I hear it all the time: claims that you can’t eat healthy on a budget. Well, It’s just not true. You may have to plan things out a bit more, but the extra time is worth it. You can nourish your family with the best foods if you know where to look and what to buy. You don’t have to buy all organic produce or feel like you can only shop at high end grocery stores to make a difference in your lifestyle. Compare a pound of quinoa at around $3.99 that makes several meals, versus one fast food meal that costs at least $5.00. Plan, and you can save and be healthy.
Here are some easy tips to keep a healthy diet, no matter what your budget is:
Buy in Bulk
You can buy produce and Beauty Food staples in bulk at stores like Costco, and that can save you a surprising amount of money. You can purchase raw nuts, seeds, grains, spices, and condiments and then store them in airtight containers in your pantry so you’re always stocked up. They even have great produce items, like big bags of organic spinach or carrots.
If you can set aside one day per week to make your Glowing Green Smoothies and prepare (and in some cases, freeze) your meals, you won’t have to worry about the produce going bad, so you’ll be saving time and money.
(Tip: You can freeze your Glowing Green Smoothies and move one from freezer to fridge each night so you have one ready to go first thing in the morning. Just give it a stir in the morning!)
Stores Like Trader Joe’s and Aldi
While you won’t be buying in bulk and you may not be buying all organic produce in these stores, you can save money when you bypass the premade foods (especially at Trader Joe’s) and go straight for the fresh, natural ingredients. TJ’s has great lemons, avocados, organic romaine hearts and more. At Aldi stores, you can sometimes find produce at a fraction of the cost you would in other grocery stores. Just keep the Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen in mind as you shop (you may want to make a list so you don’t forget what’s on each list!) so you can put more money to buying organic for the “dirty” produce items, which have more pesticides.
The Dirty Dozen
If you can’t go completely organic, do as much good as you can by purchasing as much organic food on the Dirty Dozen list as possible. EWG’s list of the Dirty Dozen includes the produce you should do your best- given your budget- to buy organic because of the amount of pesticides sprayed on them (if budget is a serious issue and you can’t get these organic either, soak for at least half an hour with veggie wash and water, or diluted raw apple cider vinegar).
- Sweet bell peppers
There’s also a list of the Clean Fifteen, which you don’t necessarily need to purchase organic:
- Sweet peas
- Domestic cantaloupe
- Sweet corn
- Sweet potatoes
By just following this list, you can cut down on up to 80 percent of your pesticide consumption. If you’re buying produce that you’ll be removing the outer peel from anyway, you can usually get away without buying organic. However, the nutritional content may not be as high in conventionally grown produce as it is in organic.
Scout Out the Sales and Plan Your Shopping List Accordingly
Planning ahead can allow you to save money on your grocery bill, too. Apps like Food on the Table and PushPins let you enter the grocery stores you typically visit and they’ll alert you to any sales. Be sure to check weekly ad circulars to get a good idea of what’s on sale when you start planning your meals.
You may not find produce on the list very often, but you could stock up on Beauty Grains, for example, or other items that you tend to buy when you’re grocery shopping, like toothpaste and toilet paper. Every little bit of savings counts, right? Being aware of the current and upcoming sales will show you where you should shop this week for the greatest savings and may even inspire you to be creative with your Beauty Detox-friendly meal planning.
Shopping for what’s in season will also save you money, with no need for coupons or special ads. Don’t be afraid to make changes to your Beauty Detox Recipes based on what’s in season.
Make Your Food Last
If you hate buying produce only to find that it’s gone bad before you’ve had a chance to enjoy it, employ a few techniques to keep your food fresh as long as possible. There’s a fabulous collection of tips on Buzzfeed, like how to keep onions for up to eight months when you store them in pantyhose, and how to make your bananas last longer by wrapping the top of the bunch in plastic wrap.
Some of my favorite storage tips include:
- Store your sweet potatoes, garlic, and onions in a dark, cool place.
