Few of us would argue that eating clean is much better for your body than having a diet full of processed foods, but for many of us, the cost of buying organic foods seems a little outlandish. Believe it or not, it is entirely possible to eat clean, all-natural, organic foods without breaking the bank; below are some handy tips that will show you how to do just that.
1. Find the local farmer's markets in your area and give them a visit. More than likely you'll find produce there that's much cheaper than what the supermarkets are offering. Not only that, but many farmer's markets feature food from local growers, so you'll be supporting your local economy to boot. Other places to check out include local natural food co-ops and community-supported agriculture (CSA) projects.
2. Try to avoid buying prepackaged foods, or foods that have already been mostly prepared for you. For example, if you buy a bag of pre-shredded and pre-washed lettuce, you are essentially paying for the convenience. Don't go that route – instead, buy that fresh head of lettuce out of the produce section, and get to chopping!
You have to be willing to invest a little extra time into food prep in order to save some much-needed dollars on your grocery bill. And the extra effort isn't necessarily a bad thing – in fact, there's something about investing time and effort into each phase of your meal preparation that makes it that much more enjoyable when the finished product is ready.
3. Stick with fruits and vegetables that are currently in season. Keep in mind that out-of-season produce will almost always be more expensive, because oftentimes it has to be transported from a far-flung place. Choosing fresh, seasonal produce from local growers (see point #1) is not only better for the environment, but it's also a great way to vary your diet in order to provide your body with a full spectrum of nutrients.
4. If you're shopping at the supermarket for clean foods, try buying the store-brand organics instead of the more famous (and typically more expensive) national brands. The certification process for being labeled an "organic" food is the same for both products, so you really won't lose out on anything by buying the supermarket's own private label version.
5. If you have a small (or large) patch of land anywhere on your property, turn it into a garden and grow your own food! You can grow tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, various herbs, or any other number of sumptuous goodies in your own yard. Even if you don't have any natural soil to till, you can buy large plastic tubs from your local big box retailer, fill them with soil and try container gardening. While this might not take care of all of your grocery needs, it can definitely make a difference in your overall clean food bill.
6. Don't fall for the myth that there's one particular "super-food" that you just have to buy (usually at a whopping cost), or your natural food diet will be completely lacking. It takes a variety of fruits, vegetables, legumes and other whole foods to make a well-rounded diet; there's no one single food that's going to give you all the nutrients you need.
Eating clean doesn't have to cost you an arm and a leg. Keep the above tips in mind to keep your body healthy, and your budget intact!