Does clean eating seem like a really expensive and overpriced option to you? Avoiding clean eating because you just don’t think you can afford it?
I was the same way at first. That is, until I learned how to eat clean on a budget! Below, I’ll share with you the 5 tricks and tips I’ve used to do just that.
- Shop in bulk. Start in the bulk section of your local health food store. Bulk foods are cheaper than the packaged versions, and you get really clean and healthy foods. Think beans (easy to cook and cheaper than buying cans), whole grains such as barley, millet, quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wa), and whole grain flours. Avoid anything boxed or canned. While this is pretty much a general rule of clean eating, many clean items still come in a can or box. Remember, you pay for the packaging!
- Selective organics. You don’t have to purchase all organic produce to get the benefits of eating organics. Save your money for the organic options of the “dirty dozen”. Those foods which contain the highest amounts of pesticides.
- Get familiar. I shop at three different stores because I know where I can get better prices on different foods and supplies. That said, you have to factor in the carbon foot print and cost of driving from store to store. For me, these stores are relatively close together. If I had to drive further to get to each one, it would outweigh the benefits of going to a cheaper store.
- Clip those coupons. While few people want to take the time to clip and organize coupons, it can definitely add up in the savings department. Typically, you won’t find a lot of sales on bulk items or fresh produce. But often, stores will put out coupons for a certain amount off of your entire order, as opposed to the manufacturer offering a discount on one specific item. Keep your eyes open for these deals. I know Whole Foods occasionally offers discounts on anything in their bulk section. This is the time to stock up, especially on items you buy regularly. Here’s a fabulous video on how to get serious about clipping coupons and stay organized in the process. Donna Maria is an expert on this subject and she shares her methods for potentially saving thousands of dollars with coupons!
- Cook from scratch. I know, I know. You don’t have time to cook every day. But with a little planning, you can work in home cooked meals every day of the week. Plan to cook and freeze portions of large recipes on the weekend. Bake your own bread. With the right recipe, it’ll be cheaper than that 99 cent loaf at the SaveMart. And it’s easy! Here’s a recipe for Healthy Bread In 5 Minutes A Day, and here’s another quick and affordable recipe for Irish Soda Bread.
- Buy the whole bird. Buy a whole, organic chicken. Yes, it seems pricey at first. (I paid almost $14 for a medium-sized, organic chicken at Trader Joe’s). But here’s the thing.There are so many ways to extend the “life” of that chicken. The meat can be frozen or used in soups, sandwiches or on its own.Plus, once you’ve removed the meat, you can boil the bones to make the best chicken stock ever. You just can’t beat a home-made chicken stock. So you can start to see where you can actually save money by buying a whole bird.
This is by no means a definitive list. If you know of any ways to save on eating clean, please share them in a comment below. We’re all on a budget these days. Let’s help each other out and save some money, while still maintaining our health!
From the Gracious Pantry