Not being able to afford healthy food is often an excuse for unhealthy living, but I really think that it’s possible to eat healthy on a budget. Of course, most of us young, broke, and fabulous can’t afford to buy all the best fruits, veggies, and meats we want, but knowing where to put your money can help. I say, be cheap on certain foods so you can splurge on others. The February issue of Runner’s World has a list of when to splurge and when to save.
Grass-fed beef. It’s lower in saturated fat and higher in OMG-3s than grain-fed beef, and the fact is, cows are meant to eat grass. I could never find grass-fed beef at the supermarket, but check out EatWild.com to find local sellers. I had no idea there were so many in MI! Splurging here might mean eating less beef…and that’s not the worst thing in the world!
Organic produce from the dirty dozen list, and especially apples, lettuce, peaches, peppers, celery, and nectarines.
Fair Trade bananas. I didn’t know bananas were something that could be Fair Trade certified (look for a logo on the bananas) but they can! This means organic agriculture, no dangerous pesticides, better harvesting methods, and fair wages for workers.
Virgin olive oil. Oh, we gotta show love for the virgins! The less processed the oil, the more antioxidants. And the more expensive stuff is going to taste better, so if you’re using the olive oil as a dressing in a dish, go for the pricey stuff. Oh and “light” is not the same as “virgin.” “Light” is like those girls who take it in the butt but still insist they’ve not had sex. HATE.
Dark chicken meat. Legs and thighs are cheaper than breasts, have more flavor, and have more iron and zinc — for just one more gram of saturated fat and minimal calories. (You can keep the skin on when cooking, but remove it before eating.)
Chunk light tuna. Canned chunk light has lower mercury levels than solid white (which is more expensive). Um, BALLIN! Don’t ever need to think about this again!
Frozen fruits and veggies. I’m a big fan of the frozen stuff, but try to keep it to a manageable level so you don’t waste bags of produce when you discover them months later under a layer of freezer burn. I say two bags of veggies and two of fruits at a time, for the sake of variety!
Regular eggs. Apparently the term “free-range” is a bit slippery, and it may not mean the chickens were strolling across the promenade before laying your breakfast. It could mean they were just stepping out on a slab of concrete like Burger King employees on a smoke break. Unless you can get the eggs directly from a farmer, stick to regular eggs, which are so cheap, it’s honestly ridiculous!
Eating the cheap stuff more often might mean you can afford the splurge stuff more often as well! Having tuna for lunch twice a week instead of turkey may be all you need to get those Fair Trade bananas. Worth trying on your next trip to the grocery store!