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Eating Clean on a Budget

The biggest hurdle most people have to clean eating isn’t the food. Fresh, homemade, organic food is delicious! It isn’t giving up those ‘unclean’ foods either. There may be that one food you just can’t let go of, but that isn’t the biggest thing holding you back is it? The issue is the bottom line. The last light on your grocery receipt when you try to switch it all to clean, organic, GMO-free food, hit the checkout line for the first time, and almost faint when the total comes up. Maybe you didn’t even make it that far. Maybe you picked up the package of organic lunch meat, took one look at the tag on the shelf and walked the other way thinking, ‘How do people afford to eat this way?’

I can tell you, unless you have a whole lot of discretionary income, changing over your way of eating and shopping doesn’t usually happen overnight. Making small changes and continuing to look for ways to eat clean on a budget as well as looking for ways to funnel more money over to the food pot. It is an investment, but I can tell you that it is one worth making. You can either pay now for your food, or pay later for your medical bills.

To help you out, here are my top 7 tips for eating clean on a budget:

  1. Make it from scratch – Cooking at home saves money over eating out any day. You can even take it one step further and start making food from scratch, which is even cheaper than buying those fancy, boxed sides and mixes. It’s true. The ingredients inside the box probably cost two bucks, but the fancy brand names (or even generic names) will cost you. By coking from scratch, you will save money and, better yet, you will know exactly what’s in the food you’re eating. Try mastering one new dish a week!
  2. Plan your meals and shop with a list – It is always a good idea to have a plan. You will save money by knowing what you need and making less trips to the store. Typically, I sit down with my easiest and most delicious recipes, and figure out which ones I want to make for the week. I make a list of the ingredients, and cross off the ones I already have in the pantry. Then I hit the grocery store. You don’t have to make elaborate meals with 25 ingredients to be healthy and satisfied. The meals I’ve created are designed to be easy, quick, and soooooooo good.
  3. Buy in bulk – If you can, purchase larger quantities, and freeze and store the extra for another week. You can do this with your homemade food too. I do this with cookie batter. Yes, I love a good cookie every now and then, but when I make an entire batch, it’s hard to stop at just one. If I freeze the batter in ice cube trays, I just pop them out one at a time to bake for a fresh, hot cookie when the mood hits. You can do this with soups, roasts, potatoes, pasta etc.  Just store in individual portions. Stores always have bigger packs that cost less per unit. Be wary, though: sometimes the big package isn’t less. Be sure to check the unit price and be a smart shopper.
  4. Shop local and in season – Foods that are in season are generally cheaper than the foods that have to be shipped from halfway around the globe. Also, it pays to know your farmer and buy directly from the source.  Living in a major city makes this a little harder, but if you know what is in season, it is almost always cheaper. Plus, your body digests in-season foods better and helps your body with it’s detoxification process. Two birds with one stone!
  5. Use the bulk bins – Organic stores like Whole Foods always have the bulk bins. I LOVE the bulk bins. I can get a pound of chia seeds in a bulk bin for $9.99 or a half pound in packaging for $7.99. Those bulk bins are a money saver. It the container store on a sale day and get some awesome decorative jars. I keep all my bulk bin products in cool little mason jars that really spruce up my kitchen.
  6. Join a group – There are plenty of local groups that share in the savings by pooling their buying power. Check out a local co-op or CSA or start one in your area. This is not only cheaper, but often times even more convenient as a lot of the CSA’s and co-ops deliver or have easy to access pick up spots. You can find them at coopdirectory.com or localharvest.org.
  7. Go meatless – If you haven’t cut meat out of your diet, you can start by eliminating it from a few meals a week. Beans are cheaper than beef! I’m not pro vegetarian and anti- meat, but I do recognize the savings. Plus, it’s fun to change things up and experiment with new ideas. Additionally, the body has an easier time digesting plant based protein, so your body can eliminate more toxic sludge and flatten that tummy along with your pole workouts!

These are my best tips for eating healthy with a budget. If you would like to explore customized ways to feed your body for your top pole/athletic performance CLICK HERE to set up a complimentary 30 Minute Discovery Session with me and let’s get you ready to rock PoleCon!

Sarah Haskins
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