27 Feb Healthy Eating On A Budget!
Budgeting your time and resources is key to succeeding in all areas of life; and this is especially true when it comes to your health. What does your budget look like and how often are you preparing home-cooked meals versus eating out?
Consider this food for thought…to feed a family of four dinner at a sit-down, moderately priced restaurant, you would probably spend a minimum of $50 if everyone were to eat a meal and order a drink instead of having water. Add in a 20% tip and you’re at $60 for the outing. If you were to eat out one more time in the same week, you’d be spending $120.00. The cost of convenience can add up very quickly and while it’s nice to do once in a while, it serves us best to understand the expense of it and make decisions that will serve our financial needs and health goals.
The same situation can occur when you purchase prepackaged goods instead of whole food items. A bag of steel cut oats will provide you more meals than a box of breakfast cereal, a bag of brown rice can serve a family of four two to three meals when accompanied by protein and vegetables, and a bag of beans can be cooked and used for two pots of soup.
The best rule of thumb to follow when grocery shopping for the week is to purchase as many whole foods as possible and leave the boxed items in the center aisles for everyone else! While it may require a bit more work on your part to prepare the whole foods, you receive far greater benefits this way.
- You’ll be providing your family foods that contain the highest amounts of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients which are all essential for health and disease prevention.
- You control all the preparation and the ingredients that go into your meals.
- It is far less expensive to buy whole foods and bake snacks for your family than purchasing them in a prepackaged form.
- If indeed you do purchase a transition food (such as an organic chicken sausage, or prepackaged fresh salsa, or a can of beans) to be used in your recipe, you’ll still save money if you plan for the majority of the meal to come from whole grains, vegetables and greens.
- You’ll be saving money in the future! The quality of food available to us in restaurants isn’t always the best and rarely is it organic. Eating out too often, or relying on prepackaged foods will feed disease in the body and cost you a lot more in the long run when you’re paying for doctor visits, medicine and possibly hospital visits. Do the work now, and budget accordingly so you can spend your retirement funds on fun activities instead of disease and ill health.
Budgeting for healthy food requires you to prioritize what’s important. You’ll need to choose where to invest your money to best serve your family. Small changes can add up to big savings; you can make your own popcorn and bring it with you to the movies, treat yourself to a Starbucks coffee once a week instead of the daily routine, pack your lunch for work and enjoy a lunch outing with friends once in a while, and bring a water bottle with you wherever you go to fill it up from the tap versus buying bottled water all the time.
A healthy exercise is to keep a log of your spending for one week, and encourage your spouse to do the same. Sit down together after completing the log and find areas where you could improve on your budget so you may afford what’s most important to you.