16 ways to eat healthy while keeping it cheap
This is a guest post by Mehdi, author of StrongLifts.com. If you enjoy this post, check out his site.
Eating healthy is important.
- Lowers disease risks
- Increases productivity
- Gives you more energy
- Makes you stronger
You probably think eating healthy is expensive. I'll be honest — it is. But there are tricks to spare your savings account and keep it low cost. Here are sixteen ways to eat more healthy while keeping it cheap.
What is Healthy Food? Before we start, let's define healthy food. It consists of:
- Protein. The building blocks of muscles, needed for strength.
- Fat. A balanced intake of omega 3, 6 & 9.
- Veggies. All kinds, especially green fibrous veggies.
- Fruit. Full of vitamins.
- Water. 1 liter per 1000 calories you expend.
- Whole grain food. Oats, rice, pasta, breads, …
On with the tips.
1. Switch to Water. I drank huge amounts of soda daily for more than 15 years. Then I started Strength Training and switched to water:
- It's healthier
- It's cheaper
Quit the soda & drink water. Take a bottle wherever you go.
2. Consume Tap Water. Check the price of water on your tap water bill. Now check the price of bottled water. Quit a difference, isn't it? So why are you buying bottled water?
- Cleaner? Not necessarily.
- Better taste? No, simply a matter of Adaptation.
Bottled water companies get their supply from the same source you do: municipal water systems. It's like selling ice to Eskimos. If you don't trust the quality of tap water, filter it yourself. I use a Brita Pitcher. One $7 filter cleans 40 gallons water.
3. Eat Eggs. I always have eggs at breakfast:
- Full of vitamins
- High in proteins
- Low in price
Don't believe the Eggs & Cholesterol myth. Dietary cholesterol is not bound to blood cholesterol. Want to make it cheaper? Buy a chicken.
4. Eat Fatty Meats. Fatty meats are cheaper & more tasty than lean meats. You think it's not healthy? Check the Fat Myths:
- Fat doesn't make you fat, excess calories do
- You need a balanced intake of fats: omega 3, 6 & 9
I'm on the Anabolic Diet, I buy beef chuck instead of sirloin.
5. Get Whey. The cheapest source of protein. 70$ for a 10lbs bag lasting 4 months. Nothing beats that. Use whey in your Post Workout Shake to help recovery.
6. Tuna Cans. Canned tuna is cheap & contains as much protein as meat. Alternate tuna with eggs, meat & whey. You'll easily get to your daily amount of protein.
7. Buy Frozen Veggies. I mostly buy frozen veggies:
- Take less time to prepare
- You don't waste money if not eaten in time
- Can be bought in bulk for discounts & stored in your freezer
If you can afford fresh veggies, then do it. I go frozen.
8. Use a Multivitamin. Pesticides lower the vitamin levels of your fruits & veggies. Two solutions:
- Buy organic food. Expensive.
- Use a multivitamin. $10 a month.
Choose what fits your wallet best. I take the multivitamin.
9. Fish Oil. Omega-3 is found in fish oil. Benefits of omega-3 consumption include:
- Lowered cholesterol levels
- Decreased body fat
- Reduced inflammation
You need to eat fatty fish 3 times a week to get these benefits. Time consuming & expensive, I know. Try Carlson‘s Liquid Fish Oil with Lemon flavor. One teaspoon daily. You'll be ok.
10. Buy Generic Food. The box might be less attractive, it's certainly more attractive to your wallet. Brand-name food will always be more expensive. You're paying for the name. Get real. Food is food. Go generic.
11. Buy in Bulk. Think long-term. Buying in bulk is more expensive at the cashier, but cheaper in the long run:
- Gets you discounts
- Saves time
- Saves car fuel
Invest in a big freezer. Buy meats & veggies in bulk and freeze them.
12. Go to One Grocery Store. This grocery store is cheaper for meat, that grocery store is cheaper for veggies, the other grocery store is cheaper for fish… How many grocery stores are you going to, trying to find the cheapest food? Think!
- Time is money. Stop losing a day shopping.
- Cars don't run on water. Lower your fuel expenses.
I get all my food in a big grocery store near my place. It hasn't the cheapest price for all foods, but it saves me time & fuel.
13. Make a Plan. A classic, but worth repeating. Everything starts with a plan.
- Make a list of what you need
- Eat a solid meal, don't go hungry
- Go the grocery, get what's on your list & get out
No need to take your partner or kids with you. This is not a recreational activity. Just get your food & get back home.
14. Take Food To Work. Ever counted how much money you throw away buying food at work daily? Start preparing your food for the day on waking up:
- Get up earlier
- Eat a solid breakfast (like Scrambled Eggs)
- Prepare your food for work in the meanwhile
Total time 30 minutes. No stress during the day about what you'll be eating & you get healthy food while sparing money.
15. Eat Less. This one is obvious. The less you eat, the lower your grocery bill. If you're overweight, get on a diet. Your health & bank account will thank you.
16. Don't Buy Junk Food. The last one. Stop buying anything that comes out of a box, it's:
If you actually find junk food that is cheaper than whole food, think long-term. Health implications.
Mehdi is author of StrongLifts.com , a blog about Strength Training, nutrition, lifestyle & attitude. His articles include the Anabolic Diet & the Beginner Strength Training Program. Join him at StrongLifts.com for the fascinating journey toward more strength, bigger muscles, low body fat & a better health.