Let’s face it, one of the biggest excuses every coach hears for why a person isn’t eating healthy foods is that it is just too expensive. I was the same way when I began my version of the “healthy eating” lifestyle. I was working two jobs, just bought a house, had bills everywhere, and was spending $80 to $100 each week. And I was just feeding myself. And then I started to realize living on Ramen, Family Size Lasagna, and quick meals wasn’t going to help me and may actually be costing me more. With some time and a little effort, you can find ways to eat health without driving yourself to the poor house.
TIP #1 – KNOW YOUR PRICES
My mom was a master at this. To this day, I could call her and ask the going rate on eggs, milk, beef, frozen vegetables and she knows the average and if there are any sales going on. Even better, she knew and taught me when to shop for certain items because that’s when the “Reduced” tags came out. End result – I learned that 20 seconds of research can save 20 bucks on a shopping trip.
TIP #2 – BUY IN BULK AT RESTAURANT SUPPLY AND WAREHOUSE STORES
Healthy eating doesn’t mean small batch and fresh prepared every day. Protein freezes well. Frozen vegetables are… FROZEN. I keep a selection of everything from Pork Chops (Buy the loin and cut your own chops) to Ground Turkey, Ground Beef, and Chicken. I bring it home, parcel it out into amounts that would last about a week, and then I use my next tip to make it last.
TIP #3 – INVEST IN A FOODSAVER
No, really, go buy a foodsaver. Get the big roll of vacuum bags. When you find fresh fruit cheap or when you have enough food to feed an army, this will save you money. We use ours every year to freeze fresh berries, hundreds of pounds of chicken, sausage, soups, chili, and everything in between. It will pay for itself in under 3 months with the food, meals, and time you can save by sealing and freezing your food for later.
TIP #4 – AVOID PROCESSED FOODS
You know what comes next. I tell you that healthy eating doesn’t come with 20+ ingredients for something you can make at home with 5. Forget the fact that there are a lot of chemicals in these products. The fact is, doing something at home may cost you a little time, but buying processed foods costs you money – here are some examples of money saving from eliminating such products:
- One “coffee” per day: $600+/year
- One half gallon of ice cream per week: $288/year
- One fast food meal per week: $384/year
- One family size microwave meal per week: $400/year
- One box of cereal per week: $240/year
- One soda (or sweet tea!) per day: $548/year
TIP #5 – FROZEN FOOD
Freezing food for sale in grocery stores has come a long way. With new technique and better packaging, you get the nutritional value of fresh food with typically a 30-40% savings in the price. Check in the restaurant supply stores or the club stores and you can find deals like 40 lbs of Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast for $40.
TIP #6 – FARMER’S MARKETS
If you really want to make sure you’re getting healthy food for healthy eating, use every Farmer’s Market as a chance to get your produce, beef, nut butters, etc. I’ve been able to talk with the farmer that grew the squash, beans, and fruits I’m buying. I can talk to the farmer that raised the cattle and the butcher that handled the meat. And the best one, I can meet the people making and selling their peanut butter and get hella-good deals by building relationships with all of these people.
–Not a sales pitch because I get nothing for it, but if you like good peanut butter check out Nutty Novelties.—