When taking into account the increasing cost of health care today, the cost of medication for serious conditions and even hospitalization costs over a long period of time, the great importance of preventative care strategies both health wise and financial wise is more than obvious. In the area of preventative health care our diet and exercise habits are the two major areas over which we have control. Some statistics even seem to point out that more than 25% of cancers could be prevented through a healthy lifestyle.

Eating healthy, however, can put quite a strain on our monthly budget if we are not careful. Although keeping costs low while still getting a good nutrition can be difficult, there are a myriad of ways in which this worthwhile goal can be accomplished. Here are a few strategies that might make things a little easier and help you eat healthily on a budget:

Plan ahead. Planning your meals around healthy foods that are on sale can help you avoid spending more than you need to. Being creative in your recipes and cooking more frugal meals might require a little effort initially, but once you get used to it, you’ll be able to score important savings. Seasonal, local produce is generally cheaper, so it is generally a good choice. Frozen vegetables are also a healthy choice that can save money in certain circumstances.

The need to reduce exposure to pesticide and other dangerous substances has also made purchasing organic products highly recommendable. While organic products tend to be better for the environment than regular ones, not all products should be bought organic. Avoid purchasing organic varieties on items that offer no heath benefits such as organic cookies.

Certain fruits and vegetables don’t have to be purchased organic to get all the benefits they provide. Bananas, pineapples, kiwi, avocados or mango are a few examples of fruits you don’t have to buy organic due to their thick skin. Vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, asparagus or onions are other good examples as they require little to no pesticide use, so you can definitely save some money here.

Buying in bulk is another well known strategy to save money. To avoid waste by buying more than you need, stock up on non-perishable items such as: brown rice, nuts, pasta, oatmeal, dried fruit. However, don’t assume that buying in bulk is always the less expensive option. Look at the price per pound to be able to make a better price comparison. Buying in bulk can have the added benefit of saving on fuel and time.

Because lean meat cuts can be one of the most expensive items in the shopping cart, many people choose to eat more vegetarian meals to cut some expenses. Another option is not making meat the central part of the dish, but rather using it as a seasoning. Asian cuisine has many recipes based on this ‘principle’ so this can be a wonderful excuse to experiment with something different at home.

Cooking at home and taking food to work or school instead of buying it are another two great money savers most people are well aware of. By bringing food to work you will also be able to consume leftovers, diminishing waste as much as possible.

Last but not least, growing a garden can be an excellent money saver as well. Other ways to save money include drinking filtered tap water instead of bottled water and purchasing supplements such as multivitamins and fish oils to fill nutritional gaps.

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