Thursday, April 15, 2010

Cost versus Health

For years, I have believed the lie that to eat healthy costs more money. And in some cases that is true. However, certain healthy items are extremely inexpensive. So what is the excuse? Then we say, "Oh, that tastes gross" Well, it might if we don't know how to prepare it.

Recently, I have been trying to buy healthy foods for little cost, the ideal shopping experience. Here are some meals I have been able to make healthy and cheap:

  • Tacos
  • Chili
  • Pizza or Stromboli
  • Japanese Curry and Rice
  • Chinese Stir Fry
  • Peppers and Eggs
  • Poor Man's Meal
  • etc. The list is growing more all the time.
Recently, I have also been focusing on healthy snacks that are cheap. Here are some of our favorites:

  • apples
  • oranges
  • grapes
  • baby carrots
  • bananas
  • peanuts
  • popcorn (whole kernel not pre-bagged)
  • yogurt
  • fruit smoothies
  • sorbet
  • sliced cucumbers
  • sliced green peppers
  • etc.
I have found that when I shop the circle around the grocery store (produce, meat dept., dairy dept, fresh bakery dept.) and a few select aisles (beans, rice, frozen veggies, etc.) I can find whole, fresh foods, that are healthy and cheap.

A few things I am learning:
  • break apart the favorite recipes and substitute whole foods (i.e. instead of refried beans from a can, I use whole pinto or whole black beans, ideally from a bag of dried beans.)
  • Plan ahead: if I shop the sales and them plan out my meal options, I know what to look forward to making and how much to make.
  • Make the most of freezer space: If I soak beans for tacos, I can make 5 taco meals in one day. Package the taco mix and freeze it.
  • Whole foods not only taste better (more gourmet) but they also stay fresh longer and are more filling (I used to go up for seconds at every meal, with whole foods I am shocked how full I am after one plate)
  • Rice and beans are extremely cheap and very healthy, add veggies and "voila", a balanced menu
So I am learning that cost is a variable that we must consider, but sometimes we don't have to sacrifice the health. (As far as tasting good, I hope to post some recipes that will help overcome that fear.)

Enjoy Health!

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