Eating clean is all over the place these days. You will see recipes for eating clean on Pinterest, people talking about it on social media and even the news doing stories on it.
But what exactly is eating clean?
Eating clean is one of those phrases that kind of doesn’t have a definite definition. For some people, eating clean is simply cutting out processed foods. For others, it is eating raw. For many people, it is a Paleo diet. For myself, it is cutting out as much processed foods as I can and eating as healthy as possible. For me, this means no soda, boxed meals, powdered substances, labels with ingredients I don’t recognize and as organic and non-GMO as possible. The reason I may not fit some people’s definition of clean eating is because I do not militantly cut out things as I am on a budget and sometimes it is hard to eat clean for cheap by doing so. I always weight the benefits and the pros and cons before making grocery purchasing decisions, however.
If you are also on a budget and you are wanting to try a healthy way of eating, here are some tips on how to eat clean for cheap.
How to Eat Clean for Cheap
Know about the labels on food as well as the ingredients and what to steer clear of. Things like high fructose corn syrup, dextrose and glucose are just sugar. Eating clean means avoiding added sugar and most boxed and processed foods contain it. This means watching “health foods” as well. You will spend less if you avoid processed foods altogether.
Shop for produce in season. Shopping in season is always best for saving money, but when you will be buying many fresh things, it is important to stick with what is in season for sales so you can get the best deals on your produce. You will also want to check out farmer’s markets as well so you can buy local as most of the time this is the freshest and best quality and often, you can get organic and non-GMO foods for less.
Make your own convenience foods. If you won’t be buying convenience foods, you will need to still make them if you intend to still save yourself time in the kitchen. You can make things like sauces, soups, stocks and even baking mixes for much cheaper at home and you know what is in them, too.
Join a co-op. A co-op is a community purchasing program with a storefront that allows members to get great deals on local and national food and self-care products at a lower price than a traditional store. If you join a co-op, you will be able to save as well as support local business.
Buy in bulk. Buying in bulk on a clean eating diet is one of the vital ways I save money. I buy things like rice, oats, seasonings, honey, meat and more in the bulk section of my favorite store and it save me so much money when it comes to making my own convenience foods as well as having things like rice always on hand.
Decide what is important to you and prioritize. Maybe for you, it is simply cutting added sugar or eating more fresh foods. Don’t think of clean eating as an all-or-nothing thing. You can start slow with just the things that matter most to you and work your way into more habits as you can afford them.