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Healthy Food is Expensive: Eating Healthy on a Budget

I have eaten healthy on and off throughout my entire life, and there is one thing that has remained consistent: healthier foods are often much more expensive than less healthy foods. The times in my life when I had the lowest income were also times in my life when I was the heaviest. Some of it is unavoidable; protein, for example, is an important part of any healthy diet, and most sources of quality protein are going to be expensive. This is one fact that I accept. Produce is also very expensive, which is why I imagine that so many families that have a low income are also overweight. Carbohydrates are cheap at the grocery stores and so are many fatty items.

Many processed "diet" items, such as low-calorie desserts and ice cream products have their prices cranked up for no reason, though. For example, Weight Watchers and Skinny Cow brand ice cream products are almost twice the cost of full-fat, full-sugar ice cream. There is no reason for this. For those who would like to eat healthy, but are also on a very tight budget, here are some tips for you:

1. Cheap, healthy sources of protein included eggs, dried beans and cottage cheese. You can also find cans of tuna at a good price when they are on sale. Try to have one of these protein-packed items at every meal.

2. Cut out the diet soda (or, gasp, regular soda!) if you drink it, and switch to homemade iced tea sweetened with a store-brand sucralose product. If you drink lots of regular soda every day, you can lose several pounds by switching to a calorie-free beverage.

3. Frozen fruit is often less expensive than fresh fruit. This fruit can be thawed out and used like fresh fruit, or blended with milk in a blender to make a nice smoothie. Add a little yogurt if you can. This can be a substitute for those overpriced, "diet" ice cream products.

4. Meat cold cuts are extremely expensive for what you get. Purchase chicken breasts and turkey burgers when they are on sale, and you will get much more protein for your money.

5. Healthy, affordable carbohydrates include oatmeal, whole wheat bread, wheat pasta and brown or white rice. White potatoes and sweet potatoes are also healthy side items and are good for you as long as you do not cover them with butter.