Here's a question I get frequently:
"How can I afford to eat healthy when healthy food costs so
This is a tough question to answer. Healthier food simply costs more
than unhealthy, boxed foods. Organic produce is much more
expensive than canned apple sauce that is devoid of nutrients.
But there are several things you can do to work within your budget,
and buy the healthy food your body needs.
1 - Get A Warehouse Club Membership
You will be amazed at how much you'll save on fresh produce
(including organic) with a warehouse club membership to a place like
Costco or Sam's Club. I pay a $50 annual fee for my Costco
membership and it pays for itself with each and every visit.
I get mangoes, huge pineapples, tubs of organic spinach and baby
greens, large bags of organic baby kale, 10 pound bags of organic
carrots, organic strawberries, organic raspberries, melons, kiwis,
oranges, dates, tomatoes, avocados, mushrooms, wild frozen
blueberries and more for much less than the same amount would cost
at my neighborhood grocery store.
I also get organic brown rice, organic quinoa, organic almond butter,
chia seeds, hemp seeds, olive oil, organic seasonings and so much
more at Costco. It's truly incredible how far your dollar goes there.
2 - Buy In Season or On Sale and Freeze
Another way to save money is to purchase produce when it is in
season and on sale. Purchase twice the amount and freeze half of it
for later use. Your grocery bill the next week will be smaller as you
use the stuff that you purchased on sale and froze earlier. I mainly
do this with strawberries and bananas.
While most smoothie greens should not be frozen, kale is an
exception. I often toss a 2-pound bag of organic baby kale in the
freezer for later use.
3 - Grow Your Own Food
If you have a garden or a backyard, consider planting some food
crops. It's pretty easy to grow your own tomatoes, cucumbers,
zucchini, squash, herbs and anything else you want. What you pay
for some plants or seed packets will produce a bounty of veggies for
You can also set up an indoor herb garden as well as a sprouting
station for alfalfa, sunflower, beans and lentils.
Don't go crazy on expensive superfoods and supplements. You
generally do not need cacao, maca, spirulina or any of that other
fancy stuff. If you have to prioritize what you buy, always go for
fresh, organic produce and whole foods.
5 - Save Money (And Stay Healthy) By Not Buying Organic
Wait, did I say NOT to buy organic?
Well, what I mean is that you don't have to buy absolutely
everything organic for health reasons. Avocados, pineapples and
mangoes are among the fruits lowest in pesticide residues. You also
typically peel these foods before eating them. So you can save a bit
of money by purchasing certain conventionally grown foods that are
low in pesticide residue.
How can you find out which ones are okay to buy non-organic and
which ones to always buy organic? Check out the "Dirty Dozen List"
by the Environmental Working Group -
6- Seek Out Fruit and Vegetable Markets In Your Neighborhood
A cheaper alternative to your supermarket's limited produce section
might be a neighborhood fruit and vegetable market. I have several
of these in Chicago. I go to Stanley's Fruits & Vegetables every week
for incredible deals on produce, including lots of organic items.
7 - Make A Grocery List
Studies show that people who shop with a grocery list typically spend
less on groceries than those who do not shop with a list. The reason
is that you are less likely to "impulse buy". Impulse buying can get
Take some time before you go shopping to make a list and think
about the recipes or foods you will make and eat over the next week.
Make a list of the ingredients you need and stick to it.
8 - Check out Frederic Patenaude's e-book, "Eat For $3 A Day."
Frederic Patenaude, one of the few supporters of the low-fat raw vegan
diet who has written many books on the subject, has recently came up
with a new work I think you should check out.