Do You Have to be Rich to Eat Healthy?

I think one of the biggest concerns people often have about the Whole Food Plant Based lifestyle is thinking it’s going to be very expensive. As a young single guy, I certainly thought so. But it doesn't have to be that way! By focusing more on the basics of whole plant foods instead of buying pre-made products, you will find that there are plenty of healthy, delicious, affordable foods right in your local grocery store, and you may even discover many more varieties of plant foods than you ever realized existed!

If you're looking for something hearty, things like brown rice, oats and whole grain pasta are often very inexpensive, especially when purchased in bulk. They are very simple to prepare, filling, loaded with nutrients and with so many varieties, extremely versatile and delicious!

Now to kick up the satiety factor, let’s talk beans. Beans & legumes are one of the most perfect and complete foods on the planet. Black beans, red beans, white beans, kidney beans, pintos, garbanzos, many different types of beans, all with their own unique flavors, and most of them are very cheap! Try buying dry beans instead of canned because you get more for your money and they don’t have any added salt or other ingredients. Delicious over rice, in soups...and even as a base for healthy brownies. You really can’t go wrong with beans! Some of my personal favorites are black beans and kidney beans!

When putting together a meal, here is where the process can bring out your inner artist with all the colors of fruits and vegetables! There’s a common belief that fresh produce is very expensive, and when mindful of budget, many of us end up avoiding the produce section altogether. Upon closer observation, however, you may find that things like kale, cucumbers, carrots, bell peppers, potatoes and many other fresh veggies are often much cheaper than you think. The same is true for apples, pears, plums and many fresh fruits. Some grocers have even started sections for discount produce where fruits and vegetables that are a bit older (but still good) are dramatically reduced.

If you can’t seem to find affordable fresh produce in your area, check out the freezer section. Frozen fruits and vegetables are typically frozen right after being harvested, retaining most of their original nutrients. Frozen plant foods can sometimes be significantly cheaper than fresh, but always remember to check the ingredients list and make sure that you aren’t getting a bunch of unwanted ingredients (like oil and salt) along with them.

For too many, grocery shopping on a budget means buying things like boxed mac and cheese, processed instant noodles, and frozen fish sticks. And even when trying to be frugal, many people consider things like milk, eggs and cheese to be necessities that they can’t go without. But what I've found is that eliminating all those animal products and processed foods, has resulted in a much bigger nutritional bang for the buck. And the money saved by not having to go to the doctor, or purchase medication well...that can be HUGE! So stop worrying! You don’t have to choose between being frugal and being healthy, you can do both!

-Chris Emerson,
Eating You Alive Team Member