How to Eat Healthy on the Cheap

Recently, I received an email that made me take pause. It went:

“You (and you’re not alone in this, believe me) seem to imply that all of us are in a position to lug home sacks of sea salt and fresh pomegranates, along with buckets of unpasteurized honey. But there is a large (and rapidly growing) segment of the population that must get its daily calorie quota from the very “boxes and cans” you so understandably condemn…”

My first reaction was “Hey, I’m just giving the facts here. Unpasteurized honey is healthier than the pasteurized variety, and there isn’t much I can do about the fact that it costs more.” But then it made me stop and think. I guess I am writing from a rather privileged perspective at the moment, and I suppose some of my health recommendations reflect that. However, I have been on the other side of that fence in the past. So, rather than get all defensive about it, I decided I should try and impart a little advice to the financially challenged.

Eating healthy is about prioritizing. If you rely on the food-bank for some of your foods, and all they have is canned beans, then eat the canned beans, but supplement it with fresh vegetables. Skip the hyped “superfoods” that are supposed to have higher nutrient content (which is reflected in the price), and just get fresh fruits and vegetables. All fresh produce have nutrients that you need.

Bones from the butcher are cheap, so use them to make beautiful and healthy stocks. Stocks will help to round out other proteins in the diet and they are delicious as soups or sauces.

If organic apples are too expensive, look for organic celery. If it’s all too expensive, then just get the conventionally farmed stuff. Always try for local (which can often be cheaper) and look for local farmers’ markets which can also offer good deals.

I guess the point is to use the information in this blog as best you can. Yes, I’m going to say that canned foods aren’t as healthy as the fresh variety, because that is the case. But if you eat the canned vegetable in a salad of fresh local greens you’re making it better.