One of the core components of any medical weight loss program is dietary changes. As you adjust to your new lifestyle, you will begin incorporating healthier food choices into your daily diet. This is actually one of the biggest issues that many people run into when thinking about losing weight or eating more healthily. Healthy food carries the stigma of being more expensive, and considering the average American already spends about $6,300 on food every year, the thought of food expenses going up is a legitimate concern for most.
This concern isn’t completely unfounded, but that doesn’t mean that eating healthy is out of the budget. A 2013 study out of Harvard Medical School found that eating healthy does indeed cost more than eating a standard junk-food filled diet. On average, eating healthy costs about $1.50 more per day. That is less than the average cost of a cup of coffee, or a standard newspaper or magazine subscription. While even a minor increase in expenses like this might be looked at as a barrier to adapting a healthier lifestyle, the benefits of eating a healthier diet are worth it. Furthermore, there are ways that you can cut down this budgetary increase and adopt to a healthier diet without the change in expenses. In fact, there are even ways that you can save money by eating healthier.
Here are a few ways you and your family can enjoy healthy yet affordable food.
- Grow your own produce. Gardening is one of the most economical ways to enjoy healthy, fresh food for nearly a quarter of the price. If you’re a bit nervous to start one on your own, talk to people in your neighborhood about building a community garden for several families to enjoy.
- Stay in for dinner instead of dining out. Today, Americans spend almost half of their food budget on eating out at restaurants. Save yourself some money by making an effort to make healthy meals at home. You can even double your recipe to freeze the leftovers and enjoy them later to really save some dollars each month on food.
- Visit a farmer’s market. Farmer’s markets offer healthy eaters an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables straight from the source. By joining a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), you not only help support local farmers but have access to healthy produce options that have less genetic modification. Compared to inflated grocery store produce, Farmer’s markets tend to sell items at a more reasonable price.
- Make a list and stick to it. Oftentimes, most of the money we spend at the grocery store goes to impulse purchases on unhealthy and unnecessary items. Make a list of only the health foods you need for the week to supplement your medical weight loss diet and only purchase what’s on the list. You will be surprised how much you save by excluding impulse purchases.
There’s no beating around the bush when it comes to healthy food—if you want to create a healthier lifestyle for you and your family to supplement weight loss, then you’ll have to change the way you shop and eat. With a little practice you can eat nutritiously without busting your bank account.