Dr. Bakker’s Tips for Healthy Eating on a Tight Budget
There’s a common misconception that you have to be wealthy to eat healthy. The fact is, processed and prepared meals are usually much more costly than their natural counterparts. And if you’re calculating health cost, it’s simple: no one can afford to eat junk food. Here are some tips that I bet can not only make your grocery haul healthier, but also cheaper:
- Choose local whenever possible. A lot of produce and meat in stores is trucked in from another state, or even another country. Food loses freshness and nutrient value during transit. Buying home-grown ensures freshness and supports local business.
- Always bring a list. Even if you’re going in for a few items, list it up. Going off a list makes it much easier to avoid overspending and buying things you don’t need.
- Don’t stress about organic. If the organic option isn’t affordable, go with ‘regular.’ With fruits and vegetables, a good wash should take care of any pesticide residue or germs. There are simple natural washes you can make at home for this purpose (here’s a couple via The Sprouting Seed).
- Scope out your local food co-op and market scene. Many local growers and producers will sell the public, even if they don’t advertise. Need help with your search? There are websites where you can search your area for locally grown food. LocalHarvest.org and EatWellGuide.org are good places to get started.
- Stay away from premade, precooked and processed foods from the frozen and pantry sections. They may seem cheap, but you’re basically paying for artificial flavor, lots of salt, and very little to no nutrition. A better solution is to make an entrée in bulk, then freeze single, meal-ready portions that are just as fast but much healthier.
- Become a meal planner. Many of us will shrug when asked ‘what’s for dinner?’ Planning meals ahead of time, if even for a few days, makes it easier to stay disciplined and avoid opting for takeout or delivery. If you’re about to make that call, think of the groceries you could buy with the money from one takeout order. You might be shocked!
- Keep the impulses in check. Avoid those register sale cookies and giant bags of fat and salt-ridden chips. Just say no! Your wallet (and digestive system) will thank you.
- Buy fresh over frozen. Fresh and raw produce will always be the best option. Choose fresh over frozen whenever possible, and when not choose frozen over canned.
- Stick with what you need. Do a fridge, freezer and pantry check before grocery shopping. Make note of things you already have stock of to avoid overbuying.
- Check out the store brands. For most things there is little to no discernable difference, and many times it’s the exact same product as the name brand but with a different label!
- Become coupon-savvy. Coupons are all over: in the mail, online, on your receipts, and even on the product itself.
- Always take a calculator. Not all price tags list the per unit price. Using a calculator makes it easier to compare and break down unit prices. Don’t forget: most phones have a basic calculator (even the old flip phones!).
- Stick to the periphery. In most food stores, produce and other fresh foods are located around the outsides, with processed and frozen foods in the middle aisles. It will also save time to not have to cruise up and down each aisle.
- Buy in bulk when it makes sense. Many foods you’ll use regularly–particularly grains, flours, nuts, cereals, and spices–are available in bulk. These bulk items are usually much cheaper per unit than prepackaged versions, so you get more for less money.
- Check store flyers before heading out. If you have options, check weekly flyers to compare prices and specials. Use this to help build your list.
- Grown your own. If you have space for growing, make the most of it. Even a tiny plot or indoor herb garden can make a difference. Growing ensures freshness, a clean source, and you’ll feel good about growing your own food!
- Always check your bill. Technology has made checkout a quicker and more accurate experience, but mistakes happen. Go over your receipt to check for any inaccuracies before leaving the store.
About the Author:
Eric Bakker B.H.Sc. (Comp.Med), N.D, R.Hom. is a highly experienced naturopathic physician who has been in clinical practice for 25 years. Eric is passionate about improving people’s lives through proven wellness and lifestyle principles, natural medicine practice as well as public and professional practitioner education. Eric specialises in candida yeast infections, as well as adrenal fatigue, and thyroid disorders. Dr. Bakker has written one of the most comprehensive books on yeast infections called Candida Crusher. Website: candidacrusher.com You can complete his online survey to determine if you have a yeast infection here, or link through to his many YouTube videos: www.yeastinfection.org Dr. Bakker’s Blog: www.ericbakker.com