5 tips to living a healthier life without breaking the bank
BY: BRIANNA DIORIO
It is more than possible to eat healthy on a limited budget; it is all a matter of making healthy habits a priority. While cheaper food may seem to be more convenient and cost efficient initially, it is likely that you will pay the price of cutting cost, with interest, when it comes to your healthcare down the road. In fact, a recent international analysis found that the difference between buying food for the most healthy diet pattern or the least healthy diet pattern came out to about $1.50 per day (1). You need to ask yourself, how much is your health worth to you, and at what “cost” is healthy eating a priority? Below are five tips and money saving strategies you can use to stay on track with your budget while keeping your healthy eating habits a main goal.
1- Save money in other areas
Allocating money to your wellness efforts is an investment worth taking, as your health is one of your most valuable assets! Reassessing other areas of your budget is a great first step when trying to prioritize healthy eating. Look at your current spending and see where you can save money elsewhere to help you become a savvier shopper. Cut back on eating out, which not only will save you money, but will allow you to better control the quality and portions of your food choices. Keep a journal for a week and write down how much you are actually spending on frivolous things, like gum, coffee, sodas, even impulse buys like snacks at the checkout counter. Once you’ve tallied up your extra spending, ask yourself if you are allocating your funds appropriately and prioritizing your spending. Determine if you are buying and spending money on anything that is unnecessary; do you really need that fancy water bottle at the checkout counter? If you cut out an extra cup of coffee here and there and pass up on impulse buys you might find that you actually have some extra money that you can take and invest in yourself and your health. These aren’t super hard choices, it just a matter of placing importance on what matters most to you; the extra lunch outings with your co-workers or healthier eating.
2- Befriend your freezer and bulk bins
Frozen fruits and vegetables can be just as nutritious as their fresh counterparts. Frozen produce is often picked at the peak of their season, making it a great choice for the money and health conscious shopper. Check out the freezer section of your favorite health food store and look for frozen fish, meats and berries. Don’t shy away from bulk discount items, such as nuts and seeds, and even more pricy protein options, such as grass-fed beef and wild caught fish, which go on sale occasionally. Take full advantage of these price saving opportunities and stock up and freeze these items for future snacks and meals.
3-Plan your meals
We know how the saying goes; failing to plan is planning to fail. Planning is an integral part of creating healthy lifestyle habits that will stay for the long haul. Taking time to sit down and plan your meals, grocery shopping, and meal prep in advance is essential for being successful when it comes to cutting costs. Take time to plan out when you can hit up your local farmers market, search the paper for when your favorite natural food store is promoting some in-store special pricing, even plan when you are going to eat out with friends and family so you can budget your money accordingly. Plan your meals ahead of time to cut costs on last minute splurges that generally tend to be fast-food or expensive premade foods. If you have premade meals ready to go in your fridge you will be less likely to run out of food options and be forced to get takeout or some fast food potion. Fast food is meant to be fast, not necessarily the most nutritious option, so taking time to plan and make healthy meals is a must when trying to stay on track with healthy eating and budgeting. If you know you are eating out for a co-workers lunch you can save that money earlier in the week and make the rest of your meals for the week. Making meals ahead of time allows you to have leftovers for the entire week, helping you to save time and money.
4-Shop local and seasonally
Support your local farmers market, not only will you know where you food is coming from, you can often find great prices on super fresh produce. You can even consider signing up for a local CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture group. CSA’s are a different way of getting fresh food right to your table. CSA’s are usually a loosely organized group of customers and farmers that sell “shares” of the farmer’s crops right to the customer, sometimes even offering direct delivery to customers homes or allowing you to pick up your food at a local collection point. You can find high quality, in season, an often organic food at great prices at CSA’s and local farmers markets. Websites like Local Harvest, Eat Well Guide, and Eat Wild have resources for finding local suppliers.
