BY DR. ROOPA CHARI, M.D.
With the economic situation in the world, it’s important to find ways of eating healthy on a budget. It is possible to purchase foods that are good for you and your budget, you just have to plan ahead to get the best food.
Here are some tips to help you succeed in eating healthy on a budget:
- Set aside time to plan your meals. Plan your meals for the coming week ahead of time. This will help you decide what specific foods you really need to buy.
- Make a list. After you’ve planned your meals, write down everything you need for each meal. Check your pantry, freezer, and refrigerator to see if you already have some of the items. Make your grocery list and determine to stick with it!
- Include what you’ll need for drinks and snacks (and occasional dessert:)
- Remember your ingredients for preparation, such as oils and spices.
- Clip coupons for items you know you’ll use for safe, eco-friendly soaps, etc. Leave the remainder of the coupons at home so you’re not tempted to “save” money on items you don’t need.
- Never go grocery shopping on an empty stomach because you’re more likely to buy items that are tempting rather than those on your list.
- If you can’t go to the store right after a meal, take along a light snack (especially when shopping after work) to help you resist temptation.
- Buy items on the outer aisles of the store first because they contain fresh, healthy food such as fruits, vegetables, organic meats, and organic dairy items. The center aisles are usually canned, processed and convenience foods which are more expensive and are not as healthy.
- Look for fruits and vegetables that are in season as these will often be cheaper than non-seasonal choices. While you’re looking at the fruits and vegetables, ideally purchase organic, healthy, nutrient rich foods.
- Choose large bags rather than individual pieces of fruit. The larger bags are often cheaper by the pound.
Other Ways to Eat Healthy on a Budget
- Make your own snacks for your family’s time away from home rather than allowing them to purchase food from vending machines. Fresh vegetable sticks with hummus dip are much healthier than the bags of chips, cookies or crackers that come from the machines.
- Eat at home. Whenever possible, make your food from scratch and eat it at home. This will give you more control over what your family eats and can also save you a considerable amount of money.
- Eating out also encourages overeating (especially at buffets)
- Drink healthy. Don’t forget to think about what you’re drinking. Sugar-filled drinks are expensive and not good for your health.
- Drink more water.
- Look for 100% pure juices (but even minimize drinking fruit juices).
- Cut out soft drinks (especially “diet” drinks).
Even though organic vegetables & fruits and organic, humanely raised meat & dairy may be more expensive, it is definitely better for your health. You may have to spend some extra time preparing food but the health benefits are incredible and well worth the effort! If you follow these tips, you’ll soon discover the joys of healthy eating and you’ll save money.
About Dr. Roopa Chari, M.D.: "Dr. Roopa Chari is a medical doctor in Internal Medicine and her brother Deepak Chari is an Engineer and Certified Biofeedback Specialist at The Chari Center of Health, an advanced integrative medical center in Encinitas, CA. * Sign up for a FREE 15 minute holistic medical consult with Dr. Chari and/or a FREE 30 minute Stress & Anxiety Relief session with Advanced Voice Biofeedback with Deepak Chari here or call (760) 230-2711."