Healthy Eating On A Budget. Reduce The Dollars And The Pounds

Most of us think that healthy eating on a budget is impossible, or downright tricky. Now, while certified organic foods and vegetables may well be more expensive than their non-organic cousins, there are still plenty of ways to have a healthier diet and reduce the grocery bill. Here’s how:

* Grow your own fruit, veges and herbs.
Having your own vege patch is a great way to save money, have fresh produce, and better yet, know how the produce was treated. You do not need a huge yard to start growing. Many smaller veges including tomatoes, lettuce, strawberries, and herbs can all be grown in planters.

* Farmer’s markets are a much cheaper and fresher alternative than the large grocery shops. Generally, the produce has been picked just the day before, as opposed to some large chains who have produce in cold storage for months. Most farmers are happy to tell you what, if any, sprays they have used on their produce.

* End of the day
for markets and shops in general is a great way to save money. Visit your local bakery just before closing and get your bread at half price. Markets will have end of day sales as well. The down side? You may not be able to purchase what you want.

* Cook from first principles. Making meals from scratch yourself is always going to be more cost effective and healthier. You are in control of the fat, salt, and sugar content. Make a big batch and freeze the leftovers.

* Substitute
refined and processed foods for their whole grain cousins. Brown rice, wholemeal flour and pastas are more filling and provide a more stable blood sugar level than the overly processed white versions. You will fill up sooner and feel fuller for longer. The end result? You will end up eating less snacks and fattening after dinner treats.

* Join a co-op
specialising in organic produce or fresh fruits and veges. The savings will be significant as will the variety of selections.

* Start a neighbourhood co-op
or swap. Can’t get into a co-op? Growing too many potatoes in the back yard? Chooks laying too many eggs? Why not get a group of locals together and form your own co-op or neighbourhood swap? Not only will your produce bills be next to nothing, you will have a huge diversity to select from. With some careful planning, and with everyone growing different produce, you could all become quite self sufficient for fruit, veges and the like.

* Fresh is best.
That apple or banana may look expensive on the shelf. However, it is actually cheaper than a muffin and coffee bought on the spur of the moment for breakfast on the run or morning tea, or the snack at the mall. Not only is it cheaper, it contains far more vitamins, minerals, fiber, and less fats.

* Fresh snacks.
Stop buying cookies, muesli bars, breakfast bars, and chocolate bars. These products actually add up in cost, as well as calories and fats. Fresh fruits and vegetables generally have much lower glycemic indexes than packaged snacks. This will help prevent those afternoon cravings for sugar and those violent sugar swings that too many refined carbs can produce.

* Drink water.
Water out of the tap is free. Nor only that, it has no calories, sugar, or fat grams. It will not rot your teeth. It is not full of artificial flavors, sweeteners or colors. If your local water supply is questionable, invest in a water filter system. The initial cost will soon be saved with not buying sodas and packaged drinks.

* Buy seasonal in bulk. Take a drive to the country and buy direct from the roadside. Boxes of fresh produce are hugely discounted. Go with friends and buy different produce and split it all up at the end of the day. Alternatively, cook, preserve, bottle, or freeze the excess for later on in the year.

Conclusion.

There are many simple tips and strategies you can use to have a healthy diet and still cut the grocery bill. Healthy foods need not cost you a fortune. Organic food and produce may cost more, but in the long term, you may well recoup your money with savings on better health.

Do You Really Need Natural Vitamin Supplements?

In this day and age of take out meals, and eating on the run, many of us are not eating the freshest and best foods that we should. Will natural vitamin supplements really improve your health?

Take a look in your local grocery store and you will see shelves, and possibly whole aisles, dedicated to vitamins and supplements. Likewise on the Net, there are literally so many choices it becomes confusing. While the world happily swallows mouthfuls of pills and tonics to compensate for their busy lifestyles, stress, and poor eating habits, are they really improving their health?

Most nutritionists will tell you that there is no substitute for a healthy diet rich in fresh foods and antioxidants. However, if you find yourself consistently skipping meals and living on fast foods, then perhaps it is time to consult a nutritionist. An expert on nutrition will be able to evaluate your regular input and pinpoint what you are missing out on.

A good quality vitamin will assist in supplementing the parts of your diet that are lacking. It is always important to read the labels and to only take the recommended dose. Some vitamins and minerals can have toxic side effects when taken in large amounts, or when mixed with other medications. If in doubt, check with your medical practitioner before taking any new supplements.

Many herbal and vitamin tablets and tonics have not been tested by the FDA. This can ultimately mean that the quality of the ingredients can vary greatly from brand to brand, and that the safety of the ingredients has not always been researched and approved. Purchasing your supplements from a reputable and well respected company is probably a safer option.

Research has shown that diets rich in antioxidants provide anti-aging benefits and may protect against some cancers. Antioxidants work by soaking up all the free radicals in your system. Free radicals are the little nasties that help contribute to aging, cell damage, and cancers. Antioxidants are found in fresh fruits and vegetables. The more colorful the fruit or vegetable, the more antioxidants it will contain.

The juice of goji berries is now being added to supplements to increase the levels of antioxidants being provided. The manufacturers of these supplements claim that the juice of this berry will provide the highest amount of antioxidant in any herbal supplement.

Natural vitamin supplements can also be useful for those who are unwell, or recovering from illness, where their diet has been compromised, and their intake low. In these instances, supplements can be helpful to help restore vitamin deficiencies. Supplements can also be beneficial for those people who follow diets where major food groups are deliberately deleted. For example, many women who opt not to consume red meat may need iron supplements long term to prevent anemia.

While vitamins and minerals can help address nutritional deficiencies in your diet, the more healthy option is try and achieve better nutrition. Fresh fruits and vegetables are just jam packed with all those goodies that you are purchasing in a jar. Good quality natural vitamin supplements may be beneficial to those suffering from poor health and inadequate nutritional intake. Ultimately, it is always going to be better practice to consume a well balanced and healthy diet incorporating all the major food groups, and plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.