We’re constantly being told we need to eat right, but what many nutrition preachers fail to consider is that we can't all afford the healthiest options out there. Most of the time, it seems easier to grab fast food or premade meals and microwavable dishes. Especially when we’ve been subtly programmed to think that eating healthy is either time-consuming or financially draining.
Turns out, it’s actually a lot easier to eat healthy, fresh, organic food on a budget than you think—it just takes a little bit of planning. So even if you can’t afford Whole Foods and you don’t have the patience to stand in line at Trader Joe’s, you don’t have to have the green to eat the green. Here are a few options for easing into that Whole Foods life, with a fast food wallet.
Get all of your veggies at your local farmer’s market. For under $10, you can easily get a week’s worth of produce. Store them in your refrigerator to help them last longer and make sure to use the proper drawers to keep them from wilting. If you plan on roasting your veggies, put them all in the oven at the same time, and store them in containers for an added bonus of meal prep.
Keep track of what’s in season since it’s always going to be cheapest at the grocery store. Same goes for the farmer’s market. If you’re a smoothie person, get your fruit frozen at your local discount grocery store. There will always be an organic option available, and if it’s stored properly the fruit will stay good for many months.
Most discount grocery stores sell organic dairy brands. Instead of buying single serving containers, opt for a bulk family size. Most farmer’s markets will also sell organic eggs and cheese (from both cows and sheep) though, so keep a lookout for the dairy stands—they’re tend to offer more affordable prices than the grocery store.
Every few months, order yourself some bulk grains on Amazon. Yes, get your Amazon Prime on with something totally useful. There are hundreds of organic health food retailers that will send you minimally packaged bulk ingredients like pasta, quinoa, oats, flour, seeds, beans, and nuts. Stock up your cabinets with these essentials and never run out of dinner ideas.
The healthiest meats tend to be the most expensive, except when you’re at the farmer’s market. These meat vendors are small, local, and family-operated which is the best kind of supplier to support. It’s better for you and for the environment as well. If they don’t have the meat or cut you’re looking for, check your local grocery store’s daily price cut. Most stores offer a deal each day on a different cut or type of meat, usually one that’s close to its expiration. If you plan on eating meat for dinner, head to the grocery store that day to get a special, and cook it that night.