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.
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 🙂