5 Ways to Eat Healthy in 2014 (Without Breaking the Bank)

salad banner

A glance at the price tags at your local health food store might make you think that a healthy diet is tougher on your wallet. Actually, not only is a healthy diet more affordable in the long run (helping you avoid doctor visits and costly health problems), it can also be more affordable than a diet filled with fast food. We’ve compiled a list of five health and money-conscious practices to adopt in 2014.

Waste not

When you waste food, you waste money. As Lisa Boesen, MAOM, CPC explains, “Americans waste up to 25 – 40 percent of purchased food items.” In order to avoid throwing away money, Boesen advises, “Be creative with leftovers. Add your leftover healthy items to some fresh items, aromatics and herbs. Add a dash of olive oil. You might be surprised by what you create and you will feel a sense of accomplishment for staying on budget.”

Jackie Vanover, CHHC, AADP concurs, “A great way of making sure you do this is to schedule a leftover night where you make a meal out of the leftovers from various meals. Burritos, soup, pizza and pasta can easily incorporate a little of whatever is available in your refrigerator.”

Prepare (and grow) healthy staples on your own

Health coach Jackie Vanover suggests taking the long road. “Make your own stock, use dried beans instead of canned, and cook oatmeal from scratch instead of relying on packets. Yes, it takes more time to avoid convenience foods, but the base ingredients are much less expensive and the final result tastes better.” Shannon Lagasse of HungerforHappiness.com agrees, “If you want to save money, learn how to prepare your own food. I used to think kombucha (an expensive health drink that contains gut-restoring probiotics) was difficult to make. Turns out, it’s the easier than blending a smoothie!”

Seek out healthy cooking instructionals and recipes online, on YouTube or in affordable e-cookbooks to help make taking the long road less intimidating.

Buy produce that’s in season

Buying fruits and vegetables while they’re in season will not only guarantee fresher produce, it will also give you more affordable options and sales. Caroline Marache, owner of Hypoxi Houston, explains, “Veggies can vary tremendously in price, depending on the time of year and source. Focus on veggies that are in season to help cut cost. In the winter, use a lot of frozen vegetables since they are cheaper.”

Consider a healthy snack box subscription

Rather than getting bogged down by pricey junk food snack options in your office’s vending machine, you might want to look into subscribing to a monthly healthy snack box service. Services like NatureBox and UrthBox offer a variety of healthy snack options that fit a number of dietary needs. They send subscribers a variety of snacks at the rate of about $20 a month.

Use apps and sites to help you find healthy (and affordable) options for dining out

An easy way to investigate a restaurant’s healthy menu options (as well as their prices) is to use an app or site to do the hard work for you. HealthyDiningFinder.com, the HealthyOut app and the Clean Plates app are all great places to start.