You may have heard about the benefits of clean eating but perhaps don’t believe you have the time to think through the process, or, maybe you are concerned about the cost. After all, we’ve all noticed that the cost of fresh foods compared to that of popular fast food options seems high. As a result, you may be finding it easier and cheaper to just keep your favorite takeout or delivery on speed dial and maybe your freezer is filled with packaged microwave meals. There’s a chance you haven’t considered that by eating this way you are depriving your body of many essential nutrients and missing out on a number of important health benefits. AND, your future health care costs may reflect that due to illnesses or medications due to poor eating choices.
Clean eating can be done easily, tastes amazing, and doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, this may be the best time to embark on a journey of clean eating as spring and summer bring us farmers markets, and tons of amazing, tasty fresh foods to our local grocery store. I’d love to pass on some tips for getting the healthiest foods into your diet on a budget, but first, let’s look at the benefits of clean eating!
It Gives You Energy
One of the main reasons to eat healthy is because it gives you energy. Healthy foods are filled with slow digesting carbohydrates. These take longer to digest than unhealthy, rapidly digesting carbohydrates, so the energy they provide is released into your blood at a much slower and more stable rate. This means that you have more consistent energy levels when powering up with healthy foods
In contrast, unhealthy foods generally contain high levels of rapidly digesting carbohydrates. These get digested very quickly and the energy they provide is released into your blood stream at a much faster, less stable rate. As a result, your energy levels generally peak and then crash when you eat unhealthy foods. For many people, this “crash” leads to craving more unhealthy foods, quicker hunger, and even mood swings.
It Ensures That Your Body Works Properly
Healthy foods are packed full of the nutrients that your body needs to operate properly. They support almost every function you can think of. For example, vitamin A is essential for healthy vision, chloride helps keep the fluid levels within your body balanced and potassium helps keep your blood pressure under control.
Eating unhealthy foods deprives your body of these nutrients and prevents it from functioning properly. For example, failing to eat enough vitamin A can limit your vision and in the worst cases cause full blindness. Not getting enough sulphur can prevent your nerves from functioning properly. Literally every body function is affected by the way you choice to fuel your body-choose to fuel it well!
It Reduces Your Chance Of Illness
Another key benefit of following a healthy diet is that the wide range of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients in these foods help keep your immune system strong. Your immune system is what keeps you safe from disease, infection and foreign bodies. If you have a strong immune system, then your chances of getting ill are much lower.
However, following a limited, unhealthy diet means that your body does not get given all these immune system boosting nutrients. As a result, your immune system becomes weak and your body becomes much less effective at fighting disease, infection and foreign bodies. This leaves you much more open to illness.
It Improves Your Physical Performance
Eating the right foods doesn’t just benefit you internally – it also greatly improves your physical performance. For example, the clean protein in healthy foods ensures that your muscles have the fuel they need to repair after exercise and grow back stronger. The vitamins and minerals in healthy foods keep your blood healthy and ensure that it can quickly transport oxygen to where it is needed when you exert yourself.
Following a poor diet has the opposite effect and can actually hinder your performance during exercise. For example, eating poor quality, rapidly digesting carbohydrates will not give you the steady release of energy that is required to complete a grueling workout. Failing to get enough protein, which is lacking in most processed and fast foods, will prevent your muscles from fully recovering after a workout. Fuel our body for success with the best foods possible!
Clean Eating is Healthy for the Gut and Hormone Balance
Healthy foods help reduce inflammation in the body. Fast foods and processed foods are a leading cause of unhealthy gut issues that can increase inflammation throughout the entire body. This can lead to hormone imbalances, skin issues, food intolerances, and immune issues. Healthy foods help to heal the gut, decreasing inflammation, and helping to balance the hormones while building the immune system.
Not Only FEEL Your Best, But LOOK Your Best
Eating clean and healthy not only helps you feel your best, but will also help you LOOK your best. Focusing on high nutrient, filling whole food will keep you full longer, provide you with more energy, and lead to a decrease in overall calories-which means weight loss! You will find yourself sleeping better, performing better, clearer headed, and even experience more balanced moods. Your skin will be clear and bright, your nails and hair will be stronger and healthier-this health plan is a true beauty boost!!!
How to Eat Clean on a Budget
Now that we’ve discussed the awesome benefits of clean and healthy eating, let’s explore some ways to do it without breaking the bank! Here are 10 tips you can use to start eating healthy on a budget.
