One of the more common misconceptions about food is that eating cheap means eating unhealthy. In reality, choosing a diet generally comes down to picking two of the following three options: cheap, fast, and healthy. You can pick up something fast and healthy, but it won’t come cheap. You can cook food that is healthy and cheap, but it typically won’t come fast. Similarly, the foods that most people consume are unhealthy not because they are cheap, but because they are both cheap and easy. This list includes fast food, microwave dinners, and canned slop.
In other words, you can eat healthy and save money, as long as you are willing to put in the effort to do so. Here are 5 tips to keeping both your portions and your expenditures lean:
5. Cook at Home
Part of the cost that goes into eating out is the price of labor and gas. In essence, by sacrificing your time and effort, you are in effect hiring yourself to make the meal. However, the last thing you want to do is frame cooking in the context of a job. If you approach cooking as a skill to be learned, a feather in your cap, or a challenge to be conquered, you may come to view it as a hobby rather than a chore.
4. Buy Groceries in Bulk
Some of the cost of fast food is diminished due to the fact that suppliers buy in bulk. On average it costs less for a fast food chain to purchase a meat patty than it would at the supermarket. This creates the incentive not to cook by creating a more competitive price for fast food. You can help counter this by buying a good portion of your food in bulk as well, but with healthier items in mind. Canned beans and fish provide ample supplies of vitamin D, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids, and are both filling and inexpensive.
3. Buy Groceries in Season
Another way to reduce the cost of produce is to buy it in season. Seasonal vegetables also have better taste, providing that much more incentive to eat healthy. Typically, food sold at a farmers market is fresher and more delectable than the offerings at a chain produce store. Fruits, on the other hand, are typically more expensive at a farmers market. Despite being consumed as a snack, the cost of fruit is typically tantamount to a whole meal. Vegetables provide the same health benefits but are far easier to grow and thus cheaper to consume.
2. Eat Less Meat
Meat is expensive. A living animal is expensive to feed, shelter, then slaughter. Worse yet, the better the cut of meat, the higher the price, which means that most meat eaters pay a premium for meals that are basically substandard. On the other hand, vegetables are both extremely healthy and amazingly cheap. A bushel or package of the freshest, most delicious vegetables will typically cost only a few dollars and last for multiple meals. They normally take about 10 to 15 minutes to prepare and make for an excellent side dish. For protein, consider ingesting fish, eggs, and beans as opposed to red meat. It saves you money, cuts down on calories, and reduces global warming.
1. The Cost of Being Unhealthy
Ultimately the greatest cost that comes with eating unhealthy foods is the cost of healthcare. Poor diet is often attributable to financially crippling diseases such as heart disease, stroke and cancer. Processed meat products full of bonemeal can carry dangerous bacteria and nerve disease. When you consider the cost of fast food, you must not only contemplate the short term cost of the meal, but the residual cost that eating unhealthy food will have in the long term.
Article written by Claire Short of Debt Help. Claire writes about a wide range of finance related topics including IVA Help.