5-Crowd out processed products and replace with ingredients
Eating healthy, whole, real foods doesn’t have to be more expensive. Try eating less from a box and more from the earth. Cutting down on purchasing these prepackaged goods can be a quick way to see your grocery bill go down effortlessly. I mean really, what do you think is more expensive, a bag of real, natural, whole potatoes or a bag of processed potato chips? Many of these posed “health” snacks are really just candy in drag, cheating your health and taking advantage of your wallet. An entire bag of fresh apples can cost less than a box of health bars, being not only cheaper but healthier for your entire family. Processed foods often come in packages, which costs manufactures to produce. These costs have to be made up somewhere, which is on the shelf of the grocery stores. Buying raw ingredients, instead of products, can be more cost effective and healthier for you and your entire family. Don’t get fooled by clever health marketing claims either; just because something is gluten free or Paleo or low-carb, doesn’t mean it is necessarily healthy. Real food doesn’t have ingredients, real food is ingredients, so if you must buy prepackaged goods make sure you can identify, pronounce, and read all of the ingredients listed.
1 Roa, M. Singh, G, & Mozaffarian, D (2013). Do healthier foods and diet patterns cost more than less healthy options? A systematic review and meta-analysis.. PubMed, 3(12). from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24309174
2 Raynor, H.A., Kilanowski, C.K., Esterli, I., et al. 2002. A cost-analysis of adopting a healthful diet in a family-based treatment program. J Am Diet Assoc.102(5): 645-650, 655-656.
3 Cutler D.M., Rosen A.B., and S. Vijan. 2006. The value of medical spending in the United States, 1960-2000. N Engl J Med. 355(9): 920-7.
4 Hyman, M. (2013, April, 3). Why Eating Quick, Cheap Food is Actually More Expensive. from Dr. Mark Hyman Web Site: http://drhyman.com/blog/2010/08/13/why-eating-quick-cheap-food-is-actually-more-expensive/
Hi ladies, Brianna here! Every month through December I will be rolling out healthy recipes that use in-season produce to aid your health + your wallet!
If you are looking to partake in the pumpkin craze, then try out this delicious and tasty treat for a sweet taste of fall!
Pumpkin Oat Protein Bars
- 1 can of pumpkin puree
- 6 heaping tbsp of coconut flour
- ½ tbsp of sea salt
- 3 drops of liquid stevia
- 2 scoops of Vanilla protein powder
- 1 cup of unsweetened apple sauce
- 3 whole eggs
- 3 drops of vanilla crème sweet drops flavoring
- 1 tbsp of baking powder
- 1 cup of oats
- 4 dashes of nutmeg
- 4 dashes of cinnamon
- 3 heaping tbsp of powdered peanut butter
- 2 tbsp of cocoa nibs (optional)
- ¼ cup of chopped walnuts (optional)
- Preheat oven to 385 degrees
- Spray a baking pan with olive oil spray
- Bake for 35 minutes
- Remove from oven and let cool
- Cut into squares and enjoy!
Much love, Brianna @briannadiorio
Hi all! Brianna here, as promised I am bringing you some healthy eating tips for the season! Now the changing of the seasons allows us to enjoy not only the crisp weather and beautiful fall foliage, but also autumn’s flavorful harvest. Seasonal eating can bring a variety of delicious produce, from pumpkin and apples to chestnuts and sweet potatoes. As we transition into cooler weather with the fall season, our innate pull towards warmer and denser foods is as natural as the shedding of the leaves after a long winter. Grasses and flowers transition from bright shades of green to cooler hues of brown, peddles fall from flowers and plants start to prepare for the drop in temperature. The sweeter more cooling foods we are fond of during the summer months become less appealing, and we find ourselves gravitating towards hardy meals, hot soups, and warm beverages. To make the most of fall’s offerings, take advantage of eating seasonally, and enjoy some favorite fall foods that are available only during the autumn months!
Benefits to Eating Seasonally
Eating foods that are in season can bring benefits to your health and wallet. Freshness and flavor, as well as being more affordable and providing additional nutritional value, are some of the benefits that you can expect from eating locally grown, seasonal produce.
Seasonal food is also often local, which means that the miles between your food and your plate are shortened, delivering fresher food faster! Since in-season produce is less likely to be shipped from across the country, that brings you produce that is at its peak in regards to freshness and flavor. Furthermore, picked at its ripest peak, fresher produced can retain more nutrients, allowing you to be exposed to additional antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
When you eat seasonally and locally, you can find yourself saving some money as well. When you are buying and eating what’s in season, you are buying food that is at its height of supply and availability. This costs the farmers less to harvest and distributors less to ship, which means it can cost you less to buy once it reaches your grocery store.
