Nothing is more frustrating than the high price of living a healthy lifestyle -- It's just expensive. I have always told myself that the benefits outweigh the cost any day and that I just need to suck it up and move on.
That was until I came across these brilliant tips from iVillage.com on how to cut the cost of healthy foods:
- Build flexibility into your diet. Healthy eating becomes more affordable when you bend your diet to fit what is on sale. Planning to buy pea pods only to find that fresh green beans are 50 percent off? It makes sense (and cents) to choose the beans and adjust the meal.
- Look for coupons, sales and clearance items. Always keep an eye out for coupons, sales or other specials that can help stretch your budget. Two-for-one offers result in big savings if you enjoy one of the items now and freeze (or store) the other for later. Some supermarkets also slash prices on fresh foods that are nearing the end of their shelf life. Bananas may go on sale as their skins begin to turn even though they are still ripe and delicious. Certain stores also offer discounts on food products for people with frequent shopper cards.
There are a lot more tips,
- Buy dried beans and peas. Dried beans and peas are just as nutritious as the fresh or canned varieties. While they take longer to prepare, you get a greater volume of chickpeas or kidney beans per dollar when buying the dried variety compared to canned or fresh. Beans and peas also help boost dietary fiber content.
- Compare the prices of different brands. Do you typically buy fresh mushrooms sold by Company A? Don’t be afraid to defect over to Company B if you discover a coupon or sale. Also, purchasing store-brand (or “generic”) products almost always will save you money over buying brand-name competitors. This often is true even when you have a coupon for the brand-name product.
- Buy in bulk. This usually can result in significant savings. However, it’s important to avoid being penny-wise and pound-foolish. Don’t buy a tub of yogurt if you won’t finish it before the spoilage date. Otherwise, you’ll just end up tossing half the tub – along with your savings – into the garbage.
- Buy fruits and vegetables in season. Fresh fruits and vegetables are one of life’s true joys, a product that actually goes down in price as the quality goes up. Produce that is in season is almost always tastier and cheaper at the peak of the harvest. So, try to buy apples between September and May, oranges from November to June and cucumbers from May to August. If an item is not in season, it is often cheaper to purchase frozen or canned versions of the food. Just keep in mind that canned fruits may be higher in sugar, just as canned vegetables often have high sodium content. If you buy canned products, look for those canned in water or with low-sugar or low-sodium alternatives.
- Cut back on meals in restaurants and purchasing convenience foods. We often fret over the cost of buying healthy foods, but think nothing of spending $5 each week on espresso and pastries at a favorite coffee shop. How many of us balk at the price of out-of-season tomatoes, only to drop $40 or more each month ordering take-out lunches? Cutting back on these costs can free up money to be spent on healthier alternatives. Skip the coffee shop and brew your own java. Or, make your own turkey sandwich for a fraction of what the deli charges.