Have you gained a few pounds in recent years and aren’t sure why? Perhaps the answer isn’t simply not having time to exercise or your body’s metabolism slowing way down. Maybe that answer is simple:
To paraphrase James Carville, “It’s the economy, stupid.”
(We don’t think you’re stupid–it’s just one of those great, classic quotes, and we couldn’t resist using it in this blog post!)
That’s right–just like how the economy is affecting gas prices, job security, and your level of stress during the day, the state of the country’s finances may also be affecting your diet.
Higher Prices for Healthy Food
The simple answer about why this is the case comes down to higher prices for healthy food. Article after article after article confirms it–it’s getting more expensive to eat right. (Maybe that’s why movie stars always seem to be trying diets the rest of us can’t imagine having the time or money to try!)
There’s good news, though! Even though it’s harder to eat right if you’re not thinking too much about your diet, careful planning can actually result in a diet that’s healthier and less expensive than what you’re currently eating.
Ready to learn 8 ways to eat better than you can afford? Click through the break . . .
Eating Right is Expensive–Or is it?
Face it: it’s easier and cheaper (in the short term) to eat junk food. Maybe you feel like eating right is out of your price range: “I can’t afford all those organic foods! How can I improve my diet?” While the truth is eating right is a little more difficult and expensive at first, once you get the hang of it and learn some tricks, you’ll see it actually saves you calories and dollars. In fact,
Here are 8 ways to eat better than you can afford.
Many towns and cities are now hosting farmer’s markets, and your town has probably joined in on the fun. A farmer’s market lets local growers bring and sell produce or other natural products they’ve grown. Usually, you’ll get more produce for less money than you’d spend at the supermarket. The produce at the farmer’s market is often organic, and the fresh stuff seems to just taste better than what you’d find at your grocery store.
If your town doesn’t have a farmer’s market, you can still find ways to shop locally for your food. This is a great way to support your local economy while getting better quality food for less money.
Grow Your Own Vegetables
One way to guarantee the safety and quality of the food you eat is to grow it yourself. Plus, when you grow your own produce, you feel a sense of accomplishment and connection with your food. It’s not only healthy and economical–it’s very satisfying.
Eating out is the most common way we cheat ourselves and our diets. We can avoid this trap by preparing our lunch ahead of time. When you pack a lunch, take the time to add healthy foods. You don’t have to settle for high-carb, high-calorie, high-cost burgers and sandwiches at a drive through.
Buy In-Season Produce
Eating in-season fruits and vegetables is a delicious and fun way to save money and eat better. In-season produce is fresher, more nutritious, less expense, and better for the environment. It also provides unique variety as you eat different in-season foods throughout the year.
Hit a Grocery Store Instead of Fast Food
On your lunch break but didn’t bring your own lunch today? Going to a grocery store instead of a fast food drive through allows you to choose healthier foods for your lunch. You can get some fruit and veggies or put together a healthy sandwich. Some grocery stores even have salad bars where you can build a healthy salad according to your own taste.
Drink Water (Or Flavor Your Own)
If you’re a soda lover, you’ve spent years building up your cravings for soda. It’s probably torture starting your day without a can of your favorite drink. Starting a diet is next to impossible if you can’t give up the soda, even the diet variety.
There’s a way around this, though. While cans of soda contain sometimes 170 calories or more for a 12 oz. can, flavored water usually has between 5 and 15 calories for a 16.9 oz bottle. You have to be careful with flavored water, though. Make sure you’re only drinking water flavored with stevia instead of aspartame. Artificial sweeteners trigger insulin release but don’t tell the body it’s full, leaving you hungry after. Bottled water also costs much less than soda.
Use an App
One of the biggest ways we cheat ourselves when eating is to simply grab a can of whatever’s on the shelf and eat it. Even if you’re a starving student, you can get creative with leftover cans and ramen noodles to create nutritious and delicious meals.
If you have a smartphone, you can even use apps to give you ideas for recipes. One such app called Gojee gives you personalized recommendations based on what you already have in your kitchen. Another app, GoodGuide, lets you scan items at the store and gives you a rating of how healthy, green, safe, and socially responsible an item is. It’s a great way to make better food decisions on the store.
The best way to eat better than you deserve is to eat mindfully. Eating mindfully is more than just thinking about what you want to eat for dinner. Mindful eating means listening to your body and its needs and then carefully planning your meals accordingly. It also means paying attention to the experience of eating during your meals, carefully being mindful of each time you lift the fork and place it in your mouth. You’ll feel full sooner, enjoy the sensation of eating more, and have an overall more pleasant experience eating. Plus, mindful eating doesn’t require any extra work, just extra mindfulness.
These 8 tips are easy ways to boost your eating habits without punishing your wallet. You’ll feel better, lose weight, and have more money to spend on things that matter to you. Make a list today of which of these tips you want to try and see how quickly you can transform your diet (and your health) to eat above your pay grade!