“Waste not, want not.” This was a phrase my mom lived by and instilled in me as a child. Not only was I discouraged from being a wasteful person, but also to conserve our resources. In my adult years, I have become frugal and really enjoy finding second-hand items or a great sale. With the holiday season just around the corner, I know as parents, we are wanting to cut costs where we can.
“Eating healthy is too expensive!” I hear it all the time. Healthy eating can be expensive if you go overboard. I can’t disagree that the dollar menu at a fast food restaurant clearly costs less than my favorite plant-based café. However, when you think about wanting to feel well and look at health care costs, it makes more sense to spend a few more dollars on food now, rather than all at once on medical bills due to poor health.
“If you think the pursuit of health is expensive, try illness.” –unknown
I find ways to avoid processed foods, prepare plant-based meals, eat organic when possible, and do it on a budget.
Here are four tips I use weekly to help me save money while grocery shopping.
- Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 with The Environmental Working Group
By buying organic produce, we are avoiding synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, sewage, and GMOs. In my opinion, buying organic is always the best option, but I understand this is a huge jump for most. There is, however, a list of produce that you should buy organic –the Dirty Dozen- and a list of foods that are okay to buy non-organic – the Clean 15. The Dirty Dozen are foods that are exposed to the most pesticides and the Clean 15 are foods that are exposed to the least amount.
Dirty Dozen (should be organic)- apples, grapes, nectarines, strawberries, pears, cherries, tomatoes, bell peppers, leafy greens, cilantro, potatoes, and celery.
Clean 15 (can be conventionally grown)- sweet corn, avocados, pineapple, cabbage, onions, sweet peas, papayas, asparagus, mangoes, eggplant, honeydew, kiwi, cantaloupe, cauliflower, and grapefruit
- Shop Around
I go to Aldi and buy everything I can before going to HyVee, Fresh Thyme or Natural Grocers. I buy their organic grass-fed beef ($5-6/lb.), follow the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 list when it comes to produce, and enjoy their SimplyNature organic products. They have great organic corn chips, spices, beans, brown rice and quinoa pasta (gluten-free), quinoa, nut butters, almond milk, and hummus.
- Dine Out Less
On a good week, my husband, two daughters and I go out to eat one meal each week. We don’t eat perfectly every day, but we try to avoid dining out to save money, to be able to control the ingredients we put into our bodies and to maintain good health. This didn’t used to be the case. It has taken time, practice, discipline and a joy of making our own food to accomplish this. By simply eating out less, we make up for the expensive lifestyle I have adopted for our family.
- Meal Plan
When I started meal planning for a week, or even a month at a time, I was pleasantly surprised that this actually saved me money. We were occasionally throwing away a pound of meat or some moldy fruit or vegetable and buying extra food we really didn’t need. With a plan in mind each week, we reduce stress, reduce cost and improve the quality of food our family will eat!
I would love to teach you my four-step plan to get you and your family on the healthy eating track! A health history with me is FREE. We will discuss your health concerns, your goals and how I can help you meet your goals!
Mandala Integrative Medicine