Eating Healthy 101: Tips to Save Money and Eat Healthy for Beginners
Eating healthy can be easy and inexpensive. Some people believe that they can save money by ignoring their health. While this may be true in the short run, they will end up paying with expensive medical bills in the long run. If you have decided to eat healthy, there are options to eat fresh organic ingredients inexpensively on a budget. If you are a beginner trying to eat healthy, the following tips will help you save money and eat healthy at the same time.
1) Eat More Natural Unprocessed Food
Eating natural food without chemicals will help you stay healthy and lose weight. Try to eat more fruits and vegetables but cut back on juices and processed fruit snacks. Manufacturers usually add sugar to the fruit juice and snacks and remove the fiber. So they do not provide the same healthy benefits as real fruits and vegetables. If possible, avoid processed meals from packages because of their sodium content and preservatives. It is much better to cook your own food or just eat raw vegetables as salads. Preparing your own meals will also save you money and stay within your grocery budget.
It is also important to understand that fat from natural sources are better for your health. If you eat nuts, salmon, olives or coconut, you will get good fat that benefit your heart. On the other hand, fat such as trans fat or hydrogenated fat made by manufacturers should be avoided as much as possible.
2) Choose Local Farms vs. the Grocery Store
If you go to a local farm or farmer’s market, you can buy fresh fruits and vegetables. When you start talking to farmers, you will find that several farmers use little or no chemicals at all. Getting certified as organic is a costly process for farmers. These farmers will sell their produce (even though they are not labeled organic) at a fraction of the price sold at an organic grocery store. If you want to make sure that the vegetables or fruits are grown organically, some of them will be happy to show you their farms and how they grow their produce. Local produce is cheap because you do not pay for the transportation and warehouse costs. Eating fresh healthy fruits and vegetables is expensive only if you buy at a grocery store.
3) Grow Your Own Garden
In a small 10×10 corner of a yard, you can grow enough vegetables for your entire family. Since you are growing your own food, you can always eat fresh and healthy without worrying about harmful chemicals. Gardening can be fun and you can also have your children help you. Your children will have a blast helping you dig and and watching plants grow first-hand.
4) Organic vs. Conventional Food
If a label says your fruit meets the organic requirements, it does not necessarily mean that it is more nutritious and healthy. It simply means that it is free from chemicals and preservatives. Organic produce can have minimal nutritional value if it is grown in poor soil. A brix meter can help you check the nutritional value if you are concerned about the nutrients in your fruits and vegetables. It is also important to understand that you do not always need to buy organic to stay healthy.
Apples, baby foods, dairy products, cantaloupe, cucumbers, grapes, green beans, spinach, strawberries and winter squash are some fruits and veggies that are worth the organic price tag. Several pesticides and chemicals are found in the non-organic versions of these fruits and vegetables. Other fruits or veggies such as bananas, kiwi, sweet peas, asparagus, mango, pineapples, avocado and onions have a low pesticide load, and you can still eat them and save money without paying the high organic price tag.
5) Raw Food vs. Cooked Food
There is a debate about whether you need to eat cooked vs. raw food to stay healthy. Raw food enthusiasts strongly believe that eating raw food is the only way to be healthy. On the other hand, several researchers believe that cooked food makes it easier for us to absorb nutrients. Eating healthy for some people means eating nothing but raw foods all the time. For others, this means eating a combination of raw and cooked food to improve digestive health.
Raw food contains enzymes that help digest the food without burdening the digestive system. It also has higher vitamin and mineral content. However, not everyone does well on a raw food diet, especially if you are sick, weak or have poor digestion. Cooked food is easier to digest for many people, but several nutrients are lost through cooking. When food is barbecued, carcinogens are created. Research shows that the burnt portion of the meat increases your risk of cancer over time. So it is a good idea to use a combination of both raw food and cooked food if you cannot solely rely on raw food.
6) Avoid Junk Food and Sodas
Eliminating processed junk food and soda from your diet is one of the best steps to improve your health. By eating junk food and soda, you are feeding your body empty calories and harmful chemicals. Instead switch to unprocessed whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables because they provide enormous health benefits.
7) Eat Less Meat and More Plants
Contrary to popular opinion, you do not have to rely on meat only for your protein. Whole grains with beans or legumes provide an excellent source of protein as well. In fact, balanced diet pyramids from the Harvard university and other nutrition experts show that we need to eat more plants and less meat (plants and whole grains at the bottom of the pyramid while meat is at the top). Reducing meat consumption will also reduce your grocery cost. While eating organic food increases your food costs, eating vegan foods lowers the bill. The net effect is actually a reduction in your monthly grocery costs.
Eating healthy can be fun and budget-friendly if you follow some of the ideas in this article. As the title ‘eating healthy 101′ suggests, this article provides basic advice for beginners to start out with. If you are interested in learning more, you can either explore this site or invest in a nutrition handbook. Eat, Drink and Be Healthy written by Harvard Professors is a great book to start out with. We will provide more information in this site as well in the future.
1) How to Eat 101 – Introduction to Healthy Foods by Dr. Vaughn Lawrence