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Learn How to Eat Healthy On a Budget - Tips and Tricks to Save More While Eating Well

Updated on October 7, 2016

Are You Living to Eat or Eating to Live?

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Ingredients to Avoid When Trying to Eat Healthy

Here is a list of ingredients you should try to avoid when you are trying to eat healthier:

  • High fructose Corn Syrup
  • Hydrogenated or Partially Hydrogenated Oils
  • Multi-wheat or Wheat Bread (always look for WHOLE wheat bread)
  • Aspertame, Saccharan, Sucralose
  • Refined Oils (Corn Oil, Canola Oil, Soybean Oil...)
  • Sodium Nitrate and/or MSG
  • Artificial Colors or Dyes
  • Anything you cannot pronounce

How to Navigate the Grocery Store

When you go grocery shopping, do you go up and down each aisle searching for items you need? Do you instantly grab what's on sale or what catches your eye first? If you said yes to any of these questions, then you are shopping exactly the way the food industry wants you to shop.

Almost every grocery store is designed the same way - the produce and the dairy are on the perimiter, while the snacks, chips, sodas and junk food are sandwiched in the middle. On top of that, product placement on the shelves is just as intricately thought out as which aisle an item should go in.

The products that are at eye level for the average adult are often unhealthy, affordable items produced by some of the most popular brands - that is because this shelf space costs the most money.

When you go grocery shopping, keep in mind that the food industry does not have your best intentions in mind. Their goal is not to create a healthy product that nourishes your body. Their goal is to create a tasty, affordable product that has a long shelf life.

To navigate the grocery store in a way that benefits you and not the food industry, you have to throw out all of your grocery shopping habits. Focus on the perimeter of the store, where the freshest food is placed.

When you are navigating the interior of the store you have to be more attentive. Don't allow yourself to become distracted by labels or price tags, but instead, educate yourself on what to look for and what to avoid. Most often, the healthier products are placed on the top and bottom shelves, places where shoppers are less likely to look.

Learn More About Budget Friendly Ways to Eat Healthy

Learning How to Read Labels on Food Products

If you have a goal to eat healthier, you need to know what you are putting into your body. Many people who think that they know what to look for when shopping for healthy items are often surprised when they find out what they are actually ingesting.

Labels lie. If there is one thing you take away from this piece, let it be this, don't trust what you read on a label. Fat-free, low-fat, heart healthy, low-carb and sugar free are all just clever phrases the food industry uses to get you to purchase their product. Even terms like organic don't always accurately reflect what you are buying.

Fortified and enriched are two terms that the food industry use to try to convince consumers that a food is healthy, when really it is just injected with nutrients that aren't absorbed by the body the same way that actual nutrients are absorbed.

Fat is not a bad thing. If you are someone who is prone to buying fat-free everything, then you are doing your body a disservice. Fat is a good thing that is needed by the heart to stay healthy. However, there are good fats and there are bad fats. Mono-unsaturated fats, as well as omega-3 fatty acids are the good kinds of fat, while saturated and trans fats are the types of fats that clog arteries and lead to diabetes.

Look for hidden sugars. Juices, fruit drinks, snacks, bread and even many frozen entrees are all loaded with sugar. Sugar is the leading cause of diabetes, and unless it is naturally occurring in a product, sugar has no nutritional benefits whatsoever.

The Healthiest Shopping Cart is a Colorful Shopping Cart

One tip to help you ensure that you are eating a nutritious diet is to make sure you include a plethora of colors each day.
One tip to help you ensure that you are eating a nutritious diet is to make sure you include a plethora of colors each day. | Source

How to Grocery Shop on a Budget while Still Eating Healthy

Grocery shopping on a budget is difficult when you are trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Unfortunately, many of the foods that are healthiest for us are not exactly the options that are most affordable, but this shouldn't stop those who are on a budget from choosing the healthiest foods they can afford.

Here are some tips and tricks to shopping for healthy foods while living on a budget:

  • Browse circulars for a number of local grocery stores before shopping. Make notes about which stores have deals on certain healthy items on your list. If you have enough time, go to more then one store if it means you don't have to sacrifice quality for cost. If you don't have the time, choose the store that will help you get the most bang for your buck
  • Make a list of healthy food items that have long shelf lives and try to purchase these items in bulk whenever you find a good sale.
  • Consider local farmers markets and other places that sell fresh, local produce. Compare their prices to what you are paying now, taking into account the health benefits of buying locally.
  • Eat seasonally to save more. Strawberries in season can cost half the price of fresh strawberries out of season. By knowing which items on your list grow when, and planning your shopping trips around it, you can save a ton.
  • When you are cooking a healthy dinner, make a large amount and store the leftovers in tupperware for meals or snacks during the week.

Watch this Helpful Video Providing Healthy, Budget Friendly Meals for the Whole Family

I found this book to be extremely enlightening in regards to the impact our food choices have on our bodies.

The Importance of Eating a Healthy Diet

Many people underestimate the importance of a healthy, balanced diet. Often, those who are either at a healthy weight or even overweight for their age and height are actually malnourished.

We are a nation that is overfed and under-nourished. We eat too much of the wrong types of food, leading to an epidemic of diabetes and obesity.

More than 80% of American adults are deficient in at least one essential vitamin or mineral, such as Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Iron and Potassium. Nutrient deficiencies lead to a number of health conditions, including diabetes, high cholesterol, anemia, and osteoporosis.

A healthy diet is a balanced diet, not some fad diet that favors restricting fat intake or limiting the amount of carbohydrates in one's diet. In order to ensure that your diet is one that is nourishing your body properly, make sure you are eating a wide variety of fresh, unprocessed foods.

Instead of Buying Processed Frozen Dinners, Set Some Time Aside to Make a Healthy Homecooked Meal

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© 2014 Kathleen Odenthal Romano

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    • Kathleen Odenthal profile image
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      Kathleen Odenthal Romano 2 years ago from Bayonne, New Jersey

      Thank you! yes, it is a shame that produce is so pricey, that's why i stock up on whatever organics are on sale each week. luckily im not picky when it comes to my fruits and vegetables!

    • swilliams profile image

      Emunah La Paz 2 years ago from Arizona

      Great article! The pictures are beautiful! I have noticed that fruit and Vegetables are more expensive, which is a shame that we all have to pay more to live a healthy life. Thanks for providing useful tips in this article! Voted up and tweeted out!

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 2 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Words of wisdom that should be a must-read for everyone.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 2 years ago from Central Florida

      Kathleen, I keep an ongoing grocery list between my weekly or bi-weekly trips. I write down what I'm running out of so I know what to buy. Then I go thru my coupons and pull those for items on my list. Next I consult my grocery store's weekly flyer and see what's on sale, noting the price for items I need or can freeze for later.

      You give good advice when you say to shop the perimeter of the store. That's where produce, meats, fish, and dairy are found. All the rest is crap with the exception of paper goods, cleaning supplies, pet food, etc.

      When buying produce, look for labels that are preceded by the numbers 94 on the sticky thingie. That indicates foods that adhere to the USDA organic growers guidelines.

      Great article my friend. Sorry I'm so late to the party.

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 2 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      If you want to live on a minimum expenditure for food, avoid the 80% of the 600,000 store items that contain sugar and eat what the poor of the world eat to sustain themselves (e.g. rice and beans and fruit, plus plenty of the purest water you can find...not the distilled water which lacks needed minerals.)

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