Finally, eating the same food year round can get boring and bland; when you eat with the seasons you can bring variety in to your diet. Try eating what is in season to get excited about experimenting and cooking with new foods!
Welcome the natural changes of the season with the following fall favorites, providing the perfect combination of festive flavors and freshness!
Pumpkin – The season of pumpkin flavored everything is upon us, and with good reason. Rich in antioxidants, carotenoids and fiber, this super fruit also is a source of Vitamins A, E and C. The vitamin A found in pumpkins can support skin and eye health. Don’t forget the seeds! Pumpkin seeds provide a source of iron, zinc, and selenium, important minerals that can support immune and cell health.
- Try roasting a handful of pumpkin seeds sprinkled with some sea salt in the oven for a flavorful fall snack! You can also throw a few tablespoons of raw pumpkin seeds right into your morning smoothie or yogurt.
Pears- One of the highest fiber fruits, pears are a great addition to your fruit basket this fall. Pears are packed with vitamins, including B, K, and C, as well as minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, and manganese. The potassium found in pears can support muscle, nerve, and cardiovascular health.
- For a cool spin on this fall favorite, drizzle some balsamic vinegar, honey, and goat cheese on top of a sliced pear and bake in the oven at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes!
Sweet potatoes- Baked, roasted, mashed, however you chose to eat them, sweet potatoes are a power- house when it comes to flavor and nutrition. Sweet potatoes are rich in Vitamin A, which is important for eye, skin, and immune health. Sweet potatoes also contain Vitamin C, calcium, potassium, and carotenoids, which can squelch free radical damage.
- For a sweet spin simply bake your sweet potato as you normally would and top them with a dollop of Greek yogurt , a drizzle of pure maple syrup and sprinkle with some cinnamon for a surprisingly delicious sweet treat!
Apples- Apple picking, bopping for apples, of course this is considered a fall all-star! Apples are a great source of vitamins and antioxidants, including Vitamins C, B, and E, as well as a dietary fiber. Apples also contain phytonutrients or plant chemicals that can support immune, cell, and cardiovascular health.
- Make candy apples right at home! Simply slice up your favorite apple, melt some dark chocolate or even use almond butter to coat the apple and roll them in some crushed nuts or coconut flakes!
Parsnips- A member of the carrot, parsley, and celery family, parsnips are a root vegetable with a slightly sweet taste. Parsnips contain Vitamin C, folate, and fiber, as well as minerals such as potassium, iron, manganese, and copper. Folate is required for making healthy DNA cells as well as red blood cells.
- Try slicing parsnips very thin and drizzling them with some olive oil and sea salt. Roast in the oven on low heat for about 45 minutes to make parsnip chips, a crispy fall treat for the whole family!
Butternut squash- This versatile vegetable, one referred to as “the apple of God,” originated in Mexico, and is a member of the melon family. Popular in many fall soups, this sweet and nutty veggie is loaded with Vitamin A, as well as fiber and important minerals such as potassium and magnesium. The Vitamin A found in butternut squash also acts like an antioxidant, providing protection against free radical damage and supporting immune and cardiovascular health.
- Cut up one butternut squash and combine in a bowl with olive oil, garlic, and pepper. Pour the butternut squash cubes onto a baking sheet and roast in the oven until tender and lightly browned-roughly 25 minutes- for a hardy, low calorie side dish!
Beets- High in vitamins C, A, K, and B, specifically folate, as well as essential minerals such as potassium and manganese, beets are a tasty and nutritious power food this fall! The vitamins and minerals found in beets are required for healthy nerve and muscle function, as well as DNA and red blood cell production. Beets provide a natural source of betaine, which is a naturally occurring amino acid like compound that plays a role in liver detoxification and neurotransmitter synthesis.
- No need to turn on the oven, simply juice some beets for an immune boosting nutrient packed drink! Try and beet this delicious and easy recipe: juice 1 beet with 1 apple and a small parsnip. Pour over ice and enjoy your beet beverage!
Much love, Brianna @briannadiorio