutique markets are partially to blame for this belief. Those heavily marketed, expensive diet programs are part of the problem. Whatever the source of the rumor is, it has got to stop. You can eat well just by using what is available in your regular supermarket. Here are a few ways to do just that.
Keep it Simple
You do not have to live off chia seeds and specialty grains to have a nutritious diet. Keeping your meals simple is a good way to get started. At each meal, about half of your plate should consist of fruits and vegetables. One quarter should consist of protein, and a quarter should consist of grains. Within these guidelines are endless delicious combinations of ingredients.
Make a Plan
Meal planning before you go grocery shopping is always a good idea. It is especially helpful if you are attempting a shift in your dietary priorities. If you have not previously spent a lot of time in the produce aisle, it is easy to become overwhelmed by what you are doing. You’ll end up buying too much of certain things, and curse your wastefulness when throwing away rotted food.
Instead, plan exactly how much of each type of food you will need, either by numbers or by pounds. This will make it easier to stick to your list. This will in turn help your budget. Planning ahead also allows you to take note of which fruits and veggies are in season and incorporate them into your meals. This will make your produce purchases even smarter.
While you are planning your meals each week, remember to hunt down coupons for any special items you want to buy. You can check your weekly circular ad, search the Internet, or even make use of coupons that are attached to other food items. It doesn’t take long to become a savvy coupon shopper.
Become a Member
If you are not yet a member at the grocery store that you frequent, becoming one is a great way to save money and eat well. Most grocery stores offer sales exclusively to their members. This can enable you to enjoy more variety in your menu. Some stores even use your shopping data to create personalized coupons. You might be able to enjoy discounts on your favorite items simply because you purchase them often.
In a typical American meal, a large portion of meat is the centerpiece, accompanied by smaller sides of bread and vegetables or fruit. However, buying enough meat to give each family member a large portion at each meal can greatly increase your grocery bill. Furthermore, it is better for you to eat more fruits and veggies in proportion to meats. With this in mind, try using meat as a supporting player rather than the all-star in at least some of your meals. For example, you could make a stir-fry using two parts vegetables for one part meat.
Community Supported Agriculture
Participating in a community supported agriculture program is a great way to get access to fresh produce at a good price. For either a seasonal flat fee or a weekly payment, CSA members can get a portion of whatever produce is yielded by their local farms. For example, you might get a bushel of produce once a week for a twenty-week season, for an average of $30 a week. At that reasonable price, you can support your local farming community while enjoying optimal flavors and being introduced to foods you might not normally try.
Healthy Budget, Healthy Body
As you can see, eating healthily is not nearly as big of an expense as it is often made out to be. You may need to tweak some of your habits or perspectives in order to make it happen, but it is completely doable. All it takes is a little planning to have a balanced diet that works with your budget.
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