First Person: Maintaining a Healthy Diet Without Breaking My Budget

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Eating healthy is not always the easiest thing for me to do without breaking my budget. I find that high calorie foods with low nutritional value are usually much cheaper than food that is low in fat, high in protein, or rich in fiber. High protein food is especially expensive for me, since my main source of protein is meats. Fish is a great source of protein, but a nice filet of fish is hard to come by for less than $5/lb. The same goes for beef. The cost of a T-bone steak is usually $7 a pound or more at my local grocery store. When I am trying to follow a high protein diet that requires me to eat four or five small meals a day, these purchases are not an option. Instead, I focus on cheaper sources of protein while avoiding high fat meats like hamburger.

In order to eat healthy foods without destroying my budget, I have to first eliminate expensive foods. I eat oatmeal, tuna, and eggs which are extremely healthy and inexpensive. Chicken breasts are a high quality meat that is very affordable. It is not uncommon for me to find chicken breasts for less than $2/lb. I don’t like to eat chicken all the time, so I head out to the meat market every once in a while to find better deals. I’m talking about the meat packing market that supplies the grocery stores in my area, not just any local butcher’s market.

The meat packing company in my area has its own small store that allows customers to buy direct from the wholesaler. I keep an eye out for sales at the local meat markets. Sometimes high quality steak will go on sale for less than $4/lb . In order to get a low price like this, I might have to buy an $80 slab of meat. If that is the case, sometimes I will buy the whole slab, have it cut into steaks, and freeze it. If I don’t really want $80 worth of steaks, sometimes I will buy the slab and get a few people to share it with me. It was easy to find the wholesaler. I just searched for “who supplies meat in the Detroit area” and several meat packing companies come up. Then I just contacted the markets and asked them if they supply meat to the public.

If you don’t have a meat packing company nearby, that doesn’t mean that you are out of luck. Shop your local grocery stores, and do not stick to just one. There is competition around for your business, so shop at the store that has the best sales each week. Buy in bulk to get the best prices. When meat goes on sale I get more than I need and freeze it. Also, if one grocery store has meat on sale, that doesn’t mean that I am going to buy all of my groceries at that store. I stop by other stores and comparison shop in order to get the most bang for my buck.

If you want produce, then check out the local fruit markets and farmers markets for great deals. If you decide to load up on fruits and vegetables at the market, your produce could spoil on you. This will end up costing you more money through spoilage than you are actually saving through your bulk purchases. Sometimes your local grocery store is fine for your fruit and vegetable needs. I do run into problems with spoilage on occasion, so I like to buy frozen vegetables to make sure that they last longer. Frozen vegetables are not very expensive and they do not have all of the preservatives added in canned vegetables.

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