One of the most frequent reasons I hear (next to feeling overwhelmed) for not eating a whole foods diet is that it is just too expensive. There’s this general thought that if you want to eat healthy foods, you better get your wallet out.
I don’t know many people who are at liberty to lavishly spend their income. Most of us have to keep our budgets in check. But I’m convinced that there are some myths floating around that can lead us to assume that healthy foods and trim grocery bills can’t go hand in hand, and I’m here to do some myth-busting!
1. If You Can’t Buy Organic, You Shouldn’t Even Bother Trying
Organic food is usually a superior choice when you can afford it, but let’s be real. Organic is sometimes just not an option when things are tight. If you’re there, do you have other options?
Yes, you do! There is no shame in buying conventionally grown and produced whole foods. In fact, choosing those over more processed items is a great way to enjoy real food without the sticker shock.
Keep in mind that it’s always a good idea to read the food label if you’re buying a non-organic packaged food item, like bread or tortillas.
2. Organic Food is Always More Expensive
It’s happened to me on many occasions when I’ve been grocery shopping and found an organic option that was equal to and sometimes even less expensive than it’s conventional counterparts! This usually happens at a local discount store I frequent.
So while organic foods aren’t a necessity for an unprocessed diet, you might just be surprised to find that some organic foods are very much in your price range! Always be on the look out for those surprising deals, especially items that come in bulk.
3. “Natural” Is Worth the Extra Money
When I see the word natural on any package, I see a red flag and a marketing scheme. I usually see a higher price tag, too.
The word natural is one of the sneakiest tricks played on consumers wanting to eat better. Natural is a meaningless term splattered on all sorts of items that are far from what anyone with common sense would consider natural. It doesn’t denote any level of quality, standard of production, or allowable ingredients.
Don’t fall for the natural marketing trick. Read the food label to decide if a food is really close to its natural state or not.
4. Fresh Produce Costs More Than Chips, Crackers, and Fruit Snacks
I really believe that if our family bought typical snack foods like crackers, chips, fruit snacks, and granola bars, even the generic varieties, our grocery spending would sky-rocket! These prepackaged food items can be nice conveniences on occasion but can really put a dent into the budget if they are relied upon for snacks.
Instead of foods like these, that offer little nutrition and real staying power, snacks like apple slices, carrot sticks, cheese slices, or peanut butter are more cost effective. The provide nutrients in their natural form and keep tummies (both big and little) full for longer.
5. If You’re Going to Eat Healthy, You Have to Shop Health Food Stores
Health food stores can be a great place to start if you’re new to the many whole foods options available, but they do tend to carry higher price tags. Sometimes you can find a great health food store that is comparable to regular stores (I used to live by a great one), but generally speaking, the products are more expensive.
But guess what! You don’t have to rely on the health food store to eat well. Even the most budget-friendly stores like Aldi and Big Lots have started carrying more unprocessed and even organic items! If finances are tight and you want to seek out more wholesome foods, don’t be afraid to check out a nearby discount grocery store. I do much of my grocery shopping at a local chain that specializes in close-outs and discounts.
Ready for More Myth-Busting Secrets?
I, along with four other natural living & real food bloggers, co-authored an ebook that is all about helping you serve your family frugal, real food. We’ve shared our best tips on buying, cooking, preserving, and more; and no foodie book would be complete without recipes! Some of our tastiest and most budget-friendly meals are featured in The Frugal Secrets of Real Foodies. It’s a great read!