When financial stress comes along, we eagerly look to cut costs wherever we can.  But, your health is one corner you should not cut.  In fact, now is the time to focus even more on your health and food, and you may be surprised to learn that eating healthier saves you money too!  I already mentioned the value of switching to a vegetarian diet or incorporating a few veg meals a week in your meal plan (see above article).  Here are some other tips to eating healthier in an economic crisis:


1. Eat at home – and get creative

Eating out at restaurants or ordering take out can certainly add up. Cooking your own meals more often may increase your grocery bill, but will decrease your overall spending per month. Try creative cooking methods like cooking once, eating thrice, and adding in spices and herbs rather than store bought sauces and marinades. Also, plan your meals ahead of time, and try to use 2 or 3 central ingredients for 5 or 6 dishes. That way, you can buy what you need and not risk wasting anything.


2.  Don’t sacrifice quality

It may be tempting to buy that Velveeta Cheese for several bucks less than the grass-fed, organic cheese on the shelf, but you will certainly be buying a lower grade product. When stress levels are high, we want to put the best foods in our bodies, including organically grown vegetables and humanely raised meat products. Pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, and highly refined products all interfere with our bodies’ natural system and can add even more stress on your body.  Why waste your money on things that harm you?  Load up on veggies and fruits to strengthen your body and fight stress.  Skip over the packaged and processed foods.


3.  Don’t shop hungry!

Shopping on an empty stomach makes you more susceptible to impulsive buying.  We often “eat with our eyes” and when we go shopping hungry, we are more likely to purchase prepared food, snacks and other tempting treats that are easy to open.  Often, we eat them before we even drive home!  To avoid impulse buys, eat a well-balanced meal before you go shopping, plan ahead with a grocery list (allowing for 1 impulse buy so you don’t feel deprived), and limit the number of times you go to the supermarket to once or twice a month. Every time you walk into the store, you are tempted all over again.  For produce, visit your Farmers’ Market or order from a CSA or food co-op.  This is a great way to get quality produce at a convenient price too!