To say that becoming healthy is “easy” is…..well, a big fat lie really. Like anything that reaps massive rewards it takes sacrifices, discipline and learning to be wiser with your choices and decisions. Think of getting fit…….is it easy? Heck no, it requires hard slog and dedication. Eating the right way is no different but once you know some “tricks of the trade” you can definitely make it easier for yourself and soon it will be so ingrained as part of your ‘new’ lifestyle that you won’t even realize that it was hard.
I have made drastic changes to our eating and overall lifestyle and I continue to make them but these things didn’t come easily. I’ve certainly been through some hard slog and some tough times and have made some serious boo boos in my time too. I’ve learnt (the hard way) that actually the best way to make changes is simply one step at a time. Once you’ve got your head around one thing start on the next. Don’t get overwhelmed trying to change everything all at once.
Certainly one of the biggest challenges when we changed so much of our eating habits was learning how to shop for wholefoods while on a budget. Between us we certainly didn’t make a lot of money so I needed to learn pretty quickly how to make the changes we wanted with our foods but do it as cheaply as possible.
So to help you, I’ve put together a list of things I have learnt that have made buying wholefoods on a budget easier:
- Buying food in season is cheaper. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out what fruit/veg is in season in your area….Google is a great tool!! If you buy only seasonal fruit and veg you won’t be paying extra for imported stuff.
- Buy loose fruit/veg not packaged. You always pay more for the packaging. It may take an extra few minutes in the shop but spend that time putting your fruit/veg into bags and you’ll save money.
- Buying some frozen fruit/veg such as peas, corn or berries can work out a lot cheaper as you get more for your money and there isn’t any evidence to suggest that frozen fruit/veg is less nutritious.
- Go to local farmers markets or source out local farmers who will sell to you directly. Cutting out the ‘middle man’ will save you heaps of money. Getting to farmers markets towards the end of the market time will also give you prime opportunities to bargain with what’s left.
- Bulk buy as much as possible. You can do this with friends and save stacks. We bulk buy things like nuts and dates. I recently bought a 2.5kg box of dates which worked out the equivalent of $12 per kg whereas buying dates individually were nearly $20 per kg.
- Grow what you can at home. Even if you start out small with a pot of herbs, it really doesn’t require much effort and herbs are easy to grow and will save you money. Buying dried herbs from supermarkets is really expensive these days.
- Subscribe to organic shops for specials. I became a member of our local organic shop and now I get emails letting me know of specials. I buy Coconut Oil on special from our organic shop and it works out so much cheaper than getting it from mainstream supermarkets who charge a small fortunate for specialty items like this.
- Only buy what you need. Keeping a track of what’s in your pantry will stop you from doubling up on items you’ve already got. Meal planning is also a fantastic tool to help you avoid excess purchases. You then only buy what you actually need for the week and save money on impulse buys.
- Look for specials/coupons in local papers. I browse through our local paper each week and quite often find specials and cut out coupons from local grocery shops.
- Make homemade stuff where possible. You may think it’s ‘convenient’ to grab packaged, processed stuff from the shelves of the supermarket but these ‘artificial’ food items are eating up your budget. Making homemade stuff, even if little by little will definitely save you money. We save stacks from making homemade mayo, sauces, dips, stocks and nut milks for example.
- Stop eating out at fast food places. Do you ever keep a track of what you spend on junk food? A family meal at McDonalds alone would buy you a good bag full of wholefoods. Is it really worth it?
- Eat leftovers where possible. I always try to make extra at dinner time so we have leftovers for the next day. This definitely saves us money.
- Eating wholefoods will eventually make you less hungry and thus you won’t be eating as much or buying as much. Instead of seeking nutrients from depleted food like substances your body becomes less hungry because it’s actually getting what it needs. Most people these days are overfed (spending way too much on food that does nothing for them) and undernourished!
- Take a long hard look at what you’re spending on take out coffees, fast food, microwave meals, beverages and frozen dinners. Where can you cut down on these to free up more money for wholefoods? I looked long and hard at some of the things we were spending our money on and once I was able to identify areas that weren’t benefiting us, I could direct our money towards wholefoods instead.
- Weight the cost. What would you rather……spend money on wholefoods or waste money on healthcare, prescription drugs, time off work, lack of health and vitality? What is the cost to you for getting healthy and maintaining health? I certainly can’t put a price on it.
The journey to true health takes time and yes effort but it will be so worth it!