We’ve all seen it. Getting in shape, staying fit and eating healthy were conscious lifestyle changes and with it came a new set of expenses, a new wardrobe and a new pantry of ingredients to work with. But, getting fit doesn’t mean that you have to go broke. As an extremely thrifty person, who is also active and fit, the idea of spending more money each month to stay healthy was not an option.
Here are some key areas where you can save while still eating healthy:
When my husband and I started to make a conscious effort to eat healthier, the first thing that we noticed was that our monthly spending on groceries was going up. We had traded overly processed and sugary snacks for healthy fruits and vegetables, however, it didn’t make sense that the nutrient rich food would be so much more expensive over the course of a month. Unfortunately, that is the case in most supermarkets across the country. On average, buying healthier foods will cost the average consumer an additional $550 a year.
While we couldn’t change the factors that cause fruits and vegetables to be more expensive, we did change one variable- our grocery store. We shopped around at our local Wal-Mart and Aldi and found Aldi to be the best price for us.
Aldi, the discount grocery chain, had better prices on fruits and vegetables, with organic options, and we found that they also had better prices on almond milk, rolled oats, almonds, honey and many other ingredients for home-made snacks and protein shakes.
While the prices may vary in your area, taking a little time to shop around can save you quite a bit each month. An easy way to do this is to isolate an item that you eat daily, like an apple maybe? Over the course of a few weeks, track how much it cost to buy apples when you shopped at Grocery Store A vs. Grocery Store B. Those additional few minutes could save you in the long run.
Each season boasts a bounty of delicious crops that can be found in your grocery store, but also at local farmer’s markets. A quick search for farmers markets should provide a listing of local farmers markets in your area with the dates and times that they are open. Some might be open daily, others once a month. An advantage of shopping for produce at a farmer’s market is that you know what the farmers are bringing are going to be fresh and in-season. Not only can this help you save money, but you can feel a sense of civic pride knowing that your purchase supported a local farm.
For those who are lucky enough to live within driving distance of a you-pick berry farm or apple orchard, take advantage of the opportunity. Usually, these options are less expensive and for berries (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries) you can freeze them to use in healthy shakes and snacks later in the year. The one-time drive out to the country, could supply you with delicious snacks for months to come.
As I started to experiment with new healthy recipes to make, I had about a 50% chance of getting the recipe right. Trial and error can be the fun part of cooking, but when you’ve paid for new ingredients the idea of tossing out that food because of user error can be disheartening.
For example, I saw a recipe for chocolate-chip cookie dough bites that were actually made from almonds, protein powder, almond butter, honey and syrup. They looked amazing and I had all of the ingredients. The first try resulted in a crumble of almonds with some protein powder stuck to them. Not wanting to waste the ingredients, I added some granola to the mix and used my new found concoction with Greek yogurt parfaits.
My second attempt at this recipe resulted in a very liquidy substance that made a great add to my post-workout shake.
If you are creative enough, you don’t have to let good ingredients go to waste. Don’t let new recipes scare you away from what could be a staple in your new healthy lifestyle.