By JJ Virgin, CNS, CHFI
You may feel that eating healthy is more expensive, but it can be done economically with careful planning and preparation. It is far cheaper in the long run to make the effort now and to take care of your health, rather than having to pay more medical bills and miss time from work and fun later.
- Bring a list and stick to it! Make a menu plan for the week and consult the store ads and coupon offers to see what is on sale that week so you can incorporate it into your plan.
- Don’t make the grocery store a restaurant — avoid this by never going shopping while hungry.
- Navigate the outer aisles of the store first and avoid the aisles that aren’t on your list.
- Never, ever, eat in the store or the car!
- Beware of the “sample ladies” — just say no!
- Skip the specials. It’s not a deal if it’s not on the list. Conversely, stock up on staples like chicken breast that can be frozen or stored in the pantry and won’t tempt you to overindulge.
- Buy real food and the least prepared foods to save money. Processed and packaged foods are much higher in cost and frequently lower in nutritional value than those that you prepare yourself. Buy bulk sizes of items that you use often and that have a longer shelf life. Here are some examples of ways you can save money:
- Buy whole broccoli stalks rather than pre-cut broccoli florets to save money and to preserve vitamin content.
- Marinate chicken breasts with your own healthy homemade marinades rather than buying pre-packed marinated chicken, which is more expensive and usually has added salt and sugar.
- Make your own healthy salad dressings with your favorite herbs, vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil. Steer clear of store bought dressings, which often contain added salt, sugar and damaged fats.
- Buy fresh vegetables or plain frozen vegetables rather than the vegetable medleys with sauces.
- Buy brown rice, whole grains and legumes in bulk bins or large sizes and store in sealed baggies.
- Buy the 36-count eggs.