Changing your diet to one that includes more fresh fruits, vegetables and organic foods can be tough financially if you do not how to go about it correctly.
Here are some tips to save money while improving your health!
1. Join a CSA!
A CSA is community supported agriculture in which you can join with an affordable price to get fresh and local produce every week or every other depending on your needs. This is a great way to support local farmers, reduce your carbon footprint and try new foods you might have never eaten before. Here is one CSA in Austin, TX that you can look into going and see what it's all about.
2. Grow your own vegetables!
Do you eat tomatoes every week? What about herbs, do you enjoy them fresh in your food often? Even if you live in a small apartment you can still enjoy growing a few foods of your own. Here is a link with cool and easy ideas to grow foods in a small space, try it out!
3. Coupons, and sales!
Do not be intimidated by places like Whole Foods, Sprouts, Trader Joes or other grocery stores that have excellent produce and organic options. Do your research---check out which store has food staples you like the best for the quality and price. Often you will find that going to one store for produce is more affordable and going to another for dry and canned goods is better. Also most of these stores have competitive prices and offer in-store coupons. Grab a flyer or coupon book before you start shopping and see if any of the item are good enough deals and are foods you can use in meals or as snacks for the family. Keep an eye out, often snacks have coupons right on the front you can use right away for a better discount. The best day to go grocery shopping if always Wednesdays because this is when stores let you double up on what is on sale!
4. Freeze your foods!
Is organic spinach on sale for an amazing price but you don't need but one container? Grab another because you can freeze it and use it for smoothies or defrost it to use in lasagna later. Sometimes fresh produce is a better buy, but sometimes frozen foods are on sale. Check out your options and see if it is cheaper to get fresh strawberries and freeze them for smoothies or if frozen is more affordable. Do you often toss food because you didn't get to it quick enough before it turned? Quickly do a daily scan of what needs to be eaten before it goes bad and if you can cook it up right away. If you don't have the time or it isn't part of a planned meal than just wash it, dice it up and freeze it! This link is a great overview of what you can and cannot freeze.
Okay so let's say the budget is really tight this week and you've got to be savvy. Choose what foods MUST be organic or of a certain quality, and also forfeit what foods you really can do without for a while. If you don't need brownie mix or chips than just don't get it. Focus on getting foods you can make several meals out of. Choose organic meat over organic bananas. Things with their own covering means that if they are not organic it will do. Do not pay more for organic bananas, avocados or mangoes if you cannot afford it. This link will help you know which produce to avoid if it isn't organic.
6. Bulk foods and bin section
The bin section at health food stores is often the most affordable. Getting beans or other foods dried will save you money and allow you to make healthy foods from scratch. I often get my rice, beans, and nuts from bins. Just compare the prices and see what is a better deal. Here is a recipe on how to make beans from scratch.
Okay, so now go forth and buy healthy foods without the worry of breaking the bank! Keep in mind that food is medicine so buying good quality food is an investment in your health.
-In love and health,