We all know that one of the major components to a healthy life comes down to the foods we eat. The less processed foods we eat, the better our health can become. However, it’s no surprise that whole, unprocessed foods often seems like they cost more than cheap cereal bars, packaged fruit snacks, and other junk foods that are technically vegan, but actually very unhealthy. For many of us, the choice between cost and health is a tough decision that could literally cost us our lives.

The good news is there are plenty of tips and tricks you can use to incorporate more whole foods into your diet without breaking the bank. By scrutinizing and studying which items are on sale and making more detailed plans about your food shopping for the week, you can definitely stretch your dollar to buy more whole foods at a fraction of the cost.

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The Less Work ‘They’ Do, the Less You’ll Pay

Are you spending loads of money on prewashed greens, pre-cooked grains, and pre-cut veggies and fruits? If so, stop now! Part of the reason these whole foods are so expensive is because the food company is doing much more work. Even baby carrots cost more than regular carrots that you need to peel and chop. You’ll notice that when you buy traditional greens that require washing or whole fruits that often these foods will cost less. All it takes is spending an extra 10 minutes of preparing and cooking for a meal that’s considerably cheaper and just as tasty. Check out this article on How to Hack Your way to Slicing and Chopping in Record Time.

Frozen Foods Are Not Always the Enemy

Didn’t think frozen foods can be whole foods? Think again. Frozen fruits and vegetables are a great alternative when you can’t afford to buy everything fresh, or when a certain fruit or vegetable isn’t in season. Buying veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, peas and corn are just a few of the tons of veggies you can find in the frozen section of your grocery store. Make sure you buy frozen produce that is plain and doesn’t have any additional spices or sauces. These add-ons aren’t just unhealthy, but they’ll drive up the price. Also, remember that unlike canned fruits and veggies that have loads of chemicals, frozen foods have a very similar nutritional profile to their fresh counterpart.

Use Resources Wisely

Don’t be that person who is constantly throwing away leftovers, spoiled food, or random pieces of fruits and veggies that you only used once for a single recipe. Planning your meals for the week is essential to getting as many whole foods into your diets as possible. For instance, if you’re making veggie fajitas one night dinner, throw those sautéed veggies into a tofu scramble the next morning and enjoy it with toast. This is a perfect way to use up leftovers without letting food go to waste. Some leftover rice and beans can be a great base for a hearty, fiber-rich and satisfying soup.

Getting more whole foods into your diet ultimately comes down to your strategy in the kitchen. If you take the time to find good food deals and plan your meals accordingly, you’ll surely notice a savings in your food bill within a couple of weeks!

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Image source: National Cancer Institute/Wikimedia

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