Saturday, December 7, 2013

An Extra $1.50 a Day

According to a recently published review, that is the difference in cost between the healthiest and unhealthiest diets. That translates to about $550 per year. For lower income families this can present a real challenge to choosing healthier food items, but for others, not as much. When you consider the health implications of an unhealthy diet, like diabetes and heart disease, that amount pales in comparison. For a more detailed summary of the review, check out the article I wrote here.

Now, I do not presume to know people's financial situations, and I'll be the first to admit that choosing a healthier diet can often mean parting with a little more money, but there are ways to offset these costs. Here are a few things to look into:

How often do you eat out? I'm not just talking about going to sit down restaurants. I'm also talking about stopping at fast food restaurants or picking up something from the deli section at your grocery store. Often times you're paying $10, $20, or more for one meal, when that amount of money could have gone towards groceries that would have produced multiple meals.

Plan ahead. This goes hand in hand with eating out. When you don't plan ahead you find yourself picking up meals at the last minute. If you decide what you're making for the week, buy the necessary groceries, and make those meals, then there will be no last minute Mickey D's drive bys.

Are there any farmer's markets nearby? Farmer's markets are great for a number of reasons. The produce is local, fresh, and cheap. Often times you get to interact with the people who grew them and there is usually a much better selection (more variety) than what you'd find at a grocery store.

Buy in bulk and freeze. Pretty self-explanatory. If you see a good deal on bell peppers (and there's no limit per customer), buy as many as you want and freeze the ones you're won't immediately use.

These are just a few of the suggestions I could think of to help make a healthier diet more accessible. Do you all have any more ideas on how to offset the costs of healthy eating? Share them in the comments!

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