There’s a feeling that as soon as you start eating healthy foods, your shopping bill is going to go through the roof. That was my first thought when we started to transition to a whole food diet – "I can’t afford it". I do like a good budget, and back then, when we were on one wage, I loved nothing more than finding a good bargain and making a savings at the supermarket.
Not much has changed
Except now, I’m looking for a bargain AND reading my ingredients lists. It does take a little extra time at first (but so does being sick, right?), but once you know your products that contain less lab-created ingredients, you are on your way. But, this is also why I prefer to shop without children. Until they start handing out Valium at the entrance or provide an in-shop creche, I’m not taking the little darlings. I usually go in the weekend or at night when builder-hubby can take care of them, so I therefore have time to check my ingredients lists. However, I know this isn’t possible for everyone. That's when good old on-line shopping comes in.
But, first it takes a change of mindset (check out the money saving tips below)
Yes, eating healthy can be more expensive at times. But you need to weigh it up. If you are predominantly eating healthy, whole foods, chances are there are going to be money savings in other areas of your life.
You immunity will improve – so you’ll save money in doctors’ fees and sick days off work.
Your kids will get sick less – meaning paying for alternative childcare won’t be such an issue.
You’ll lose weight – meaning you’ll save money on clothing due to finally getting back into those jeans you’ve been holding onto since 1997. I’m sure boot-cut is coming back in any day now.
Your energy will increase – meaning you’re going to be more productive at work, or consider doing things you previously wouldn’t – things that may generate more money, like actually putting all that stuff on TradeMe, instead of letting it pile up in the back bedroom.
But most importantly, you’re saying YES to you and your family’s health – which is PRICELESS
Money saving tips
Bulk food shops. Bin Inn, Bulk Bins etc – these places are a great haven of foods to buy in bulk and can mean huge savings. Take your own jars and fill up on freshly created peanut butter too.
Co-ops – get on your local Facebook page or talk to other parents and find out if there is a vegie or wholefood’s co-op in your area you can join.
Get on-line. A lot of food bargains can also be found on line – think One Day Sale etc. Also there are many fruit and vegetable places on-line that offer some great deals, and not to mention convenience.
Grow your own – having your own vegie garden or fruit trees is priceless and way cheaper than the supermarkets. Plus, you naturally eat in season which is just what your body wants.
Swaps – does your neighbour, family or friends have a lemon tree and you have a mandarin tree? Look at finding other like minded people that you can make some swaps with. It could even be watching their kids, and they pay you in fruit and veg from their garden etc
Farmers markets – there can be some amazing savings at your local farmers markets. The food is fresh, usually being picked that morning, plus I love the fact your supporting the “little guy”.
Shop around – don’t just stick to the supermarket - fruit and vegie shops, health food shops and your local butcher quite often have some great deals.
Go country – next time you head out of town or the ‘burbs, make sure to stop at road side stalls for some great bargins.
Home kill – if you have a large freezer, look at buying ¼ or ½ a cow from someone else.
Buy in bulk and freeze foods including meats, breads, vegies. Check out this link for vegetable freezing guidelines.
Is it still okay? So often we’re throwing out food when it really could still be used, but in a slightly different way. Bruised or soft apples could be made into stewed apple. Limp spinach could be added to a smoothie. Over ripe tomatoes could be made into a pasta sauce. Use your imagination.
Meal plan – making sure you have a meal to match all the food’s in your fridge, freezer or pantry means the chances of you throwing it away or doubling up are going to be less likely
Think ahead – okay, that artichoke might be on sale, but are you really going to use it? Does anyone in the house even like artichoke?
Use what you’ve got – have a pantry clean out, and aim not to buy many new foods until you get down to the bear minimum. So many of us have food’s lurking at the back of the pantry, or hiding in the shelves of the fridge (hello sauces and pickles) that have been there for ages. Maybe it’s time to toss them out, or use them up. Don’t buy any new types of these items until you’ve had a good clear out.
Buy in bulk when items you use a lot are on sale.
With a little planning, imagination and forethought, eating healthy really doesn’t have to be expensive.