Eating Clean Does Not Mean Going Broke

After a long day at work you decide that you will pick up dinner close to home. While traveling home you pass lots of convenience stores and fast food restaurants. There are no grocery stores or farmers markets with walking distance from your home. You decide to visit the nearest store, more than most likely it is a convenience store or pseudo-grocery store. Your intentions are to prepare a healthy meal, yet when you enter the store, you begin to scan the shelves and are met with cookies, chips, soda, sugar laced juice, and dusty products of canned and jars of foods. These are the spaghetti jars, cans of beans, vegetables, and boxes of grains (rice, pastas). Located in one small section of the store you find limited fresh produce, and lean proteins, of which are much more expensive compared to the other food items.

At that moment, you are faced with the reality of your intentions to prepare a healthy meal that become severely limited if you are to shop at this store. BUT…You remember that you promised yourself, your health coach and personal trainer that you would EAT CLEAN. This is a reality of many individuals and they have a few options: travel a great distance to a larger store with healthier produce or larger selection, grab food at a local fast food restaurant, or shop at another convenience store that is likely to provide similar food option scenario. This is especially difficult when you are Eating Clean. Many think Eating Clean means going BROKE, or is really expensive and you think that you cannot afford it. I use to think the same way and avoid grocery stores that I felt would use up my WHOLE paycheck. No longer do I feel this way because I have become a SMART shopper on a budget.

Here are 5 tricks and tips that I use when Eating Clean on a Budget:

1) Shop in Bulk: Believe or not, buying foods in bulk is a lot cheaper than the packaged versions. You can get really clean and healthy foods at an affordable price. When Eating Clean avoid anything that is boxed or canned. This is perfect because you save money. Think of beans, they are super easy to cook and cheaper than buying in the cans. When you buy prepackaged food…YOU ARE PAYING for the Pretty Packaging!

2) Not buying everything Organic: You do NOT have to buy everything organic. I repeat, You do NOT have to buy everything organic to reap the benefits of Eating Clean. Save your money and purchase foods that are apart of the “Dirty Dozen”, the foods that have the highest amount of pesticides. Become familiar with these items: http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/summary.php

3) Clip Coupons: Take some extra time out of your schedule and clip and organize the coupons. They will add up into savings at the register. Visit your grocery’s store online website and sign up for the weekly circular. This will allow you to stay up to date with the store’s weekly sales.

4) Shop at an Open Food Market: When you shop an open food market e.g. Haymarket or a Farmer’s Market this allows you to get the freshest produce straight from the farm or producer. At an open food market, you will find better deals on fresh fruits and vegetables compared to shopping at a grocery store. When shopping at a Farmer’s Market, the price may be more expensive because the fresh fruits and vegetables are coming from local farms. Pay the price now for better quality of food and increase your chances of a healthier life.

5) Meal Prep Mondays: This saves you time and money on healthy nutritious meals that you have prepared from home. There is no guess work on wondering what ingredients or food preparation methods the cook used to make the meal you will eat. In today’s society, people are stressed for time. I choose Mondays because it works with my schedule, but pick any day of the week and prepare portions in bulks. Afterward, separate your food in containers, and place into the refrigerator. This is KEY to Eating Clean on a Budget.
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Hope that you have learned some helpful tips and learned that Eating Clean does NOT mean GOING BROKE. Let’s do THIS!!!

Katia Powell is a Doctoral Student at the University Of Massachusetts Boston McCormack Graduate School Of Policy Studies and Global Studies that specializes in Nutrition. As a Health Policy Educator & Motivational Speaker with over a decade of experience in healthcare her expertise involves the areas of obesity prevention, healthy eating, food deserts, food access, racial and ethnic health disparities, and non-profits serving marginalized communities. She is also the founder of STRIVE 2020 Inc., a nonprofit that focuses on obesity prevention, ending health disparities and making strides against the mental stigma in communities of color. For more information, visit Katia’s website and follow her on IG: @HerbaDivas | Twitter: @KatiaPowell | Facebook: KatiaHealthGuru