Eating Healthy: Dollars and Sense

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One of the biggest complaints associated with following a healthy diet is that people don’t have the money to afford healthy food or that they do not have the resources available to obtain those items of nutritional value. Newsflash: you do not need to have a Trader Joes or Whole Foods at your fingertips to maintain a healthy lifestyle on a budget. The truth of the matter is, it is much less expensive to eat healthier than not. Here are my top tips for fueling your body properly while saving money at the grocery store. 

1. Don’t go shopping when you are hungry. Okay, you may have heard this before, but MAN is it true. When you are hungry, there is no worse place to be than in the land that has every last sweet and savory item you can think of. People who go to the grocery store hungry end up raising their grocery bills exponentially because they stroll through the aisles searching for items they came for, but end up buying the things they crave the most when they walk by them. You really think you have the will power to stay away from the snacks and cookies aisle? Yeah, didn’t think so.

2. Buy in bulk. This rule can also be applied to items that aren’t of food nature. Items that are packaged individually, or in smaller servings, are much more expensive to buy because of the extra packaging required for those items. If there is something you know you eat a lot of, buy a larger quantity of that item rather than single servings. This will also allow for more time to pass before needing to run to the grocery store again, thus avoiding more temptation and staying on track.

3. Think natural, not processed. The rumor is that unhealthy foods and snacks are cheaper than healthy food. However, this could not be farther from the truth. The pricing comes from the processing of natural foods from their original state. Again, you do not have to be in a Whole Foods or Trader Joes to get whole, natural foods. You just need to look for them. 

4. Look down. One thing the general public does not know is that companies have the ability to choose where their items are placed on the shelves in stores. Usually the bigger name brands with more money and a bigger franchise can afford to have their products placed right at eye level on the shelves, so those looking to buy things out of convenience will have their product right in front of the consumers eyes. This increases the chances of their products being bought first, rather than taking the chance of having the consumer buying something else. Not only do those companies have more money, but as with anything else, name brand items are much more expensive than others. So naturally, the products conveniently placed before your eyes are much more expensive than the ones around it. Oftentimes, the lower-priced items are lower on the shelves. Don’t believe me? Keep your eyes down the next time you go to the store and compare the prices yourself. Just don’t run into any other shoppers doing the same thing you are. 

While there certainly are more tricks of the trade when trying to follow a healthy diet on a budget, here are some of my tips for success. Hopefully they provide the same positive results for you as they have for me.