One of the biggest objections I get when it comes to eating healthy is people fearing that they just can't afford it. Eating healthy in and of itself is not expensive. Buying food and then letting it go to waste is very expensive. I have included a few tips below that will help you create a plan and realistic goals so that you don't fall into this trap.
Create a Plan - Take a few minutes and look at your week. What do you have going on with work? Will you be chauffeuring around your kids? Do you have dinner planned with friends? Based on this decide what you are going to eat this week and make a grocery list. Now, I really want you to be realistic with this list. If you know you are going to have a 10 hour day at work maybe you can plan to eat out that night. Or plan to make twice as much dinner the evening before. What I want to avoid is the idea of extravagant dinners each night or bringing your lunch everyday if it's not realistic. When you set unrealistic goals you tend to throw the entire plan out the window at the first hiccup. I would much rather you say, "I'm going to bring lunch 3 times this week" and achieve it than say "I'm never eating out again" and fail the first week. Who knows, maybe after a month you can work up to 4!
Stick to the Perimeter of the Store - Pretty much everything you need can be found on the perimeter of the store. It's those aisles where we tend to get in trouble. Next time you are at the store just look at the cereal isle. It's HUGE and full of neon boxes covered in cartoon animals that are Grrreat! It's terrifying for me to just think about. So stick to the perimeter and then just dart into the interior for something here and there. You'll know exactly what you need because you have your list from tip #1.
Buy in Season - Produce that is in season is going to be much less expensive and better for you. It is less expensive because there is more of it and it is better for you because it hasn't traveled as far. Grocery stores will stock the produce that is in season right at the front of the produce section so you don't have to know before you go.
Organic? - In a perfect world I would want everyone to eat all organic, however, I understand that this isn't in everyone's budget. When it comes to choosing where to spend your money, my advice is to start at the top of the food chain. Always choose good quality meat, fish and poultry. Next opt for organic produce where you will eat the skin (i.e. strawberries) and after that produce where you won't eat the skin (i.e. oranges). Grains should be at the bottom of your list as there is little difference when it comes to these products.
Purchase the Store Brand - Most stores have an in-house brand. These products tend to be substantially cheaper because they don't spend money on advertising. When possible, opt for these over the name brands. This, of course, just applies to food and not jeans. Nobody gets between me and my Calvin's...do people still wear those or just me?
Eating In food is based on all organic, non-bulk, non-sale, and then I
added a little for good measure. The Eating Out prices are pre tax,
tip, and 100% correct according to the nice people I spoke with at
Starbucks, Subway, and Thai Time.
So even with the buffer, and only modifying your eating during the week you are looking at a $300 savings per month. That is enough to treat your friend to dinner at the Prado and still walk around with $200 in your pocket.
enough I'm not even going to go into the nutritional benefits of the
simple switches above, but they are even more substantial than the
financial ones. Instead I'll tell you how my client's story ends. She
and her husband are having a blast cooking and spending time together,
she is moving towards her weight loss goals, and she mentioned