Budgeting Your Health
by: Karla Musseman, RD
Chronic diseases are on the rise about half of all adults living in the United States have one or more chronic disease. Scientist recognize that most of the chronic diseases that plague the United States are due to environmental factors and about 35% of that comes from our diet. Our bodies function on chemical reactions and when a part of that equation is compromised it cannot complete the needed processes to run properly. The human body is proficient at filling in the gaps, but over a prolonged period small deficiencies create many problems that can lead to chronic diseases. Science tells us that the best source of nutrition comes from our food, but unfortunately, not all foods are created equal. Whole organic food offers the most nutritious value, but we often do not eat enough of these foods. In fact, the typical American diet is less than 35% whole food. One of the biggest concerns when changing to a healthier lifestyle is the impact on the family budget.
Here are 10 ways to increase whole foods in your diet without adding much to your bottom line
- Shop Seasonally– at local and farmer’s markets. To prevent wasted produce- shop weekly for fresh fruits and vegetables. Try prepping and chopping organic fruits and vegetables on the weekends to save time during the week. This will help encourage your family to eat them during the week.
- Frozen Fruit & Vegetables– save and stock up on organic frozen fruits and vegetables when they are on sale
- Get Whole Grains– buy whole grains in bulk from a food coop or the bulk bins at Whole Foods or Sprouts. This will help increase your fiber intake and is very economical in feeding a family
- Protein Packed Eggs– organic eggs are a great way to increase protein for any meal, they are fast to prepare and affordable
- Purchase Canned Fish– canned wild caught, soy free fish is a great source of Omega 3 fatty acids and very affordable
- Organize and Store Foods Properly– keeping your pantry and refrigerator organized and storing foods properly will help to decrease waste
- Buying in Bulk– buying products when they are on sale and in bulk will help your budget long term, however ensure the foods are stored properly
- Plan and Prepare meals at Home– planning and preparing meals at home will help you save money, opt to prepare freezer meals on the weekend and plan a weekly menu. Preparing meals at home instead of eating out will help you save money.
- Save at Coop’s and Farmer’s Markets– these are great places to buy locally fresh, high quality organic foods, most do not require a minimum order or a premium for membership
- Member Savings Club– while these stores require a premium for membership, the cost savings if you buy in bulk often is a great and in the end will save you money
Eating a diet that is rich in whole foods, especially fruits and vegetables increases your fiber intake, antioxidants, phytochemicals, phytoestrogens, and anti-inflammatory agents through protective mechanisms which all help to fight and prevent disease. You can eat healthfully on a budget, it may require some rearranging of time and energy but it is a matter of your health.
If you live here in the Tulsa area, below are a few places to shop for whole organic foods and meats.
Resources for Shopping Locally in Tulsa
Oklahoma Food Cooperative
The Produce Gathering
Darp Processing- Chicken
Aldi’s (Is adding additional Organic products to their stores)