A recent study conducted at Harvard University evaluated the dietary habits of the North American population classified according to its socioeconomic strata. After a 10-year follow up, the result revealed a clear trend toward healthier dietary habits but, on the other hand, the population, on the average, is spending more of their salaries in food.
The data also indicated that the lowest income class, not only has not improved its dietary habits but actually have worsen it because priority for these people was to eat at least one or two meals daily with no regards for meal quality. Clearly, it is a matter of purchasing power.
The former conclusion does not mean that the only way to follow healthy dietary habits is to have plenty of money. It is possible to design an approach that make healthy eating possible at a reasonable cost. For this purpose, we will provide you with some tips that are easy and simple enough to follow.
- Plan your food shopping. No matter how big is your family group, the best idea would be to prepare in advance a weekly menu which includes a variety of healthy foods that fits all preferences and budget. Consult the family members and write down 3-5 menus /week for each meal that satisfy their preferences. This plan will allow you to look for quality ingredients at reasonably prices.
- Use coupons and look for specials offers. You won’t believe how much money you can save just by taking advantage of coupons, supermarket discounts, and internet offers. Check magazines and sunday newspapers for low price foods. This task may be a bit time consuming but it worths the effort.
- Shop at local markets. This is an excellent way of buying fresh and cheap vegetables and other produces. Find the small farmers and choose the ingredients you need but always stick to your grocery list. Don’t buy in a random and disorganized fashion because it will increase the risk of spending much money than you need to.
- Internet shopping. This is another good way of saving money. You can use internet service to buy cans and other preserved foods or sauce that can be stored for extended periods.
- Plan a couple of veggie days per week. Considering that red meat, dairy products, and fish are expensive, program along with your family, one or two days for consuming only salads, fruits, veggies, whole grains, tofu, and nuts. These menus will allow you to keep your food budget in check but they will help to stay away various health complications associated with excess intake of red meat and regular dairy products.
- Frozen foods. How many times, we have purchased fresh vegetables and fruits and after a few days you throw them away because for some reason or another you have been label to cook them. This is money going down to the drain. To avoid this waste you can buy frozen groceries that can last longer while maintaining their nutritive values. This way you will plan the menus better and save money.
- Buy groceries in season. Don’t miss this occasion to buy fresh groceries at low prices. Quality will also be at its best.
- Use the leftovers. Any food left on the table can be used to prepare new dishes if you apply a bit of imagination. Food is money, don’t throw it away.
Food storage. Make sure you place foods individually in a ziploc bag before freezing. It will be easier to defrost only the portion you will eat. There will be savings too right there.