Buy Frozen Fruits & Vegetables
Buying frozen fruits and vegetables can be a great money saving option. Frozen foods usually have a longer shelf life and this makes them cheaper than their fresh counterparts. Since good vendors pack their frozen fruits and vegetables right from the farms, many of the nutrients are locked in, thus ensuring that the frozen produce retains all its nutritional value. You can even save more by buying healthy frozen fruits and vegetables in bulk when they’re on offer, then store them in your freezer and not have to worry about the food going bad.
Don’t Go Shopping When You’re Hungry-Shop the Perimeter!
You’re more likely to succumb to temptation and buy expensive foods and snacks when shopping on an empty stomach. Having a meal before you shop for food will actually help you to avoid impulsive spending and stick to healthy choices while you shop. If you don’t have time for a full meal, a filling healthy snack will still work to help you avoid overspending.
Also, to avoid buying tempting packaged and processed good, shop the perimeter of the store! Hit up the produce, meat, seafood, and dairy sections and fill your cart!
Check Out Local Farmer’s Markets, Produce Stands, and Food Co-ops
Spring and summer are a fabulous time to get great deals on many fresh items that are grown local to your area. Focus on foods that are fresh and in season, and consider buying in bulk and freezing them for future meals.
Fill Up on Fiber Rich Foods
Fiber provides a feeling of satiety since it metabolizes slowly in the digestive tract. This in turn curbs hunger cravings, allowing you to eat less and spend less. Fruits, leafy greens and whole grains are some of the best sources of fiber. These foods are also packed with nutrients and generally low on calories, making them a great addition to any healthy diet.
Freeze Your Leftovers
Studies have shown that the average family of four in the US throws away about 40% of the food that they purchase every year. However, these leftovers can easily be frozen and re-heated. By doing this, you’ll avoid wasting such large quantities of food that would otherwise end up in the garbage bin and therefore spend much less at the grocery store.
Go for Fresh, Lean Meats
While processed meats such as burgers and fried chicken are tempting, they’re neither healthy nor good value for money. If you purchase fresh, lean cuts of meat such as chicken breast or turkey breast, you’ll pay as little as $0.50 per serving. You’ll also supply your body with the essential nutrients it needs without filling up on harmful trans fats and chemical preservatives. The best part is with a few spices, you can crank up the flavor of these meats and make them taste even better than their processed counterparts.
Look For Special Offers
Before heading to the grocery store, take the time to look for discount deals. There are many sites online which provide great deals on local healthy foods which are constantly updated. Local daily newspapers are another excellent way to find discounted healthy groceries in your area. Also, make sure to keep your eyes peeled when you’re in the grocery store, as there are likely to be lots of promotions running while you shop.
Try Homemade Sauces
Making and canning your own homemade sauce can save you money. You can use many locally sourced fruits and vegetables for the ingredients and these will cost a fraction of what you’ll end up spending on 1 bottle of ketchup. The best part about making your own sauce is that they taste so much better than the processed sauces you’ll find in stores. Plus, there are many free recipes on the Internet that can help you get started making your own sauces instantly.
Prepare Your Healthy Meals In Advance
A sure way to overspend is by heading to the grocery store unprepared and tossing whatever looks good into your shopping cart. Instead of doing this, plan your healthy meals in advance and write a shopping list for the week ahead. This will allow you to control how much you spend on groceries and prevent you from going over your budget.
Take Advantage of The Grocery Store Clearance Rack
You can cut back on your grocery bill by checking for discounted foods at the clearance rack. Some stores mark down the price tag on perishable goods that are stacked on shelves when the expiry dates are nearing in order to encourage buying and reduce waste. By taking advantage of these deals, you can enjoy discounts of up to 75% on a range of tasty and healthy foods. Many of these foods on the clearance rack can be frozen, so even though you’re paying a fraction of the price, you don’t need to eat them right away.
Shop “the Seasons”
Plan your meals around the foods that are in season in your area to get the best deals. Over-abundance of freshly picked fruits and veggies lowers the price. You can do a quick search to find out what produce is heavily available, in each month, in your local area.
Eating healthy doesn’t have to be difficult, expensive, or time consuming. Grabbing a piece of fruit instead of a bar of chocolate, drinking a glass of water instead of a glass of soda or cooking up some chicken and vegetables instead of having a microwave meal are all quick and easy ways to eat more healthy. Making smart choices such as these will do you a lot of good in the long run and help you live a much fuller, happier and healthier life. If you’re curious about changing your diet for the better, please check out my newest freebie on “Ditching the Diet and Embracing Clean Eating” Get your free copy here!