The #1 thing I hear most in the nutrition profession is, "Eating healthy is too expensive." If you know me well, my common response would be along the lines of, "So how is that daily Starbucks run treatin' ya?" It is applicable 99% of time.
The truth is, yes, healthy eating can be more expensive. However, it is all based on how far you choose to take the term "healthy". Does it mean that everything has to be organic? No. Does it mean you have to start buying $15 jars of peanut butter and soaking your raw almonds? No. Healthy can look many different ways. For example, if I can get client to start eating a piece of fruit for a snack versus a candy bar, you better believe I could careless if that fruit is organic or not; we are making small, sustainable changes.
Here are a few tips to a budget friendly healthy lifestyle:
Don't feel like you need to buy all organic. IF you are choosing to do so, stick with buying organic in the dirty dozen. (list will be below)
Buy frozen veggies. It is ok and they will not go bad as fast. Make sure they are veggies only. No added ingredients, sauces, etc.
Stop buying into "healthy advertising". Those $7 "gluten free, sugar free, low fat" crackers are probably not much different than a Ritz cracker.
Buy bulk. Costco or Sam's people! Shall I say more?
Buy fruits and veggies that are in season.
Buy store brand. For example: Hy Vee frozen veggies versus Steamers brand
Stop being lazy and make it yourself! For example: Buy your own creamer that will last you many coffee cups worth versus ONE Starbucks drink that is as much as your creamer alone.
Keep it simple and add cheap flavor. Regular potatoes with REAL butter. Plain rice and make it Mexican style with salsa. Rolled oats and add flavor with cinnamon or nut butter.
With that being said, buy REAL stuff. Nix the "Can't Believe It's Not Butter" and go back to the basics.
Last but not least, eat proper portions. People get too excited about eating healthy food that they tend to over do it. Almonds are healthy, but grabbing a few handfuls a day adds up calorically and financially if you are replacing them.
Don't let expensive be associated with healthy. I encourage you to make one change at a time if that is more financially reasonable; slowly start to make the shift. Your whole pantry does not need to be replaced all at once if that is not feasible for you. Each step is one in the right direction! However, make yourself slightly uncomfortable by giving up unhealthy habits that are taking funds and replacing them with new healthy habits. Let's start with the daily Starbucks run ;)