- Delicate greens and celery should be eaten within a few days. Keep them in a bag until it’s time to wash them, then wash them in cold water. You can do the same with other Beauty Greens, like kale, but the heartier varieties will last a little longer in the refrigerator before you get around to eating them.
These tips won’t necessarily save you money on your grocery trip unless you’re shopping the sales and buy more than you need even if you don’t know what you’ll do with it yet, but they may prevent you from needing to return to the store to re-purchase ingredients that went bad in your refrigerator or on the counter.
Beauty Detox Recipes that Don’t Cost a Fortune to Make
I’ve shared several recipes here and in Beauty Detox Foods that are nutritious, affordable, and taste amazing. Here are a few of my favorites—and they don’t cost much more than $5 per person to make, if that:
In fact, most of the Beauty Detox recipes are relatively inexpensive to make once you have a well-stocked spice cabinet and pantry with all the basics.
The Beauty Detox Plant-Based Diet Is Less Expensive Than One that Involves Meat
Just by skipping over the pre-packaged foods where you pay extra for the convenience of having to do less of the cooking and prep work, you’ll find that you’re saving a lot of money. If you’re following the Beauty Detox plan and avoiding meat, you’ll spend less overall because a plant-based diet is so much cheaper than one that features an animal protein at just about every meal. Cook up some sweet potatoes or millet and make a huge salad at the beginning of the week, and pull from it for a few days so you aren’t in a huge bind and tired after work and end up buying more food out.
Be disciplined on Sundays or at least one day during the week to make some things- and you will end up saving a lot of moola and eat better. And feel much better, I might add!
Grow Your Own Foods and Herbs
You may be surprised just how easy it is to grow some foods—or in the very least, herbs—in your home. Try growing basil, cilantro, or rosemary by your kitchen window. Ha! you might say, how can I do that? While we’re all really busy, these are things that honestly won’t take up much of your time. You can buy plants in the grocery store that will pay for themselves several times over. As for more substantial foods, start a container garden on your balcony or deck if you have the space, and you can grow tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, carrots, and more. Some people line up mason jars on their walls inside and grow a variety of herbs there.
There’s nothing fresher than produce picked off of your own plants right before they go into your meals. It will cost a bit more upfront to purchase the container, the soil, and the seeds, but as long as you plan ahead and take good care of the plants, you’ll be able to save money in the long run. You can have your own little mini-garden of Beauty Foods in no time, and there’s something so satisfying about pulling your next meal off of plants you cared for with your own hands.
Learn How to Make the Most of Your Produce
Get creative and invent new ways to use the parts of the plants you might not normally use. For example, try something with lemon zest if you bought organic lemons for your daily hot water with lemon or your Glowing Green Smoothies. Find new ways to use almond pulp after you’ve made almond milk (try dehydrating it and making crackers!). When you use your produce in new ways, you’re spending less on other products, like crackers.
Community Supported Agriculture Groups and Farmers’ Markets
With community supported agriculture groups, you make monthly payments and get weekly boxes of fresh produce from farms during harvest times and growing seasons. You get to build a relationship with the farmer, save money, and the mix of fruits and vegetables you get in your box each week will inspire you to be creative in the meals you cook. You’ll get a variety of Beauty Foods in the freshest possible state, right off the farm without days of travel time between the farm and your table.
If you eat eggs, you may be able to get fresh eggs—eggs that haven’t been bathed in chlorine like the ones at the grocery store have—through a CSA group.
There is a slight risk involved for everyone who participates, though: if the crops do poorly for some reason, you don’t get your money back. If the crops are abundant, you’ll have a nice box of beautiful produce each week. Everyone’s in it together no matter what the outcome.
Farmers’ markets are a great way to get fresh, local produce for less. To find local farmers’ markets and CSAs, visit LocalHarvest.org. They’re usually held once per week in the same location. There’s less risk involved than there is with a CSA. You simply find your nearest market, head over, and purchase what you think looks good. You’ll get to know the farmers, ask them questions about their farming practices, and have exposure to new vegetables and fruits this way, too.
Try these tips, save, and live the best life you can, which includes a clean, healthy diet. You deserve it!