Eating Healthy at Affordable Prices, a few Quick Tips

We used to go to Whole Foods to get our organic food…we now call it whole paycheck…the food there is so expensive.

Eating healthy is not about going to a health food store to find the good stuff…it is about finding the good, healthy, or organic food at your cheap store, aka wally world or your local grocery.

Eating healthy is way cheaper than buying junk. You just have to know where to look.

If your local grocery has a bulk section, check there first for things like oats, nuts, flours, beans, dried fruit etc. The bulk section is going to have all the same healthy foods that you will find at the high end stores, and you can find it at a fraction of the price. Not all of it will be organic, but really, as much as I would love to be able to find all organic all the time and be able to afford it, it just can’t always be done.

Many local grocery stores have small health food markets built into the middle of their stores. Just about everything you find here will be cheaper than going to a specialty health food store or big organic chain store. Sometimes they have a small organic bulk section too, and you can get an even better deal.

A fabulously frugal way to save money in the bulk department is to make your own flavored oatmeal.

Here are a few quick recipes:

Apples and Cinnamon:

5 Cups Plain Instant Oats
2 Cups Dried Apples (you can get the large dried apple rings and dice them up, they are usually cheaper)
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar

Crasins and Walnuts:

5 Cups Plain Instant Oats
2 Cups Crasins
1 Cup Diced Walnuts
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar

Mix them all together and store in an air tight container…this will last much longer in a sealed container than little paper bags of individual servings. Adjust the recipe to your own taste. Check out what your bulk section has and go with it.

The bulk section is also a great place to find ingredients for the perfect snack mix…and I don’t mean the premixed snacks that they have there…those to me are a waste of money. Not one of the premixed snacks is the perfect mix for me, there are always several ingredients that I don’t want. So I make my own. I just go down the aisle grabbing a scoop or two of all my favorite ingredients and mix them all together when I get home. Make up your own special blend and take it with you when you are running around town, or keep it in your car. That way you wont be tempted to stop at a fast food place to grab something to eat when you are hungry. Fast food restaurants are way more expensive than they look at first, but they will suck your wallet dry with just a few quick meals. Forget the drive-thru!

Walmart has organic food too… hard to believe, but it does. They usually just mix all of there brands and types of food together, so you have to really stop and look for that one box of organic spaghetti, but it is there. Wally world has a much smaller collection of organic foods, but what they do have is so much more affordable than going to the specialty stores. They also have a pretty good selection of organic produce. The other day I flew through the produce section at walmart, shopping by price, not brand or organic/non-organic and when I got home I was surprised to see that most of what I bought was actually organic produce. Imagine that.

You don’t have to buy organic to eat healthier either. You can do simple things like trading out a small bag of frozen french fries for a huge bag of potatoes, forget about the flavored frozen meats/chicken wings, buy the unseasoned chicken wings and season them at home with spices from your spice rack, for less than a bag of chips you can buy a bag of apples, oranges or a pack of strawberries, or make your own French Bread Pizza.

Food gets expensive when you buy the already prepared meals. When you have to pay some one to cook your food and then freeze it, you are going to end up spending way too much money. Healthy food is not always about organic, it is about buying the bare essentials and starting from scratch. Food will always be tastier, healthier, fresher and cheaper as you forget about the ready-made, over processed foods.

If you are worried about time…”it takes too long to cook from scratch”…well it really doesn’t. Once you do it a few times, cooking from scratch doesn’t really take that much longer that tossing some frozen dinner in the oven. You can also spend a few extra hours one day and cook up a bunch of your favorite foods and toss them in the freezer for those extra busy days.

For the most part, my recipes have to be super duper quick, check out more of my recipes and let me know what you think!

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2 Responses to Eating Healthy at Affordable Prices, a few Quick Tips

  1. Hazel Nut on December 14, 2010 at 8:50 pm

    I used to shop at Trader Joe’s, don’t remember which state I was working in…but they had awesome deals. You are so lucky that you have one close to you!

  2. Whitney on December 14, 2010 at 7:38 pm

    Another option is to look for Trader Joe’s sales. They have fairly decent prices, considering!

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