We all pretty much know that we should be eating organic produce, cutting down on dairy and meat consumption, and only buying as much food as we’re going to eat. But all of those things can be a lot easier said than done. Wikihow recently produced a nice checklist of ways to eat healthy and sustainably within a budget. Check out their list here, or below:
1. Prioritize Purchases
- Many organic farmers and distributors around the country offer community supported agriculture (CSA) boxes with local organic produce made to order with seasonal vegetables and consumer specified ingredients. These organizations provide delivery services and buying directly from the farmers and distributors can be much more cost effective.
- Eating healthy organic and natural foods can provide you with a lot of nourishment.
- The vitamins and minerals in healthy plant-based foods ultimately provide more nourishment in smaller portions, eliminating the desire for over consumption.
- Eliminate unnecessary purchases like clothing, shoes, snacks, excess gifts and other spontaneous purchases.
- Cut back on going out to eat or drink as often. Having discipline, and the ability to prioritize, can allow you to afford healthy food.
2. Set a Budget
- Make a spreadsheet with your necessary purchases and projected income for the week or month (KTV note: if a spreadsheet is a bit excessive for you, just jot it down on a piece of paper).
- This will allow you to prioritize and cut back on purchases that are unnecessary.
3. Purchase Produce from Farmers’ Markets
- Organic produce is often far less expensive when bought directly from the farmer.
- KTV note: you know you drive past that one in your neighborhood all the time. Stop and smell the produce one time, you’ll enjoy talking directly with the farmers and you may get some new ideas for foods and recipes to try.
4. Buy a CSA Produce Box
- KTV note: these are mostly only relevant if you have at least three people to feed, otherwise, if you’re just feeding yourself, you will be drowning in vegetables that will go bad before you can eat them. If you live near a lot of other single people, consider going in on one together.
5. Reduce Meat Consumption
- Meat can be expensive, especially if it is organic.
- Cutting back or eliminating meat from your diet can reduce potential health problems like high blood pressure and diabetes.
- In addition, it can save time in the preparation of meals.
6. Look for Bulk Grains
- Purchasing grains like brown rice, buckwheat, oats, millet rice and quinoa in bulk can save a lot of money.
- Even at expensive stores like Whole Foods, the bulk section will help one save. For example, bulk oatmeal can be as little as 15¢ per serving. Compare that with upwards of over a dollar per serving for packaged oatmeal.
- These healthy grains provide the necessary vitamins and minerals and, when paired with a beans or legumes, make a complete protein.
- Organic grains are readily available in bulk and are ideal for a healthy diet.
7. Stock up on Legumes
- Conventional and organic beans and legumes are readily available.
- Buying dry lentils and different types of beans can also save you some money, because they have not been canned and you don’t pay for the processing.
- The consumption of dry food often takes a little bit of extra preparation, such as soaking the beans, but it ultimately saves you money.
- KTV note: they last a long time in the refrigerator too!
8. Reduce dairy consumption
- Non-organic dairy products, including cheese and milk, are heavily processed and can cause many health problems including cardiac disease and obesity.
- Eliminating these products from your diet can also save you money.
9. Get Only What You Need
- Make meal plans for the week and purchase only the ingredients that are necessary.
- Making meal plans can keep you disciplined and minimize waste.
- Make a list and buy nothing else.
10. Purchase Store Brands
- Many large-chain grocery stores offer a line of natural food products that are healthy and organic for less money than popular big name brands.
11. Make Large Meals
- Make large pots of soup or rice and lentils with lots of healthy organic ingredients and freeze single portions to take for lunch.
- Eating healthy, nourishing food that is prepared from home eliminates the need to go out for lunch.
12. Cook with Whole Foods
- Cooking meals from scratch using whole foods can be time consuming, but ultimately less expensive than buying prepared food or frozen dinners.
- Although there are many organic and natural prepared meals available, you are paying extra money for the packaging and preparation of the food.
13. Eat Less
- We often eat too much and too quickly given our hectic lifestyles, but eating more slowly and eating smaller portions is better for your metabolism. It also takes 20 minutes for you to feel full, because that’s the amount of time it takes for the message to get from your stomach to your brain. Consuming less food and eating slowly will mean less groceries to buy after planning your meals, not to mention better health!
14. Dine with a Friend
- To avoid overeating, slow down by taking smaller bites and chewing longer. Dine with a friend and enjoy conversation while at the same time keeping track of your food. This will not only slow down your eating, but make eating a much more pleasurable experience.
*Photo from Wikimedia Commons