We are in an era where fast foods and processed foods are more popular than real, organic foods. Unfortunately, the effects of having such an unhealthy diet are being felt right around the world. Chronic diseases are always on the rise due to poor diet choices and a sedentary lifestyle. These days it’s all about convenience, not health. Depression, diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular diseases are some of the biggest causes of early deaths in many countries, however, the chances of these diseases occurring can be lowered if we change to a healthier diet and lifestyle.

We know that a healthy diet is the basis of a well-functioning body. Many experts and scientists believe that food is the primary source of energy for all bodily functions. They also believe that eating the right kind of food can help in healing the body from certain diseases. This will also help the body to reduce its dependency on medicines and certain supplements. There are many reasons why you should eat healthy, besides the obvious reasons mentioned above. Many studies have shown that the impact of good health on your quality of life is far-reaching. It doesn’t matter what your sex, age or physical ability is, if you eat and live healthy, the benefits will be  never ending.

Healthy Eating Should Not Be Expensive

At present, many people are going back to the basics, meaning going back to eating natural foods. And because many people are choosing to be healthy, many stores are putting a premium on these popular food products. Governments are also providing more support to processed food manufacturers than local farmers. But eating healthy should not be expensive! For those people thinking that it’s just too expensive to eat healthy, a new study had shed some light on this matter and the results are surprising.

Researchers at the Harvard School Of Public Health have concluded that a healthy diet will cost about $1.50 more per day as compared to an unhealthy diet. The results came out after analysing 27 studies on the average costs of a healthy diet vs. an unhealthy diet. These result could mean that in a year, a person will spend $550 extra on food if they choose to eat healthy.

There are several factors that contribute to expensive healthy eating. First is the costs involved in the packaging and processing of foods. Another factor is the price differences between meat cuts; a healthy serving of meat will be sold for about 30 cents more than the less-healthy cuts of meat. Researchers found that healthier (more expensive) cuts require better processing techniques while the mass-produced and lower-end products are cheaper to process, pack and ship. Thus, if you want to eat healthier, there will be a premium. Another factor at blame are the government subsidies that place price discrepancies among food choices. This is certainly the case in the US and Australia. The government puts subsidies on crops that can be stripped of their nutrients and hyper refined just like corn and soy, while the healthier crops never receive government assistance, effectively keeping prices at a premium. Many governments are more able to support the production of unhealthy food, thus making it cheaper.

But when you really think about it, eating cheap food can actually be more expensive down the road. When you consider the increased chances of developing chronic diseases, depression and other related conditions, you will be spending more on medicine and healthcare later in life if you don’t start making changes right now. Whenever you eat at a fast food restaurant, try to compare the low price of the burger and fries to whole organic foods which are a bit more expensive in the short term. The total cost will not reflect in that immediate moment, but those healthy decisions are likely to cost far less over a lifetime.

10 Ways To Eat Healthy Within Your Budget

You can start eating healthy within your budget by making small changes to your shopping list or cooking routine. Try these 10 options:

1. Cooking At Home

If you’re used to buying takeout or dining out, then this is a big change for you. Cooking at home should be your default option if you want to feed yourself healthy food. This way you can choose the ingredients, cook how much you like and possibly keep the leftovers. Remember: eating out is expensive!

2. Swap From Fresh To Frozen

If fruits are in season, you can buy them at a cheap price either by piece or in bulk. But when they go out of season, prices can go up significantly. However, if you’re used to eating fruits during all seasons, swap fresh fruits for the frozen ones. Frozen fruits cost much less and they are just as nutritious as the fresh ones. Plus frozen fruits will not go bad for a long time as compared to fresh ones which can go bad after a few days. Throwing away rotten food is like throwing your money in the trash.

3. Shop Every Week

You will be motivated to cook at home instead of eating out if you have a good stock of fresh food in your fridge at all times. Make it a habit of buying food ahead of time so that you will not be tempted to waste money on eating out. It will also save you time and effort if you have a shopping list for the week before going to the market or grocery.

4. Quick Oats Instead Of Instant Oatmeal

Instant oatmeal is great, but purchasing a huge canister of quick oats is far more cost effective. Compare the unit price of each and it is more economical to buy a large quick oats than constantly stocking up on the instant packets. Plus, instant oats are full of sugars. Quick oats are a better choice; you can always sweeten them with fruits and organic honey.

Image credit: www.healthcastle.com

Image credit: www.healthcastle.com

5. Shop At The Farmers Market

Dedicated hipster health and organic stores will cost you an arm and a leg for anything that they sell. Rather than handing your whole paycheck over, you can do your weekly healthy shopping at your local farmer’s market. You can be sure that their produce is a lot cheaper and you can also get some discounts or bargain prices when you buy in bulk. And you’re directly helping local farmers earn more, rather than buying from a big business chain.

6. Eat More Leafy Greens

Leafy greens like spinach, broccoli, kale, chard and collards are some of the most nutritious and least expensive vegetables you can buy. This is true at any grocery store or farmer’s market. You can also make kale chips, which are cheaper than manufactured vegetable chips available at supermarkets. Plus, these vegetables are easy to prepare and can cost you around $1.50-$2.00 for your entire dinner.

7. Canned Fish

There are types of fish that are on the expensive side when bought fresh and salmon is definitely one of them. We know that salmon is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, but buying it fresh is not always friendly to the budget.  You can swap fresh salmon for canned salmon which is cheaper and you still get the essential fatty acids. Although canned fish may contain a higher amount of sodium, it’s a cheaper alternative. Canned salmon can also be made into a very tasty salmon salad for lunch.

Image credit: www.meals4one.com

Image credit: www.meals4one.com

8. Dried Fruits And Nuts

Granola bars will take a huge chunk out of your shopping budget every week, plus they contain a lot of sugar and preservatives. Buy dried fruits like dates, prunes, mangoes, or raisins and nuts like almonds or walnuts. Eating dried fruit and nuts together is a very healthy and filling snack which also satisfies your sweet tooth.

9. Check Your Fridge For Leftovers

The first step on your shopping plan should be to check your fridge for stock that you already have enough of as well as what items need to be replenished. Take time to move things around in the fridge and scour your food cabinets to see what you have on hand. Most of the time, you will be surprised by what you can find. Instead of buying these items again, just incorporate them into your next week’s menu.

Image credit: toogoodtowastesa.com

Image credit: toogoodtowastesa.com

10. Think Long Term

We’re not saying that buying everything from the farmer’s market is the cheapest shopping option. Yes, they can give you discounts if you haggle or buy things in season, but it is certainly the healthier option. There will be days that you crave greasy, salty or sweet food, but consider what you’re paying for in the long run, as mentioned earlier. A farm fresh salad, a pack of dried fruits and nuts is cheaper than a hospital trip and a lifetime’s worth of medication – so eat healthy!

About Author

Jon specialises in research and content creation for content marketing campaigns. He’s worked on campaigns for some of Australia's largest brands including across Technology, Cloud Computing, Renewable energy and Corporate event management. He’s an avid scooterist and musician.