How to Keep Your Diet, and Your Finances, Healthy
Isn’t it ironic?
With healthier foods so much more expensive than the rest, it almost seems like you have to make a choice … Your nutrition or your wallet? It’s enough to make almost anybody throw their ‘eating better’ resolution right into the ol’ compost heap!
The good news? There are some ways to watch your finances and your other ‘bottom line’ if you’re willing to do some planning, a bit of work, and make all aspects of your health a top priority.
Here are our suggestions for doing just that:
- Cook larger portions of whatever you make so you’ll have enough for a few meals. This saves time and money (the more you cook, the more you buy, and larger quantities mean savings), and knowing you’ll have food for later will prevent impulse buying or binge eating.
- Bring your lunch to work. This is how you control what’s in your food, and that adds up to big savings, and perhaps fewer inches around the waist, as well. Need a breather from your desk? Of course, you do. Bring your homemade lunch to a conference room, a colleague’s space, or when the weather’s nice, go outside.
- Shop with a list of healthy foods, stick to that list and don’t even think about going food shopping when you’re hungry. This will help you avoid spending and eating temptations.
- Don’t pay for silly conveniences. Yes, you can buy prepared fruits and vegetables (chopped or slivered), or you can cut and wash them yourself and save. Don’t sweat the easy stuff.
- Collect healthy, simple, quick recipes online and keep them handy. Opt for meals that have ingredients you’re likely to have around.
- Buy fresh produce while it’s in season and freeze it for later use.
- Don’t buy processed and/or unhealthy foods. If they’re in your house, you (or someone you love) is going to eat them instead of something more nutritious. For quick snacks, buy healthy foods like nuts and raisins, string cheese, yogurt, peanut butter, or cut-up veggies.
- It’s easy to be lured by fancy companies, brand names, or labels. Generic foods are often made with identical ingredients and are a lot less expensive, and even less expensive with coupons.
- Make it your goal not to eat out more than once a week. Having someone cook for you and wait on you is awesome, but it comes with a price tag and possible nutritional or caloric question marks that all add up.
- You can buy the finest cuts of meats and produce that are out of season and not grown locally, but you’ll pay for it. Less expensive cuts are delicious in soups, stews, and casseroles, and, because stews utilize other bulky ingredients, they’ll go a lot further.
- Don’t dismiss quick-frozen fruits, especially for smoothies or dessert toppings. These tend to be reasonably priced, and are as good for you as fresh.
- Think about buying nutritional foods with staying power in bulk. Buying in bulk saves money and ensures some healthy options are always on hand. Nuts, dried fruits, cereals, whole grains, oatmeal, and beans (along with eggs) are good sources of protein, less expensive than meat, and they encourage variety and provide the body with needed trace minerals and vitamins.
- Other good rules of thumb include collecting coupons for healthy foods; researching healthy online retailers; trying your hand at making Asian, Indian, or Mediterranean recipes, which often utilize healthier ingredients; and visiting local farmer's markets for great deals.
- Drink filtered tap water rather than bottled water … It’s good for you, the environment, and your pocketbook. For water on the go, buy a reusable bottle, and fill it from your home supply. There are many great, affordable bottle options to choose from.
- If you like to work with apps, think about looking at ones that direct you to local produce markets and restaurants with healthier menu selections. There are also apps that provide the nutritional information of everything you consume at home or in restaurants.
Learn more about Squeeze, your financial concierge for planning, savings, and debt management.
Happy healthy eating, happy healthy savings.