Many people really want to eat healthy but don’t think they can afford it. Is that you? If it is, I want to address a few myths that hold people back from eating healthy affordably.
It is possible to eat a very clean diet on a budget. I am extremely picky about the food I eat and feed my family, it’s all organic, low sugar, no dairy, no factory farmed anything and locally sourced if possible. And I do all of this on a reasonable budget but that requires a lot of careful food selections that I’ll outline for you in this article.
Myth #1: You Need to Eat Meat at Every Meal
One big misconception in the American diet is that meat should be present at every meal. This isn’t necessary to maintain your health; in fact, I think it’s healthier not to eat meat at every meal. It’s also far more sustainable for the environment because meat production is resource intensive.
There are so many other ways to get fabulous protein at a fraction of the cost. This doesn’t mean you can’t afford any meat. It’s just best for cost savings to keep meals with meat down to 2-3 times per week. When you do eat meat, here’s what to get:
Grass-Fed Ground Hamburger – 100% grass-fed beef is actually a healthier choice than organic. It’s the food that a cow is designed to eat (they’re not designed to eat corn even if it’s organic corn). Hamburger is affordable and can be made many different ways such as meatballs, meatloaf, stuffed peppers, etc.
Organic Chicken – Buying whole chicken is the most affordable option. Some butchers at your local super market will cut it up upon request at no additional charge. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to make soup broth with the left over bones, as homemade soup is one of the best ways to stretch your money.
Myth #2: Eggs Are Only for Breakfast
Organic free-range eggs are a great source of protein at a reasonable price. If available, farm fresh is best. Like hamburger, they are a food with many uses. You can make quiche, omelets, fry and serve them with beans and salsa, poach them in vegetable soup before serving, make egg salad for sandwiches or hard boil them to top a salad. Many cuisines around the world make great use of eggs at every meal and you can’t beat them for getting your protein on a budget.
Myth #3: Beans Are Difficult to Prepare
Organic dried beans are packed with nutrition. Soaking your own beans not only saves you money, but they’re also a healthier choice than canned beans. Using sprouted beans adds even more health benefits and makes them easy to digest. You can make delicious soups and dishes with several types of beans and lentils.
Preparation is usually quite simple and detailed on the side of the package. The only real issue is that you must plan ahead because they need to soak overnight. If you use legumes and eggs as your main sources of protein, your grocery bill can be quite low indeed.
Myth #4: All Grains Are Bad for You
It’s possible that I shouldn’t list this as a myth, because there’s a LOT of controversy about grains and like most issues of nutrition, the verdict is never really in (remember when everyone thought margarine was a healthy alternative to butter?) In our household, we do eat grains, though we’re very picky about which ones.
Whole wheat pasta makes a great, filling meal that the whole family can enjoy. My favorite is Ezekiel 4:9. It’s more earthy-tasting than conventional but the legumes in its ingredients add extra protein. Many who are gluten sensitive (not allergic) find they can digest wheat in its sprouted form.
Another grain we eat is organic rice. It is an affordable side dish that is diverse and can be made many different ways. Plus, it goes great with beans.
Another grain we use as a snack is organic popcorn. I use coconut oil in the pan for popping. Not only does it withstand high temperatures, but it’s healthy and adds a wonderful flavor.
Myth #5: Fat Is Bad for You
This one has been pretty roundly debunked, although many people still believe it. Using the right fats liberally is both a great way to stay healthy and a way to save money because eating it makes you feel full. We use grass-fed butter and the best price I’ve found on Kerrygold grass-fed butter is at Costco. We also use avocado oil, olive oil and we buy organic coconut oil by the tub (which is also the most cost-effective way).
Those are my best tips on eating a super clean diet on a tight budget. If you’re interested in seeing the full one-week meal plan I devised using these principles, you can opt in to receive it here.
About the author
Jodie Perry is co-founder of the Organic Daily Post and an avid natural health enthusiast.