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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 January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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