I know that money-saving week has officially ended, but there’s no time limit on great, wallet-friendly ideas. Today, I was inspired by a conversation with my beautiful friend Sandra, who has five adorable kids with great manners. Don’t know how she does it… Anyway, we were discussing the high cost of healthy eating, and exchanging a few tips along the way. Here, some of our ideas for getting the healthiest food for your family, no matter what your budget!
1. Go Organic Where it Counts: In my opinion, the most important things to buy organic are dairy products (esp. milk), meats, and some produce. According to an excellent segment on a recent Dr. Oz (watch the segment here), thin-skinned produce, and produce where the skin is actually eaten, are the most important to buy organic. These include peppers, tomatoes, apples and strawberries. Fruits or veggies with thick skin that is discarded, like avocados, bananas, and coconuts, do not need to be organic. Dr. Oz’s expert even mentions a way to save big on organic packaged good, and even get some items for free, by signing up on recyclebank.com.
2. Buy Supermarket “Green” Brands: Whenever there is a supermarket organic option, I generally go for it, unless it’s something where we have a strong brand preference. For example, I always buy supermarket brand organic canned tomatoes, salsa, corn chips, breads, and even meats.
3. Don’t be Blinded by Organic: Many very healthy brands are not labelled organic, including some items by Bear Naked, Kashi foods, and Annie’s Homegrown. Check the ingredient lists and nutrition info to get the big picture, and if it has the nutrition profile you want, don’t be afraid to include it in your family’s diet.
4. Check for money-saving magazine articles: My favorite healthy eating magazine, Clean Eating, features budget-friendly options every month. The March issue features a week’s worth of yummy, healthy family dinners for $50. Other tips: substitute less-expensive but superhealthy mackerel for pricy salmon, and use less expensive, canned salmon to make salmon burgers and casseroles.
5. Look for Supermarket Alternatives to Pricey Health Food Brands: Everyone knows that Ezekiel breads are super-healthy, but if you’re making half a dozen sandwiches a day, the cost adds up. Look for a bread with a very short ingredient list, and make sure it says “whole wheat flour” or another whole grain as the first ingredient. “Wheat flour” is not the same things as “whole wheat” flour, and multigrain is meaningless unless it says 100% whole grain. Avoid any bread with high fructose corn syrup. Ideally, bread should have 3 grams of fiber per serving or more. Try Nature’s Own 100% Whole Wheat or Pepperidge Farm Whole Grain 100% Whole Wheat.