Eating healthy doesn’t have to break the bank, if you know a few tips for inexpensive ways to increase the quality of your food.
Quality food will not only improve your health but also your body composition and how you look and feel overall.
Why is Healthy Food So Expensive?
It does appear that healthy food is more expensive than not-so-healthy food, but what about the cream of the crop food? I’m talking grass fed beef, organic food and local produce. Despite the premium price tag, I have some inexpensive ways to increase the quality of your food, so read on!
Join a CSA
CSA stands for C ommunity S upported A griculture. In a nutshell, you pay an upfront fee for a box of fresh veggies produced at the farm you join each week. The cost varies but I was a member of City Roots ’CSA in Columbia, SC and it averaged about $ 20 / week for a box of organic veggies. We got the small box but we struggled to even eat it all! The quality of these veggies are superior to store-bought because they’re local and don’t have to sit on a truck for days losing nutrients. Plus, they’re grown organically! A great inexpensive option for quality food.
Grow Your Own Veggies
You may be thinking, “Whaaaat ?! I don’t know the first thing about gardening and I don’t have the time! ” I’ll admit it, I thought the same thing but after planting and harvesting from my own garden many times, it’s really not hard. The biggest time commitment is the actual planting part but that can be done in an afternoon. I buy plants that are already started from a local nursery or even Lowe’s / Tractor Supply (look for non-GMO), dig up the area I’m going to plant, read the instructions on spacing, mix in some fertilizer and plop them in the ground. Wait a few weeks and you’ll have some delicious (seriously, much better tasting than store bought) veggies!
If you live in an apartment, try a raised bed planter on your balcony. The initial cost will depend on how much you plant but I’d say $ 50 for a decent garden that will give you quality food for weeks to months!
Join a Meat Co-Op
A meat co-op is where you basically share the cost of a large amount of meat with a number of other people. For example, Ole Timey Meat Market offers this program. They pick the farm and do the research on the farming practices to ensure a good farm. They then get a number of people to split the cost of a whole cow or a hind quarter to reduce the overall cost.
The other option is to go straight to the farm and order a large amount of meat for a discounted rate. One of my favorites is Puddle Moon Farm in Edgemoore, SC. The quality of these meats are far superior to store bought. Plus if you buy grass fed, it has lower cholesterol and saturated fat content, and higher omega 3! Another inexpensive option for quality food.
Look for Sales
I personally NEVER buy grass fed beef / pork or free range chicken unless it’s on sale or it’s from one of the places listed above. This is because the cost is astronomical! However, Earth Fare does a grass fed beef sale about once a month and the prices are pretty palatable – $ 3 / lb for grass fed ground beef. Sign up for their email newsletter to be in the know on when this sale will occur. They also offer coupons for $ 10 off $ 75 which will also make that quality food less expensive!
Shop at the Cheap Places
I’m talking the State Farmer’s Market for veggies – you can get a boatload of fresh veggies straight from the farmer for next to nothing! Also, Walmart. I know I said it, Walmart. While Walmart has a TON of not so healthy options, if you look you will find lots of great options. I look for foods that have the USDA Organic seal and Non-GMO Project seal. Both of these seals will help you to easily recognize a higher quality of food. I personally do not buy meat from Walmart; I just don’t find the quality that great. However, they do sell antibiotic free, natural chicken which is good. They also sell grass fed beef but it’s not any cheaper.
Here are some great options I buy at Walmart:
- Sam’s Choice organic bone broth
- Organic almond and coconut flours
- Bob’s Red Mill products
- Nature’s Path Organic cereal & granola
- Al Fresco brand chicken sausage / bacon
- Chobani Greek yogurt
- Smucker’s natural peanut butter
- Great Value organic quinoa, chia seeds and flaxseeds
Don’t feel like you need to buy everything organic – do what you can do.
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