Monday, January 7, 2013

Whole Food Challenge Link Up! Week 1: Why Eating Clean is NOT Expensive

Last week I announced that this week I was going to start a weekly link up for those that wish to participate in my whole foods challenge.

Here's a little bit about how it works:
The challenge runs between January 7, 2013 through February 11, 2013 (the day after my birthday!). The five week challenge is this: Take a month to change your eating style and get rid of things like refined sugars, refined flours, and chemical additives/preservatives. Rather than having flavored creamer in your coffee, for example, try half and half or real cream with raw sugar, honey, agave nectar  or raw stevia. Rather than having a pre-packaged meal loaded with sugar, salt, and God-Knows-What, try making the same thing from scratch (you might be surprised how easy some things are to make!). Focus on fresh, wholesome, nutrient rich foods like fresh fruit and vegetables and fresh, lean meats. This is the challenge! You may link up each week, or one week, and since this is an open challenge, feel free to jump in at any time! 

To link up: Just click on "Click Here To Enter", enter your information and submit! A link to your blog post will show up at the bottom of this page!

One of the biggest complaints I hear from people is that eating healthy is too expensive. Let me be the first to say that this is not true. If you add up the average grocery bill for a family of four that includes items like pre-packaged meals (hamburger helper, macaroni and cheese, frozen meals, etc.), snack foods like chips and snack crackers, and beverages such as kool-aid, soda, etc., the bill for a week comes to over $200. Now take that same family and fill the cart with fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh meats, fresh cheeses, beans, and nuts. Believe it or not the bill will be around the same, if not less (I've tried this experiment on myself. Note, this is ONLY food items, no other items such as household cleaners or paper products is included)! Why then do people think that healthy foods cost more?

Orgainic Food: It is a fact that foods that are organic cost more than the non-organic variety. Why is this? Well, simple supply and demand. Because fewer people buy organic, the prices have to be slightly higher in order to compensate. One way to get around this is to know when to buy organic. For example, with strawberries, organic is a must because the pesticides can get under the seeds. For bananas, on the other hand, organic is not as important because the fruit inside the thick peel is never touched. Meats, when possible, should be organic due to the hormones and chemicals fed to the animals. If organic meat is not possible, stick with leaner cuts of beef and chicken, as animal fats hold on to chemicals and hormones more than the muscle does.

Even so, the cost of a pound of organic, free-range chicken is only slightly higher than a pound of non-organic chicken.

Frozen vs. Fresh vs. Canned: There are some items that can be bought frozen, rather than fresh, at a much lower price. Some great examples of frozen foods are: Spinach, peas, corn, broccoli, cauliflower, okra, beans, black eyed peas, green beans, berries, peaches - the list really could go on forever. The thing is, when a food is frozen, it's actually frozen RIGHT WHEN IT'S PICKED. So frozen foods are actually fresher than "fresh"! As for canned, there are some foods that are just fine canned, as long as you read the labels and look for ones with no added sugar or salt and no preservatives. Some great canned options are: beans, tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce. Try to avoid canned green beans, corn, peas, etc as those foods lose nutrients when they're cooked. Tomatoes, on the other hand, have nutrients that increase with the cooking process.

Lets look at the cost of an average meal for a family of four: (all prices as per and my local stores)

Hamburger Helper: $1.68
1 lb hamburger meat: 2.45
Canned Green beans: .75
Salad: 2.00
Grand total: $6.88

Now lets take that same meal, only health-ify it.

Homemade skillet meal with zucchini (.50), onion(1.00), garlic(.15/clove), canned tomatoes (.75), and 1/4 C brown rice (prepared) (.20): $2.60
1/2 lb ground turkey (with all the veggies, you don't need a whole lb!): 1.25
Salad: 2.00 (again, no need for the green beans with all the veggies in the skillet meal!)
Grand total: $5.85!!!

So, even though the main meal was a little more expensive, you saved money by using half the meat and omitting one of the side dishes!

I hope this has helped you see that eating healthy is not the expense that you might think. Remember to shop around and get the best possible prices on organic meats and produce, and remember that you can use half the amount of meat in most recipes that call for it!

That's all for this week, link up starts . . . .


Blond Duck said...

Popped in from SITS! I totally agree about clean eating being cheaper. Just think about all the med bills you're saving on later!

B. Jenkins said...

Stoppin by from SITS. I've never tried the clean eating thing, but it's something I defnitely want to prepare for and try in the near future! Popping in from SITS! I don't usually post my posts in comments, but I have a Motivational Monday link up live on my blog and I would love for you to link up this post!

Kristin Leamy said...

Oh yes, I fully agree. I've been gradually changing my diet over to clean eating, and it not only is a bit cheaper, but makes me FEEL great. I didn't realize how crappy I was feeling after eating, until it changed. Now, I know when I'm not eating well, I feel it very quickly!

Sadie Ussery said...

I love this! I will be following your blog from now on...I am starting a new way of eating...and your blog will be helpful and encouraging! Found you on SITS today!

Emily Guthrie said...

I love this idea! Great post :) Thanks for visiting me on my SITS Day!