“I can't eat healthy foods because they're too expensive.”
“I would eat better, but it's practically impossible during a recession.”
“I just don't have the financial resources to be healthy.”
I've heard every excuse in the book when it comes to eating well and keeping fit, but in the midst of the economic downturn, this one comes up more than any other: money's tight, so I can't eat right. Eating well – yes, even during a recession – can fit into anyone's budget. All it takes is commitment and a little bit of planning. Try some of these strategies to stay healthy without breaking the bank:
- Cut out eating out. It's possible to eat out and eat right, but it's much more difficult than preparing a healthy meal on your own. Pack your own lunch to take to work, so that you have complete control over content and portion size, and make dinner in the evenings.
- Pack snacks. One of the major causes of over-eating is the ravenous appetite caused by waiting too long in between meals. When you're too hungry, you will eat too much and spend too much...which means you might be fat, but your wallet certainly won't be. Carry healthy snacks, like edamame or an apple, with you at all times to keep your stomach satisfied.
- Get a green thumb. Growing your own vegetables, fruits, and herbs is a great way to save money at the supermarket. Visit a garden center or check online to learn about what grows best in your geographical region, then choose a few plants to start with. You'll spend less money on groceries, have healthy foods on hand at all times, and have the satisfaction of succeeding at a new endeavor.
- Clip coupons. It may sound like something that's best left up to your grandmother, but cutting coupons isn't just for the geriatric set anymore. Buy low, embrace sales, save coupons, and take advantage of the burgeoning online coupon market. Just make sure that you're only saving coupons for foods that you actually need.
- Buy in the borders. At most supermarkets, the healthiest foods are found around the perimeter of the store. Conduct most of your shopping in this area, where you'll get the most health benefit for your cash, and only venture into the aisles when you have a clear and specific list of what you need to round out your pantry.
Follow these tips, and you can stay lean even on a lean budget.