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Posted: 8:56 a.m. Friday, Feb. 28, 2014

5 Ways To Make Healthy Eating More Cost-Effective

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Crystal Collins of NaturalThrifty.com

By Crystal Collins, Contributor

ClarkHoward.com


With more and more research showing the food we eat is directly related to how healthy our bodies are, many people are looking healthier food options. Eating "clean" may be good for you, but can the average person really afford it?

Let's discuss some of the ways to make healthy foods more cost-effective.

1. Completely or mostly eliminate the junk.

This one should go without saying, but most people that try to start buying more healthy options will still pick up a weekly supply of soda or continue to order sweet tea at every restaurant.

Eliminating the junk from your diet not only reduces your spending costs, but it helps your health. And the other benefit? It leaves more room in your budget for fresh fruits and vegetables.

2. Become familiar with your produce department, your local farmer's market, and/or any co-ops in your area.
By becoming familiar with all of these things, you will be more comfortable buying because you know what the best products and prices are. Organic apples are $6.99/lb at the grocery store, but you can get 10lbs for $5 from Farmer John just down the street? Sounds like a no brainer! Check out LocalHarvest.org for farmers, markets, and co-ops in your area.

3. Avoid the pre-packaged processed foods...even the organic stuff!
When people consider getting healthy, they check out the organic section at the grocery store and get sticker shock: "$8 for a box of cookies, are you kidding me?!"

Well, the packaged stuff is the most expensive and not necessarily even healthy for you. Yes, I said it. Just because it has the word "organic" on it, does not mean it's healthy.

When eating healthier, stick to clean/whole foods vs. buying a box of some pre-packaged processed stuff. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, meats, nuts, beans, etc... these are your better options.

4. Don't stick to just one store. 

That store loyalty card doesn't mean you have to remain loyal for every purchase you make. One of the ways I save the most money is by grabbing my deals from various places throughout the month.

Once a month I'll head to Costco for my bulk organic purchases, once a week I'll pick up my produce basket from the co-op, and I'll stop randomly throughout the month at my other grocery stores for sale specials.

5. If time is an issue, work with some friends/family locally to do some batch/freezer cooking.
Once a month, you can all come together to cook your meals for the entire month. You'd be surprised how many meals you could knock out in a single day. Then your time is freed up, and you're less likely to spend money on more expensive processed foods or eating out.

Do you already do some or all of these? What are some of your tips for making healthy foods more budget-friendly?

Crystal Collins, a Savings.com DealPro, is an Atlanta local, adventurer, a health advocate and thrifty as can be. Check her out on her blog at   NaturalThrifty.com.

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