Healthy Doesn’t Have to Hurt… The Pockets

18 Feb

So the great recession has subsided but the unemployment rate in the United States is still holding steady at 7.3%. This means that over 20 million people in this country are still unemployed… T.W.E.N.T.Y million people! This got me to thinking about all the things I take for granted, like the ability to even eat healthy. Some 20+/- million people don’t even have that option because lets face it; healthier options are generally more expensive than the non-healthy alternative. For example McDonald’s quarter pounder with cheese meal (includes fries and large drink) cost a mere $5.49 and if you’re feeling fancy, you can opt for a deluxe quarter pounder meal for a whopping $5.79. Now considering that The American Heart Association recommends limiting sodium intake to less than 2,000 milligrams (mg) per day, and the deluxe quarter pounder alone (not including the fries and 2-3 other meals per day that you still have to eat), has 1280mg of sodium by itself, now what? Paging Dr. Oz!

On the flip side of the equation, the only thing $6.00 is going to get you in a typical grocery store is 1 pineapple ($4.99) and some mushrooms ($1.99)…Yum! And there’s still that little thing called tax, ok so forget about the mushrooms 😦 . So now what’s a normal non-culinary chef trained person who can make something spectacular out of pineapple and mushroom to do?


That got me to thinking about how to eat healthier on a budget. There are several ways that I know to do this and this week I wanted to share some alternatives that have worked for me:

1.) Trader Joe’s is your friend: This isn’t to say that there aren’t a ton of other grocery store options but I’m particularly a fan of this chain because:

  • They offer an array of antibiotic-free meat and poultry
  • Their products are sourced from Non-GMO ingredients
  • TJ’s buys direct from suppliers whenever possible; this results in direct savings passed onto the customer. Most grocers charge their suppliers fees for putting an item on the shelf. This results in higher prices for the customer, so TJ’s decided not to even bother with that.
  • Last but not least, my favorite: TJ’s has its own snazzy iPhone app #winning

2.) Buy frozen: Frozen fruits and veggies often are half the price of fresh, in some cases have an infinite shelf life when kept in freezer, and you can buy in bulk to get more of a discount.

  • Also because time is money, buying frozen is great because the produce is usually pre-washed and pre-cut, which saves preparation time.

3.) Buy generic: I like Kellogg’s frosted flakes as much as the next person and I know you get what you pay for but in the spirit of eating to live instead of living to eat, raw foods like rice, pasta, eggs, milk, etc. most times taste just like branded foods once you get used to them, and buying store brand will save you money on packaging and advertising.

4.) Go Local: Try a local farmers market, pick your own farm, farm sharing service or food co-operative

5.) Choose wisely: Many stores have websites that allow you to see what’s in stock and on sale. Take advantage of the Internet to find what’s on sale/special this week. Also other websites like the Food Network offers a myriad of suggestions (i.e. Healthy Foods Under $3) pertaining to buying healthier food alternatives.

I’m sure there are other guaranteed ways to eat healthy on a tight budget. If you’re reading this, do you have any healthy eating on a budget tips that you use? if so please let us know…after all sharing is caring 🙂


Posted by on February 18, 2014 in Food, Marist IMC


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3 responses to “Healthy Doesn’t Have to Hurt… The Pockets

  1. Bridget Beechinor

    February 19, 2014 at 1:19 PM

    Hi NeKesha,

    Another great tip I use is to plan ahead. If you go to the grocery store to stock up without knowing what is still in the pantry at home then you can double up on things you don’t actually need and risk the chance of something going bad and throwing money away. I also find it is important to plan meals ahead. I do this so that I don’t aimlessly go through the grocery store picking up chicken and pasta without any idea what to make it into (I mean, will I need cheese, breadcrumbs or olive oil to make that into something tasty)? I plan out at least 5 meals a week and then list all the ingredients needed so I am only getting what I need and not paying for more I just pick up on a whim. This has helped me not only save money but a lot of time and frustration when thinking about what to make for dinner!

  2. Hunter (@HunterTweeting)

    February 20, 2014 at 7:01 AM

    Buying in bulk at wholesale clubs, like BJ’s and Costco can help single people and families save on groceries. For a nominal annual membership fee (circa $50), you get deals on groceries, household goods and other personal items that would cost you much more elsewhere. A lot of people say its a waste of money for single people to buy in bulk, but the key is to purchase items that you consume mostly and are long-lasting, like granola bars, boxed cereal, frozen fish and poultry, vegetables, water, etc. You can find healthy food choices at these clubs as well (similarly to some of the items I mentioned).

  3. amsujansky

    February 21, 2014 at 3:04 AM

    Some good points about eating healthy. I don’t think eating healthy (or as healthy as possible without growing your own) is as difficult as it seems. Wise choices as you have pointed out is a step in the right direction. I think it is mostly a matter of convenience that we stop at “Miki D’s” for the Big Mac. How inconvenient is cooking a healthy meal? Not too hard – if you own a crock pot or search for menu’s that can be prepared in 30 minutes or less.


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