The Real Cost of Convenience Eating
One of the first things I tend to hear when people talk about wanting to become healthier is that living the lifestyle is “too expensive”
“I can’t afford the organic vegetables”
“Organic chicken is 5$ more a pound that’s ridiculous”
“I have a tight budget for groceries and this is just not enough food for a week”
Listen I get it. We all have a budget that we want to stick to and one of the last places we want to be spending extra money is at the grocery store. I mean why not just get that $4 fast food meal or order off of the dollar menu its less of a cost right?
What is deceiving about these low-priced fast food options is the fact that by the time you buy enough to fill you up you could have made an entire meal plus leftovers (never mind if you’re buying for you plus one or too, then these “cheap” meals really start to add up). Think about it this way, if you were to buy one of those meals for lunch and dinner everyday (and that’s saying just the meal fills you up) over the course of 5 days you will have spent $40. Well that doesn’t seem bad, does it?
Think about it…. $40 is just for 2 meals just for yourself, and that means that those small fast food meals must hold you over the entire day and night (and we wont even address the fact that there is no nutritional value in any of the options provided).
Now let’s think about this…. where can $40 take us at the grocery store? Well, if we know what to purchase that can easily take us through a week of meals for one.
The first key to keeping a tight grocery budget is to realize that we don’t need to eat organic to eat healthy.
Yes, you heard me right. While organic is a great option, you can certainly still prepare delicious, healthy meals with more affordable fresh ingredients. Now this isn’t to say that you absolutely shouldn’t buy organic, I’m just saying that if its not in your weekly budget there is no need to panic or get discouraged.
Another big tip is to buy fresh ingredients in bulk and freeze them. This is key with meats especially. Look in your grocery store ad and see what meats are on sale for the week. Stock up on larger packages and freeze them at home in the desired portion size. Although at the time you may spend a little more money, in the end you are getting a lot more bang for your buck and saving yourself some money in the upcoming weeks so really it all evens out. Since grocery stores cycle their sales try to only buy the meats that are on sale and have patience (chances are if chicken isn’t on sale this week it will be next week, so just buy your ground turkey for now and chicken can be on next week’s list).
My third possibly biggest tip is to AVOID all the “cheap” processed frozen and canned foods! I know that those canned meats are a dollar or those frozen meals are buy one get one free, but think about what you’re eating. There’s a reason certain frozen meals are a dollar or two, take a look at the back and see how much nutritional value they truly have. Also consider the same thing you did when you stopped eating those fast food meals…. are they really going to fill you up? If you eat two of those “cheap” frozen meals at a time the cost starts to add up and they don’t seem so cheap anymore. Or if you’re trying to live a healthier lifestyle but consuming all the sodium and preservatives in those meals are you really doing yourself any favors? If we are too busy to cook each night we can make our own “frozen” meals by simply cooking extra when we have the time and pre portioning them out into containers.
There are so many ways we can make our budgets stretch at the grocery store and keep a healthy lifestyle. Don’t be afraid to clip coupons or look online and see if any local store has any special deals going on. There are many websites to find coupons from manufacturers that can be used at any store, sometimes even doubles to make some items free! Give yourself a budget each week, buy in bulk, and make your own “frozen” meals.
You can 100% keep money in your wallet and still stick to healthy options.