People who try to eat healthfully may have noticed how much more healthy foods can cost in comparison to unhealthy foods, such as processed or fast foods. A study by the Harvard School of Public Health confirms that healthy eating does indeed cost more, to the tune of $1.50 per person per day.
For families of any size, this can quickly add up. For a family of four, for instance, this cost can quickly swell to $183 per month, or more than $2,000 a year. Many families find that the cost of eating healthfully is a small price to pay for overall health and wellness, and for avoiding costly health conditions, such as diabetes, later on. When struggling to make ends meet each month, this can be a tough pill to swallow.
Although eating healthfully will likely continue to cost more, families can save money by choosing inexpensive healthy foods. Here are a few ways to save money while eating healthfully:
Eat Locally Grown, Seasonal Produce
You don’t have to grow your own food or spend Sunday at the farmer’s market to get in-season produce. One way is simply to adjust your diet to the season, choosing melons, berries and fruits with large pits in the summertime, apples in the fall and citrus in winter. Buying foods when they’re plentiful is much more cost effective than buying them when they’re scarce.
Go “Meatless” on Monday (And Some Other Days)
Getting more of your proteins from vegetables such as beans, whole grains and soy will tend to cost less than getting your proteins from meat. Eating Well magazine has a list of inexpensive vegetarian meals that are likely to be delicious enough to satisfy the whole family.
Stock Up on Basic Whole Grains
Choose wholesome but inexpensive grains such as brown rice, barley and rolled oats. Cook them fresh. These grains might not come in a flashy box or with tantalizing flavors, but they are a lot less expensive and much healthier.
Join a Local Food Co-op
Another option is to join a local food co-op, such as Bountiful Baskets, which can provide you with a bundle of locally grown, in-season vegetables and fruits each week. Check the Internet for food co-ops near you.