It’s a common notion that part of the reason why so many people are overweight, obese and saddled with diet-related chronic diseases like heart disease and type 2 diabetes is because they simply can’t afford to eat healthy. But are healthy foods really more expensive than their junk food counterparts? eating healthy on budget

Is Junk Food Really Cheap?

Many families are juggling not only tight schedules but also tight budgets. But if you’re basing your family’s diet on fast-food dollar menus, you are quite literally fueling future disease, which will bring a toll on your family physically, emotionally and financially down the road. If you’re thinking, “I have $10 to feed my family of four and I get off work at 7 pm, what else can I do?” The answer is: “Quite a bit”. The reality is, any money spent on junk food is an absolute waste, not a bargain!

How to Eat Real Food on a Budget

There is a way to eat healthy on a budget. In order to protect your health, spend 90 percent of your food budget on whole foods, and only 10 percent on processed foods. This requires strategies, especially if you’re working with a tight budget:

#1 – Become resourceful: This is an area where your grandmother can be a wealth of information, as how to use up every morsel of food and stretch out a good meal was common knowledge to generations past. What I mean is getting back to the basics of cooking — using the bones from a roast chicken to make stock for a pot of soup, extending a Sunday roast to use for weekday dinners, learning how to make hearty stews from inexpensive cuts of meat, using up leftovers, etc.

#2 – Plan your meals: This is essential when it comes to eating healthy on a budget, as you will need to be prepared for mealtimes in advance to be successful. Ideally this will involve scouting out your local farmer’s markets for in-season produce that is priced to sell, and planning your meals accordingly, but you can also use this same premise with supermarket sales. You can generally plan a week of meals at a time, make sure you have all ingredients necessary on hand, and then do any prep work you can ahead of time so that dinner is easy to prepare if you’re short on time in the evenings.

# 3 – Avoid food waste: Americans waste an estimated 1,400 calories of food per person, each and every day. The two steps above will help you to mitigate food waste in your home. As a Wellness Consultant, I also provide clients with access to organic whole food supplements.

# 4 – Drink Water: Soft drinks and sugary juices or energy drinks add calories to your body and detract from your grocery budget. Cut out all drinks but water for an entire week and see how much money you can shave from your grocery budget. This includes runs to expensive coffee houses and stops at work or school vending machines.

To learn more about eating healthy on a budget, give me, Certified Nutritionist & Wellness Consultant Isabelle Simon, a call at 727-239-9443 or e-mail me at