There is one huge myth that many people believe about eating healthy, natural foods – that healthy foods are more expensive. This belief likely stems from the myth that all people who eat healthy load up on premium-priced packaged foods sold at stores like Whole Foods. Just like unhealthy packaged, gourmet foods, yes, packaged healthy gourmet foods can be expensive. However, when you shop wisely and prepare most of your meals at home, you can actually save money when switching to a healthier diet –really! Here are three swaps you can make in your diet today that will improve your health and save you money!
1. Eat Ice Cream for Dessert? Whip Up a Quick Fruit Smoothie Instead
Do you eat ice cream for dessert (or feed it to your family) because it is a cheap way to satisfy your sweet tooth? You can make healthy sweet treats, like fruit smoothies, that are even more affordable than those packaged treats.
A simple, healthy cheaper-then-ice-cream smoothie can be made with just one frozen chopped banana and a cup of homemade or store-bought nut milk (homemade is cheaper, but the stuff you buy at the store is no more expensive than dairy milk), ¼ teaspoon of vanilla extract, and a natural sweetener of your choice.
This is delicious on its own, but you can personalize it to your tastes by adding other flavors. Like chocolate peanut butter cups? Add some cocoa powder and a tablespoon of peanut butter to the base (both cheap). Love coconut? Add ¼ cup coconut.
Grand total for one smoothie? Less than $1. Really!
2. Love Fast-food or Frozen French Fries? Make Baked Sweet Potatoes Fries Instead
If you love french fries, then you can make baked white potato fries at home that are cheaper and healthier than even those budget frozen fries. However, sweet potatoes pack a bigger nutritional punch, and baked sweet potato fries are just as super-easy to make.
To begin, just rinse your sweet potatoes, and cut the into slices about ½ inch thick. Boil the slices for about 10 minutes (you can skip this part, but it will help them cook faster in the oven), drain, and then cut the slices into fry-shaped sticks. (Optional: sprinkle a little cornstarch on them and coat them well to make the final fries even crispier!)
Place them on a baking pan and cook in a 400-degree F oven for 20-30 minutes.
You then have super-easy and healthy fries that cost less than $1 for a huge serving (probably even less).
3. Skip That Expensive Cut of Dinner Meat and Eat Protein-packed Veggies and Grains Instead!
One huge way you can save while eating healthy is cutting the meat and cheese out of your diet. Both are filled with hormones, antibiotics, unhealthy fats…the list goes on.
And, no, you don’t have to buy those expensive organic meats and cheeses when you can just eat protein-packed vegetables and grains instead. There are so many meat-free recipes that are very affordable, but here are a couple of ideas:
Buckwheat pancakes. Buckwheat is a grain that is packed with complete protein (although you don’t have to eat complete protein at every meal, as explained here). Top with a little fruit and/or real maple syrup, and you can eat pancakes for dinner with no guilt!
Veggie Stir-fry. White rice is extremely affordable and healthy, and you can make it the base of a stir-fry loaded with any veggies you like. Peas are a great addition if you want a protein-packed meal, because they are so filled with protein that even bodybuilders drink pea protein powder!
Think veggies and grains don’t contain enough protein to keep you healthy? Click here to read about the new studies showing that protein should be kept under 20-percent of your daily macro-nutrient intake for good health.
If you think eating healthy is too expensive, then realize that there are affordable ways to eat healthy, and you can even save money switching from unhealthy processed foods to healthy, whole foods. Swap one unhealthy food item from your grocery cart for a healthy one each week, and before you know it, you will be eating a healthier diet.