Eating Healthy on a Budget. Real life tips from a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist on simple ways to eat healthy on a budget.
I’m a budget girl. While I definitely appreciate the finer things in life, I’m also fairly conscientious when it comes to spending. I prefer to shop at second-hand stores, scour travel websites for deals and drive a 10-year-old car.
So, it’s no surprise that I take the same stance when it comes to food. I want the best (organic, non-gmo, ethically sourced, fair-trade) but I don’t have an unlimited budget to pay for it. Since my job is full time grocery shopper recipe developer, I know my way around the stores and what’s worth it and what isn’t. Below are my tips for what works best for my family.
Choose Organic When It Makes Sense
I don’t purchase everything organic. While I’d love to, I also know that would severely limit my overall food funds, especially when I sometimes make multiple versions of a meal to get it right. Therefore, I buy organic when it matters. I know there’s the “dirty dozen” list (the twelve foods with the highest pesticide exposure), but I don’t always abide by that.
Instead, I think about what vegetables and fruits we eat the most. I purchase fresh raspberries only a handful of times throughout the year, mostly in June and July when they are in season and actually taste like berries. The rest of the year, I’m happy to skip (or use frozen). So, even though fresh raspberries are at the top of the dirty dozen list, it doesn’t always make sense for me to purchase them organic. The exposure I get a handful of times I enjoy them is dwarfed by the foods I eat on a constant basis.
Therefore, I consider what vegetable and fruits I’m always buying and purchase organic there; lettuce, apples & carrots top the list. If it’s a vegetable or fruit with a hard shell, I usually opt for the conventional version since I’ll be taking the peel or outer layer off, like in avocados or melons. Picking and choosing which foods I buy organic allows me to feel like I’m getting the biggest bang for my pesticide-free buck.
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