It sounds like an oxymoron, save money while eating better, but it is in fact possible. I’ve had so many people ask me how I can live off of $100 a week in groceries which includes diapers, household goods, and toiletries. The biggest thing I can think of is priorities and meal planning! We choose what is most important to our diets. Of course, I occasionally splurge like last Saturday for instance, I got off work and ran by the store to pick up eggs for our dinner. Instead, I came out with eggs, cinnamon rolls, orange juice and grapes for an amazing breakfast for dinner. I can’t tell you the last time I bought cinnamon rolls or orange juice, but as an occasional treat it was great! And let me say it was a winner to the kids and hubby. On my average everyday though, I choose to save money by using these simple tips. I don’t think most people truly comprehend how much money they throw to the wind every year on drinks, eating out, junk food and nutritionally empty “foods”.
6 tips for Saving Money while Eating Better
I hear people all the time talking about how they have stopped drinking regular soda and have gone to diet. However, diet sodas have been linked to increased migraines, diabetes, depression, and progressed tooth decay. Diet sodas also have no nutritional value, not one! When you consider energy drinks and sports drinks the facts still stack up against drinking them. There is just no real value in drinking liquid calories and sugar.
According to www.bussiness.time.com the average American household spends $850 on soft drinks each year! Holy Cow!! What would you do with that $850 extra each year? Water is relatively free and is essential for your body to function. No sugars, fake sugars, calories or mystery ingredients. Save the sodas for occasional nights out if you must have them.
2. Eat at Home!
My mouth drops wide at the amount of fast food and take out my coworkers consume every day. I have seen some of them eat all three meals from a paper bag or Styrofoam box. At $5-10 a meal they easily spend over $20 a day. My entire food budget is around $100 a week for four people! Forbes estimated the average American spent $936 in 2013 on lunch alone!
So obviously eating out is more expensive, but what about health? Fast food is full of sodium, calories, sugar and saturated fats. Even in nicer restaurants it is typical to use cheaper ingredients to cut cost. The dishes also tend to contain more sodium and calories then if you make the same dish at home. Try to keep your eating out to once a week and choose healthier restaurants
3. Go Meatless!
Ok, I am not saying go vegan. I live in a house with an O blood type husband and daughter; meat will never be out of the picture. What I do plan each week is one or two meatless meals. Meat can get expensive especially if you are buying organic or close to organic. If you substitute one meal a week for meatless you could save between $200-500 a year. A benefit of having meatless meals is it gives you the opportunity to introduce more vegetables into your diet and to try out some new recipes. I love new recipes! Squashes, potatoes, beans, and eggplant make wonderful meat substitute meals.
4. Make Your Own!
I know we already covered that it is cheaper to eat at home, but making your own at home can also save money, sugar, sodium and calories. Frozen, canned and boxed foods have preservatives, food coloring, added sugars and a ton of sodium added to protect flavor, color and shelf life. I’ve also found they lack flavor so I have to add more salt or seasoning to doctor the taste. You can generally make the same meal for a comparable or lower price from fresh ingredients. The fresher the ingredients in your dish the more nutrition those ingredients hold and the better the flavor you obtain from those ingredients.
Other things you can make at home to save money and your belly are soups, peanut butter, child snacks, granola bars and bread
We Americans are very well feed. We eat when we are hungry, bored, sad, upset, nervous or just watching a show. We love to snack and the food industries have honed in on that favorite past time. Convenient stores as they are so called make snack foods widely accessible. Generally the foods that people snack on include chips, crackers, candy bars, cookies and pastries. These treats are void of nutrition and therefore do not give your body the needed substance to trigger the “full” line. These snacks are also formulated to make our minds crave more (so we will buy them again) so in short we just continue to shove them mindlessly down our throats. As a society we have made ourselves believe that junk food is not really that bad for us. Oh, we all have seen news segments on different food items and it might make us boycott one brand for a short time, but we tend to forget or rationalize that the FDA would never allow harmful food on the market. (FDA is for a whole other blog post! I can’t seem to get all my feelings about them out on paper quite yet.)
If we Americans would eat real food snacks such as apples and peanut butter, vegetables and hummus, and nuts, we could save our bodies all the added what-have-yous and give are body the nutrients it needs to keep healthy and full saving our wallets in the long run.
6. Drop the Diet foods!
Don’t be the one the falls for the diet food and “health” food fads. If it’s a chip, it’s a chip! Making it sound better by saying 25% less sodium or Vegan or even Organic doesn’t make it healthier. Take an adventure to your grocery store and peruse the snack isle. Want to talk oxymoron! Tell me how a cookie can be diet or healthy!? But we Americans fall for these traps every day. We spend thousands of dollars on diet foods that don’t do anything other than substitute one bad habit for another.
Instead of reaching for the baked potato chips, dehydrate your own apples and sprinkle a little cinnamon on them or one of my favorites get some black bean crackers!
I found this interesting chart on Forbes.com. Very Telling don’t you think?
Trying to be healthy and save money is a doable task. It is something that you must constantly be aware of and strive to perfect.
What are some ways you save money and live healthier at the same time?