A lifestyle of poor diet and lack of exercise kills about 400,000 North Americans every year. That is as many who have died from smoking, can you imagine?? And that’s only North America. This statistic does not reflect the rest of the world that eats poorly and neglects to exercise!
It’s a tough world out there and today’s grocery store is no exception. Navigating the grocery store successfully and buying the healthy foods you need and avoiding the unhealthy ones that could kill you can be a huge challenge. Healthy foods need not bankrupt you or make you spend untold hours in the kitchen. Here are some tips for getting healthy happening in your kitchen today:
- Fast Food. Look for stuff that is fast and easy to make, like sweet potatoes (stab, bake, eat). Cheap eats, massively good for you and filling.
- Go Green. Baby spinach is fast-food friendly too. Not as cheap as sweet ‘taters, but worth the cost of admission! I like mine stir-fried (little bit of olive oil and lotsa garlic!) and in salads.
- Grown Your Own. Having a veggie garden is a lot easier than you think. There are a lot of great books on Amazon about this.
- Thirst Out. Water is about as economical as it can get. If you want clean and fresh water, check out different water purifiers and start pile driving the water. Cheaper than anything else you can drink!
- Seasonal Stuff. Buy in season (summer is the time to find cheap watermelon, not the middle of winter), buy locally when at all possible and buy organically if you can.
- Garlic and Onions. Very inexpensive and will ratchet up the flavor and potency of nearly anything you make, not to mention the antioxidant factors as well. Keep them on hand!
- Read Labels. And remember, if you have to spend 10 minutes deciphering a food’s label with unpronounceable chemical additives and you have no earthly idea what they are, your body doesn’t know what they are either. Not only that, but you’re going to pay for those expensive chemicals at the cash register and in your own health. Skip anything with fake colors, flavorings or “flavor enhancers”…they all ROB you of your health!
- Eat your veggies. Go heavy on the veggies. In the summer, we have fresh tomato sauce on zucchini “pasta” with chopped fresh oregano. You can throw in a cooked chicken breast and you have a complete meal. I grow tomatoes, zucchini and oregano in my garden and the whole meal is divine!
Here are a few ways to keep nutrition high and costs low.
- Buy ingredients. Not packages. Look for ingredients to make your own healthy no-grain-ola instead of buying the healthiest granola bars in the store. Buy some meat, tomatoes, and noodles instead of a packaged lasagna. Make your own condiments. Skip the convenience and you’ll save money (and you usually end up with more food). Every. Time.
- Buy frozen. Frozen veggies are just as nutritious as fresh veggies, but they cost a significant amount less. Buy enough fresh produce to last you the first part of the week, and rely on veggies from the freezer when it’s coming back around to shopping day.
- Be smart with meat. Buy whole chickens instead of chicken pieces. Learn how to cook with less expensive cuts of meat. Better yet? Find a group of people to chip in together on a whole animal from a local farmer.
- Choose organic only when necessary. If you don’t have the means to shop exclusively for organic foods, shop by the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists put out by http://ewg.org
- Quit splurging. Do you need individual coffee pods? Is $4 bottled water a require-ment? Do you need “healthy” desserts and treats? Nope. You’re wasting your money. Instead, invest your paycheck into real foods.
- Plan meals. If you create a shopping list according to your weekly meal plan, you can keep a much tighter rein on your budget. And always, always stick to the list!
Don’t become a statistic and please don’t think healthy food is out of your reach or budget! It’s not hard, it’s enjoyable and the cool thing about eating healthy, grown in the ground food is you always know what you’re eating—no labels necessary!