04 Feb How to Eat Healthy Without Breaking the Bank
Everyone knows that healthy eating is important, but sometimes we fail to do it because it’s expensive, we’re lazy, or we just don’t care. Don’t worry, I get that! (I am a student too after all). In fact, one of the biggest reasons why people are discouraged to eat healthy is because it can be expensive (and I can assure you that yes, buying a salad for lunch will almost always cost more than buying a McChicken from MacDonald’s). In short, you pay for what you get. I’m not going to sit here and explain to you why eating healthy food is better for you than eating crap (because you already know that), but what I can promise is that it doesn’t always have to be as expensive as we might think! You can still eat relatively healthy and avoid that crazy grocery bill every week.
Here is are some of my tips, tricks, and recommendations:
Ditch the expensive protein/energy bars
I know, sometimes I can’t resist grabbing a Nomz or a Perfect Bar from grocery checkout either, but let’s face it, they are expensive as f***! Also, buying snacks like cliff bars aren’t worth the amount of sugar that comes with it. If you’re trying to eat healthy and end up buying $3-$4 protein bars, the expenses alone will surely discourage you from working towards maintaining a healthy diet. Instead, opt for a piece of fruit or eat bigger meals. Eating whole foods like fruit or snacking on crackers with hummus is much better for you than a Special K Protein bar is, trust me.
Buying frozen produce is something you should consider if you don’t consume a lot very often. Simply, if you don’t want it to parish, buy it frozen. Buying frozen fruits and veggies is also much cheaper than buying fresh. For example, a few weeks back I was grocery shopping and saw a little container of blueberries selling for $6, whereas a bag of wild blueberries from the freezer section (three times the size of the container I saw) was going for a little less than $4! Frozen is also great if you don’t cook very often because you’ll always have veggies in the freezer to add to a dish! Note that it’s important to read the label and make sure you’re not buying frozen veggies with a load of preservatives. For example, if you’re buying a bag of broccoli, all it should say under ingredients is “broccoli”, nothing else.
Pick and choose what you buy organic
Ever heard of the “clean 15” and “dirty dozen”? Either way, I’ve got you. It’s a list of fruits and veggies to help you prioritize what’s most important to buy organic and what isn’t. Created by the EWG (Environmental Working Group), the clean 15 lists the fruits and vegetables that usually have less or close to zero pesticides, while the produce on the dirty dozen usually have several. The bottom line is- the less pesticides, the cleaner is the food.
Clean 15: Dirty Dozen:
- Avocados – Strawberries
- Sweet corn – Spinach
- Pineapples – Kale
- Sweet peas (frozen) – Nectarines
- Onions – Apples
- Papayas – Grapes
- Eggplants – Peaches
- Asparagus – Cherries
- Kiwis – Pears
- Cabbage – Tomatoes
- Cauliflower – Celery
- Cantaloupes – Potatoes
Opt for organic versions of the dirty dozen to avoid excessive pesticide consumption, that’s how you can understand what organic produce items are worth your buck. If you’re curious, and would like to read more about this, check out the link below by the EWG:
Amira’s favourite snacks
Finally, here is a short list of some of my favourite snacks that are much healthier alternatives to more generic snack foods! Most of the snacks listed can be purchased on Natura Market, a great website where you can find a huge variety of snacks for all diets. You can easily find coupon codes, discounts, and free shipping (if you spend over $50), making it the perfect resource for students everywhere!
- Mary’s Crackers
- Simple Mills Fine Ground Sea Salt Almond Flour Crackers
*I love dipping either of these into hummus or baba ghanoush
Protein Bars(for the occasional splurge):
- Larabar (the peanut butter is my favourite).
- Perfect bar
- Siete Lime Grain Free Tortilla Chips
- The Real Coconut Pink Salt Coconut Flour Tortilla chips
- Artisan Tropic Plantain Strips- Sea Salt