A healthy diet is crucial to both your physical and mental health. However, most people still think that they need to spend a fortune on food, if they want to have a healthy diet.
That cannot be further from the truth.
In 2013, researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health conducted the most comprehensive examination of healthy diet patterns vs. less healthy ones. The study concluded that the healthiest diet available costs only $1, 5 per day more than the least healthy one.
But considering just how many people still think they don’t have enough money to buy healthy food, it seems like people simply aren’t aware that the cost of healthiest diet is trivial compared with the possible health costs of eating junk food all the time.
So the question now is – what can you do to improve your diet and save a couple of dollars in the process?
There’s more to it Than the Cost of Groceries
The main thing you need to think about is limit all of the unnecessary spending. For instance, an average American spends around $6,600 on food every year. However, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than a third of that ($2,600) is spent on eating out.
This means that before you start shopping healthy supplies, you need to revise your shopping habits, and if possible, limit the number of times you go out to eat or order pizzas or Chinese.
Furthermore eating healthy on a budget is about more than just about the cost of food (or visiting restaurants) – it’s also about the pleasure of eating, which (since we as humans are social beings after all) increases when our meals are shared.
And it doesn’t whether you live with your parents, alone or you prepare meals for the whole family, you can surely make all of those low-cost meals more pleasurable by doing some of the following things:
· Be More Social
Having a nice, relaxing conversation with an old friend or a family member will definitely boost your mood and relieve some stress. And if you happen to live alone, invite a co-worker or a friend over.
· Shop with Someone
If you have a family, it would be smart to involve your kids in the shopping process more, and teach them something about different foods. On the other hand, shopping with a friend will give you a chance to learn about new discounts and even low-cost chopping stores you weren’t familiar with.
· Cook with your Friends
Cooking with a friend will not only give you a chance to socialize and deepen a relationship with someone, but it is also a perfect chance to split the grocery costs and make everything cheaper for both of you.
Shop More Wisely (Look at Different Options)
Your local supermarket is not the only place you can buy food. There are other venues (and even apps) out there that offer significantly lower prices for basically the same items.
· Farmers’ Markets
You should know that many places host farmers’ markets once a week (or month) where local people sell fresh veggies and fruits. And of course, these markets offer better prices than all of the grocery stores in your area.
· Meal Delivery Services
Special delivery and prep services allow people to buy different foods and have them delivered at their door every week. What’s more, some services like Home Chef also deliver new recipes on a weekly basis to help you prepare your meals with a lot less effort.
· Discount Stores
Warehouse stores such as Costco have great prices for seasonal foods like cheese and even chicken breasts. This is a great opportunity to buy a large quantity of food and freeze it in small sizes, to save some food for later and avoid any waste.
Keep in Mind that Desserts Can be Affordable Too
Just because you should cut back on desserts (or maybe try excluding it completely from your diet) doesn’t mean you should avoid dessert by any means necessary. And as you already know, most processed deserts (such as cakes, cookies and ice creams sold at fast food restaurants like McDonald’s) are full of sugar and can cost you a pretty penny if you eat them regularly.
· Home-Baked Goods
If you try your hand at home-baked cookies and simply cut the amount of sugar the recipe calls for, you’ll see that they can taste just as good as the ones you can purchase in the store. A good example of healthy homemade treats is oatmeal cookies with rolled oats.
· Dark Chocolate
Most people I know have strong chocolate munchies at least once a month. But if you manage to limit your portions (cut it down to a couple of squares), you’ll be able to enjoy chocolate every now and then. Just make sure to purchase dark chocolate (70% or higher), because it’s actually full of antioxidants.
· Frozen Deserts
You can always buy some fruit, make some juice, freeze it and make your own popsicles. Another option is to freeze some bananas or berries, make some darks chocolate sauce and prepare a tasty, low-calorie dessert.
And those are just some of the ways you can save a couple of bucks on your diet, without compromising the quality or the taste of your meals. So what do you think about our choices? Do you have any money-saving secrets of your own? If you do, make sure to share them with the rest of us by dropping a few words in the comment section bellow. By Vanessa Davis
Vanessa Davis is a 32-year-old fitness enthusiast, mother of two and content writer at www.diet.st. She’s originally from Long Island, New York, and when she isn’t cooking up some new health and fitness article, she enjoys doing yoga and figuring out new, delicious organic-based recipes for herself and her kids.