Clean Eating on a Budget

Clean Eating on a Budget

Marcy Cline – February 6, 2021

Can you really eat clean on a budget?  I’m going to share a few tips and tricks to help you eat clean and save money.  I know from everything I’ve read that eating clean is better for our bodies and rids the toxins and all the inflammation, but how can you do it and stay on budget?  Let me start off by explaining what is meant by “clean eating”.  Clean eating is about eating whole foods in their most natural state, or as close as possible.  Clean eating is not a diet!  It simply involves choosing foods that are minimally processed, which can provide the maximum nutrition, so essentially real foods.  Clean eating is about eating real food for a happy healthy life.  

Organize

I like to plan at the beginning of each week and this way I’m only buying items I need.  I also look at my pantry before grocery shopping and make sure I’m not out of something like flour or oats.  I have definitely saved money this way – by only buying what I actually need.  I also find that apps like instacart and walmart grocery pick up to be helpful.  Then I’m not buying unnecessary items that I don’t need – this has really saved me money!

Stay away from overpriced stores

I’m a sucker for Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s!  Yes, they have all the clean foods you would ever need, but sometimes the prices are a bit more expensive.  I like Aldi’s for my produce and lean meats and I hit up walmart for my organic milk and eggs.  Actually walmart has the largest selection of organic foods, if you’re into organic. You can definitely make the switch to eating clean and not spend an arm and a leg.

Speaking of organic

Organic just means that the food is free of chemical pesticides, and yes we really don’t want those in our body especially if we are trying to be healthy.  There are ways around that if you just can’t seem to spend that extra couple dollars for organic.

  1. Clean your produce when you get home.  I like to make a water and vinegar bath and then rinse, dry and cut up afterward.
  2. Certain foods like avocados, sweet corn, pineapple, onions, cabbage, mangos, honeydew, cantaloupe, and cauliflower are less likely to be contaminated with pesticides – so you don’t have to buy organic here.

Watch what you buy

Don’t stock up on produce.  Fruits and veggies don’t last too long, so only buy what you need for the week or two.  I buy bulk items like bread and lean meats – items that can be kept in the freezer till I need them.

So now let’s talk foods

I’m sure you’re aware that eating more fruits and vegetables are healthy, right!  I mean they contain so many good nutrients for our bodies like fiber, vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds that help fight inflammation and protect our cells from damage.  Sounds good right!  So here are some tips on adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet:

  1. Choose at least 3 different colorful veggies in addition to the greens when making a salad.
  2. Try adding berries, apples and orange slices to your dishes.
  3. Wash and chop veggies when you bring them home and place in containers that are easy to reach for.

Another tip is to buy organic which will take your clean eating a step further by reducing pesticides, but if that’s not an option make sure you are rinsing your veggies with a veggie detergent (either store bought or homemade).  I like to soak mine in water and vinegar and then rinse.  

Let’s talk processed foods

Processed foods should be avoided when working on your clean eating lifestyle.  Processed foods are modified, which means they don’t have all their fiber and nutrients and have gained sugar, chemicals, or other bad ingredients the body shouldn’t have.   Processed foods have been linked to inflammation and increased risk of heart disease. (Defago et al., 2014). 

What are some of your ways you eat clean on a budget?

I’d love to hear your tips and tricks!

References

Defago, M., Elorriaga, N., Irazola, V., & Rubinstein, A. (2014, December 16). Influence of food patterns on endothelial biomarkers: a systematic review. J Clin Hypertens, 907-913. 10.1111/jch.12431

Haas, E. M. (2012). The Detox Diet (3rd ed.). Ten Speed Press.