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Busting the Myth: Eating Healthy is too Expensive

Has adopting a healthy lifestyle ever discouraged you?

Have you ever decided to eat healthy because you like the idea, but changed your mind because you thought it was too expensive?

It’s okay, I myself have been discouraged from eating healthy because of the mythical costs of “healthy foods.”

There are many myths about eating healthy, but the one myth that still stops so many people in their tracks is that they can’t afford to eat healthy. Well I’m going to put a stop to that right now and say, Yes you can afford to eat healthy and I’m going to show you how!

First things first, stop thinking that eating healthy is everything you see online and on TV. If your favorite online influencer or a TV character on your favorite Thursday night sitcom is eating healthy and says they shop at Whole Foods or Fresh Market or any high end grocery store that happens to be in your area, DON’T THINK YOU HAVE TO SHOP THERE TO BE HEALTHY JUST LIKE THEM.

YOU DON’T! I’m going to repeat that one more time because a lot of people have a hard time understanding this;

YOU DON’T HAVE TO SHOP AT WHOLE FOODS TO BE HEALTHY!

I’m really emphasizing this because this is a myth that so many believe and stop people in their journey of seeking a healthy lifestyle before it even begins. Don’t get me wrong, Whole Foods and Fresh Market are beautiful stores, they have high quality products and a few products that you don’t see at your local grocery store. However, if you are just beginning your healthy lifestyle and you are on a budget I absolutely would not recommend starting at a high end grocery store. I once went into a Fresh Market because I was driving by it and wanted to grab a few things on my way home and I had about 4-6 things in my basket and spent nearly $50!!! $50 could get me about half of my weeks worth of groceries at my local supermarket. And yes guys, I eat healthy.

So to break a few myths within this myth,

#1 You don’t have to shop at your local high end supermarket for healthy food.

For busy parents and professionals like myself, sometimes we tend to grab the most convenient items to . . . SAVE TIME.

I.e. Frozen veggies, frozen healthy dinners, or pretty much frozen anything for that matter. Yes, I will agree, frozen can be more convenient. . . . but is it really?

Also, frozen products seem to be more inexpensive to the naked eye rather than preparing that same frozen dish from scratch on your stovetop. Well my family and I just realized that this is actually not true while we were preparing dinner the other night.

We have these frozen healthy dinners that we eat on busy nights when we don’t have time to cook a healthy meal from scratch. They’re super low in calories, only about 250 - 300, and have mixed veggies, brown rice, tofu, etc. Only problem is is that each dinner took about 4-5 minutes to heat in the microwave. Also, we always add extra veggies to our dinner and of course because we’re busy, we get the frozen steam in bags of cauliflower, broccoli, mixed veggies, etc. Of course, be aware that not all frozen veggies are good for you, so always take a look at the ingredients and make sure if your buying a bag of frozen broccoli that the only ingredient is broccoli, meaning no preservatives! Those take 5 minutes each to heat up as well. So we’re warming up 3 dinners and 2 bags of veggies, totaling 25 minutes. Also, most households only have one microwave so the first thing that was heated is waiting 20 minutes until the last thing is done. So we’ll add on an extra 5 minutes to reheat some of the food that came out first.

So Rich & I had a realization that evening. We thought to ourselves, we were doing this because we thought it was faster and more convenient, but it actually takes just as long to make 3 frozen dinners and veggies as it would if I just made it all myself.

Those frozen dinners that we like are $3.98 each. Plus the bags of veggies that we get are about $1 each. So to feed 3 people that one night it cost us $13.94. I definitely can deconstruct one of those dinners and buy everything separately and would have only spent that or even less and would have leftovers for other nights as well. You have to remember, fresh veggies are super inexpensive and so are whole grains and seasonings too.

So here’s 2 more myths busted:

#2 Frozen foods are not cheaper than buying fresh and preparing it

Yourself.

#3 Frozen foods usually don’t save you time if you’re preparing dinner for

Your whole family.

Lastly, please don’t overthink eating healthy! I’ve encountered so many people that are new to the world of eating healthy and one of their first thoughts is, “ok now I’m going to eat all organic!” You do not have to buy all organic. Yes, organic is more expensive, yes, some things are better to buy organic than not, but if you are just starting out and you are on a budget then NO you don’t even have to worry about that right away. I would suggest just get your feet wet with the idea of changing your shopping routine, get yourself used to shopping mostly in the produce department, and if you haven’t had many dinners consisting of mostly veggies then experiment with different fruits and veggies to see what you like. Don’t focus on all the details and dos and don’ts right away. Just find your way and once you’ve started some core healthy habits then you can adjust. You don’t want to put to many decisions on your plate too soon to overwhelm yourself. Then you’ll find yourself going back to those same unhealthy ways as before because it’s what you know. In a future post I will discuss more about organic foods and what to buy organic and what not to worry about, but for now don’t stress over it, just eat veggies!

Last myth busted: #4 You don’t have to buy all organic.

So to review:

#1 You don’t have to shop at your local high end supermarket for

healthy food.

#2 Frozen foods are not cheaper than buying fresh and preparing it

yourself.

#3 Frozen foods usually don’t save you time if you’re preparing dinner for

your whole family.

#4 You don’t have to buy all organic.

There are many ways to eat healthy on a budget and if you’re interested in any more tips, then keep an eye out for future posts on this topic or shoot me an email if you have specific questions.

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