It Is Expensive to Be Healthy, Right!?

By Anna-Maria Boelskov - September 26, 2014

My guide to cost effective healthy living

I know when I tell my patients to eat a more nourishing diet it will initially require more planning and it can feel like it’s more expensive. Especially when I ask them to get the grass fed meat vs. the grain fed, and organic berries vs. Coles and Woollies frozen berries… but I have found it’s not quite the case....

To have a healthier and more nourishing diet you almost always have to make your own food. Making your own food is the way forward when you want to do the right thing by your health – when we buy take away & pre-packaged food, we don’t know what quality the produce is and it’s the quality of the produce that hold the magic. Often there is added salt (not the good quality kind) and vegetable oils which I do not recommend for health! If we settle for grain fed meat, caged eggs, and fruit and vegetables that has been sprayed with chemicals – then we will certainly effect our health long term in a negative way – and there, already there we have a big expense for our health.

Being frugal doesn't mean that you have to compromise on nutritious food. Here are some of my tips to stay healthy and make it work for your family’s budget:

  • Cook your meals at home – yes, all 3 meals –make larger portions and keep the left overs for lunch or snacks. I know this can sound daunting if this is new to you, and yes it will take some getting used to but arm yourself with some great recipes and you will get the hang of it in no time – you might even love it!
  • What really seem to be more costly is the grass fed meat and chemical & hormone free chicken, but here you need to make sure you use the whole chicken i.e. eat the meat, use the bones to make soups and broths for later use to go into other meals and the broth will add a serious nutrition punch!  You don’t have to go for the expensive cuts, try the less popular and cheaper cuts such as lamb necks and shanks, beef brisket and chuck eye – yes they will do better with a good marinade or in a slow cooker but you will be getting more for your money. On this note I want to mention that salmon tails are really great nutritionally (please keep the skin on) and they are a lot cheaper too. These ideas are just as good and yummy and the great thing is, the body is satisfied with less as you will be getting more nourishment from what you’re actually eating.
  • A great way to get fresh, local and chemical free fruit and vegetables are via Co-ops and another handy way I personally get my greens are via Ooooby who deliver to my area every week at a fraction of the cost, if I were to buy it at the organic health food shops. This for me saves time and money and I love knowing I am doing good for our local farmers who are trying to do the right thing.
  • Have your three meals with a bit of everything – protein, roughly the size of the palm of your hand, Vegetables about 1 cup or more per meal, and naturally occurring fats i.e. the fat on your fish or meat, avocado, a bit of organic butter to add yumminess to your vegetables etc – this way you will feel fuller for longer, more energy and require less snacking.
  • Don’t buy non-foods – fluffy carbs. They seem cheap but it all ads up and they give you nothing of real value when it comes to your health. So leave out the cereals and muesli bars etc. Stick to the whole foods that serve your body everything it needs.
  • Lastly I want to mention a very important element for your health that will affect overall cost. Be conscious about what you eat on a daily basis. By being mindful about what’s going into your body, you will over time notice that you don’t ‘need’ that extra snack or sugary drink. My advice is to have three well rounded meals daily and when needed, a protein rich snack and of course plenty of water, herbal teas and fresh air. Food and emotions go hand in hand – no doubt, so on days when you feel stressed or upset, you might very well snack on carbohydrate & sugary foods and have another coffee etc. I urge you to check in with yourself daily, a few times per day, to see how you really are feeling. By being more mindful of your food, you can make better choices and this I dare say, may be the most valuable tip of them all.

With all of this … you will find it takes a little time, about 2 weeks, to get into a routine – be prepared, make a plan for the week and write it down. Order online so you don’t get carried away in the shops or visit your local weekend fresh food market. I know it can be a hard first step but it gets easier quickly and your life will be a whole lot simpler from it and you will be taking the best care of yourself by using food as medicine. On top of this you are setting a wholesome picture for your kids whilst caring for our environment!

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