How much does eating well really cost? And does it cost too much? The real question is how much does it cost to not eat well, and we are talking about total costs which include the cost to your health, that of your local economy and the health of the environment and planet. Cost should not just be looked at by how much does it cost at checkout, but rather what is the total cost, the total impact, of my food choices. While keeping the total costs in mind we also want to save at checkout and not be required to spend a small fortune on needlessly overpriced “health food” products. Eating well should be simple and cost effective.
Here are 5 easy tips to help you save on eating:
1. Know Your Market
It is important to develop your own personal niche on the grocery store front. If you don’t know what stores carry what and for what price, you may be buying the most expensive products in your the area. Check out a few local stores and shop at them randomly. Soon a pattern will develop, (i.e. Sunflower carries the freshest least expensive local produce, Natural Grocer’s carries the lowest price on natural body and food oils) and you will find your own personal shopping niche.
2. Buy Organic
Organic may seem more expensive if you are only looking at the cost per pound but most organic foods have a much higher nutrient content, upwards of 80% more, which means you can get more nutrients in less food. Over time this equals less produce purchased. Organic foods also do not contain toxic chemicals which wear down your body, interfere with immune system functioning and reduce energy. Eating organic results in more productive hours during your day, less sick days taken and less money spent on costly doctor’s visits and prescription drugs.
3. Buy Local
Local foods are cheaper any way you look at it. Foods that must be shipped from long distances cost more money, as shipping costs money. They also don’t require toxic chemical sprays and processing to keep produce good during long distance travel, all of which costs money. By buying local foods you are also contributing to your local economy and creating a more sustainable community. Local farms offer co-ops or CSA’s giving consumers the option of buying a share in the farm before the season. Usually the cost is very low, (in my area, $15 per person for a week of fresh, organic, seasonal produce) and in return you get weekly boxes of organic, fresh, seasonal produce all while supporting your local farmer.
4. Buy Fresh
Fresh foods have a much higher nutritional content. Eating foods that have been cooked or processed requires you to eat 50% more calories to get the same nutritional content. your body does not care as much about how many calories you eat, but cares how many nutrients it is getting. When you eat raw, fresh, living foods your body gets all the nutrients it needs, in much smaller quantities of food. Skip the “bottom barrel” priced boxed and packaged foods whose nutrition content is 50% less then the fresh stuff, you will end up needing to buy twice as much anyway. As you eat more and more fresh foods your appetite will decrease and balance. 50% less food equals 50% less grocery bill!
5. Shop Farmer’s Markets
Farmer’s markets are a great place to find fresh, local produce at very low prices. Since most farmer’s sell their own produce at the market there is no middle man. Buying directly from the farmer saves you money but also comes with the added bonus of knowing where your food came from, how it was grown and the farming practices used.
You can find a listing of farms, farmer’s market, csa’s and more by your zip code at Local Harvest
Eating well, is eating natural. Eating natural is the most basic simple way to eat. If you are finding eating is way too complicated, contact us today and we can assist you in creating an easy, sustainable way for you to eat!