I’ve been a fan of the TV show, “The Biggest Loser,” for several years. I love watching people transform their unhealthy habits into a positive lifestyle. It’s tragic that the easiest and cheapest food to obtain, such as pizza, burgers, ice cream and chips, are also the worst for you.
Initially, the people on the show think that eating healthy is unexciting and expensive. I’m not going to lie — it can be, but it doesn’t have to be. Some of them just aren’t educated about healthy food; the trainers give nutritional lessons to help them make lifelong changes. Many of the contestants end up becoming healthy eating fanatics by the end of the show.
The new season began this week. It was disheartening to see that many of the new contestants are only in their 20s. Thankfully, most haven’t developed chronic diseases yet. People in their 20s are often strapped for cash and tend to think that they have amazing metabolisms even if they don’t. Contrary to popular belief, there are MANY ways to eat healthy without spending a fortune. I have a bad sweet tooth, but in general, I’m a healthy eater. Here are some of my tips:
- Buy in bulk. Many grocery stores have bins that allow you to buy grains, pastas, herbs, beans, flours and more in bulk. You don’t get fancy packaging, but it’s cheaper, and you can measure out exactly how much you need.
- Cook in batches. This can be done two ways. One is to cook more than you need for an individual meal and box up the extra for lunches or dinners later in the week (embrace leftovers!) or freeze for later. Another is to spend a few free hours on a Saturday or Sunday preparing several dishes for the upcoming week. When you’re feeling tempted to get a drive-through burger during the week, remember that you already have a prepared meal waiting at home.
- Buy on sale now and freeze for later. See a fantastic special on fresh fish or chicken, but don’t need them right now? Buy it anyway and pop it in the freezer. You can also freeze certain veggies when you find a good deal on sale.
- Don’t buy everything organic. It’s true that organic products usually cost more, but it’s not always necessary to buy organic. There are certain food products in which being organic makes a huge difference, such as apples, lettuce and meats. But in foods with thick outer shells, such as avocados and bananas, it has been found that it doesn’t make nearly as much of a difference if any.
- Shop at a farmers’ market. Not only are you supporting a local independent business, but you can get good deals since you’re buying directly from the source. The food is also as fresh and healthy as it gets. Some farmers offer great deals on things close to expiration or certain seasonal items, and some may be willing to bargain.
Read on for my list of my top 10 favorite personal finance blog posts from the past week, several of which touch on making food more affordable.
1. For those who are on an extremely tight budget, Wisebread offers tips on what not to buy at a farmers market. I don’t agree with all of it — I really like buying local grass-fed beef and have never had issues with freshness — but some of these pointers are spot-on.
2. Single to the Penny discusses what it feels like to finally make progress toward paying off debt.
3. The Angry Millionaire explains why organization can make your life and finances much more efficient, from listing debt in spreadsheets to sorting your mail right away.
4. It’s easy for anyone to get burnout from tracking every single penny you spend. Always the Planner talks about why she is shifting from tracking every purchase to looking more holistically at getting out of debt.
5. If you are in need of a more rigid budget, Money Crush details how the zero-based budgeting strategy can benefit you.
6. I recently wrote about the insane number of daily deal sites out there and how easy it is to go broke buying “deals.” Blonde and Balanced agrees and explains why she’s over Groupon’s deals.
7. Young and Thrifty advises couples on how to get their debts in order and avoid going bankrupt together.
8. So Over Debt questions whether you have become too comfortable with your debt, and how to get back in the swing of things if you have.
9. Beating Broke explains what debt consolidation loans are, when you should use them and why you should be careful.
10. Engineer Your Finances lists six ways you can cut down on costs, several of which involve your eating habits.