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How to Eat Healthily on a Budget

How to Eat Healthily on a Budget

If you want to eat healthier but don’t want to spend half your paycheck at the grocery store every week, I have good news for you. You can eat healthier and save money doing it.

It’s certainly not easy, though, especially when you can hit up the McDonald’s drive through and feed a family of four for under 20 bucks. But these tips will show you how to kill two birds with one stone… so you can eat better and keep a little of your hard-earned cash in your pocket.

First, let’s look at why healthy food is generally pricier.

Why Is Healthy Food More Expensive?

This is a tough question, and I could give you a very long-winded explanation about the perils of the food industry. Here’s the Cliffs Notes version instead: we have a food system in place that makes unhealthy, highly-processed junk food and fast food more affordable than fresh, healthy foods.

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This is detrimental to our collective health because when you don’t have a lot of money to spend, you’re probably going to look for the cheapest, most convenient food possible to feed your family.

Not to worry, because you can still “beat the system.” Here’s how.

How to Eat Healthy on a Budget

1. Shop locally

The absolute best way to eat healthier and save some cash is to buy food from farms close to where you live. Locally-grown produce is delicious. It’s cheap. It’s healthy. It’s better for the environment. And it supports small farmers in your local community. Check out Local Harvest to find a farmer’s market near you.

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2. Eat your beans

Beans are one of the most affordable, nutrient-dense sources of protein and fiber. Plus, they’re super cheap (just make sure you go with the salt-free versions if you’re buying canned beans).

Next time you’re at the store, load up on some garbanzo, black, kidney, navy, white, Lima, or pinto beans and eat them as a snack or as a side with lunch or dinner. Here are three of my favorite ways to eat beans:

  • Combine black beans with a diced avocado, some minced onion, lime juice, and minced jalapeno.
  • Combine garbanzo beans with lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and sea salt to make a delicious homemade hummus dip.
  • Combine pinto beans with cilantro, corn, and Italian dressing for a tasty side dish.

3. Grow your own

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Another great way to eat healthy for cheap is to grow your own food. Even if you don’t have the space or sunlight available to have a garden outside, you can grow fresh herbs and lettuce in your windowsill. Try some fresh herbs like basil, thyme, oregano, dill, cilantro, marjoram, mint, and sage. All you need to get started is a few seeds packets, containers, soil, and water.

4. Shop the sales

This one may seem simple and obvious, but plenty of folks fail to take advantage of buying healthy food on sale.

Here’s how to do it: check the ads each week at several grocery stores near you and look out for sales on more expensive healthy foods like chicken, fish, dairy, and nuts.

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5. Buy in bulk

This one goes hand-in-hand with shopping for sales. One of the easiest ways to save money on your food bill is to scoop up larger quantities of healthy foods like nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, and lean meats and dairy products.

6. Don’t be everything organic

Organic food is healthier for you and the environment… but it’s much more expensive then conventionally grown produce. Fortunately, the Environmental Working Group has identified a list of fruits and vegetables that are the most and least contaminated. Check out this list of the “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean Fifteen.”

These are six of the easiest ways to eat healthy for cheap.

Now let’s hear from you… what are your favorite methods for saving money on healthy food?

More by this author

Scott Christ

Scott Christ is a writer, entrepreneur, and founder of Pure Food Company.

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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