Fruits and vegetables are essential for a strong body and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but purchasing produce can be challenging when you are trying to stretch a tight budget.
Budget-conscious shoppers may be tempted to bypass produce in favor of pre-packaged processed foods that appear to have more bang for the buck.
In the short-term this may seem like a good idea, “but the total cost isn’t reflected in how much you pay for your meal in the immediate moment, it’s the cumulative cost of what those decisions cost you over a lifetime,” writes Dr. Mark Hyman. Hyman is a family physician, best-selling author and Chairman of the Institute for Functional Medicine in Federal Way, Washington.
Experts say on average, people who eat unhealthy foods pay $1,500 per year more on health care over their lifetime than those that eat healthy.
Research shows eating a diet high in fruit and vegetables lowers the risk of chronic disease, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, obesity-related cancers and arthritis, among others.
Fruits and vegetables of different colors give your body a wide range of valuable nutrients, like fiber, folate, potassium, and vitamins A and C and most are naturally low in calories, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC recommends filling one-half of your plate each meal with produce.
The best part is eating healthy doesn’t have to break the bank. Try these tips to eat healthy on a budget.
Grow Your Own
If you've got a yard, make some of that valuable real estate work for you by starting a garden. Growing your own food can yield the biggest value for a small investment.
Pick an area in your yard that gets a sufficient amount of sunlight (at least six hours a day). If you're not an experienced gardener, start small and pick easy-to-grow produce that thrives in your area and suits your personal taste.