Putting vegetables and fruits into your nutrition doesn't have to be expensive if you keep a couple of very simple things in mind.
Healthy Eating On A Budget
I recently gave you my personal definition of healthy eating, so I won't go into that again in detail. Let's say that it's a good idea to keep your weight in the healthy range and to choose your food from a wide variety of sources.
In general that means including a bit more produce in your eating, which many people fear is too expensive for them. But you really don't have to spend a fortune to get fruits and vegetables on your plate. Just heeding one or two of these tips can have a positive impact on the quality of your nutrition and still keep your wallet from going anorexic:
1. It Doesn't Have To Be Organic
While organic foods often are much pricier than non-organic foods, they likely come with fewer pesticides and such, which for many people puts them in the triple A healthy category. However, eating non-organic fruits and vegetables is still indefinitely healthier than not eating them at all.
2. Buy In Season
Fruits and vegetables that are in season are almost always much less pricy and fresher than whatever has to be imported from far away. This little list gives you a general idea when to buy what, but keep in mind that depending on where you live, things might be a bit different. Australia's summer is, after all, North America's winter.
3. Buy Reduced
To push the cost down further, check your supermarket for a reduced rack. Apples that have a bruised spot, bananas on the verge of being overripe, cucumbers not so uniform in color etc. will often end up in there for a much lower price than the regular offerings and are perfectly edible. All you have to do is cut out the bad spots and not let them sit too long.
4. Be A Latecomer
If you prefer to buy at farmers markets, go late. The pickings may be slimmer, but whatever is left will be a lot cheaper, as the sellers dread the thought of carting their leftovers back home.
5. Canned And Frozen Is Ok, Too
Should you find an especially good deal on canned or frozen fruits or vegetables, go ahead and buy them. These stay good for a very long time and can contain more nutrients than their fresh brothers and sisters. Fresh produce is often harvested before being fully ripe, which limits nutrient contents. Fruits and vegetables to be canned or frozen are picked at the optimal ripeness point.
6. Legumes Are Your Friend
The biggest bang for the buck between cost and nutritional values you get with legumes (beans, lentils etc.). They make an excellent addition to your palate, as they are cheap, very filling and still chock-full with protein, minerals and vitamins.
7. Prepare Your Own
Last but not least, the more prepared a food is, the more you pay. Pre-cut vegetables, peeled potatoes, instant rice etc. cost way more than buying the "raw" thing and preparing it yourself.
Add Your Tip!
If you have a tip on healthy eating on a budget, add it in the comments! There are probably many I missed and I'd be interested in hearing them!
Picture courtesy of "Images Money".