How can we take budget considerations into account when choosing our foods? This is definitely not my area of expertise, but I do have a few suggestions.
Choose a grocery store with lower prices. It seems obvious, but many customers flock to big-name health stores, despite the higher prices. (That “flocking” virtually ensures the higher prices will continue.) In many cases, at least one store in your area will be known for its better values.
• Avoid junky foods. Junk foods can be relatively expensive, AND they have no nutritional value. So avoid granola bars, candy, bags of chips, and other junk. Instead, spend money on real food.
• Choose the less expensive option whenever you can. For example, when choosing protein foods, choose chicken instead of beef. Chicken is less expensive, but has pretty much the same quality of protein. Eggs are another less expensive protein option.
Organic Foods Cost More, So…
Eat produce from the Clean 15 Produce list (a quick search will locate it). Those foods are grown with the lowest pesticide levels, so it’s less crucial to buy organic.
• With the money you save, buy organic produce whenever foods are on the Dirty Dozen Produce list.
• Produce with a thick skin or shell that we don’t eat is somewhat protected from the effects of pesticides, so you may not have to buy organic versions. Examples include bananas, avocados, walnuts.
Frozen organic produce is often less expensive than fresh. It may also have a higher nutrient value because the produce is typically frozen almost immediately after harvest, then shipped frozen. Fresh produce may sit in a truck for days during transport and lose nutrient value in that time.
What About Food, Brain Chemistry & Hormones?
• Avoid sugar. Sugar increases appetite and causes cravings. That has to do with brain chemical effects of sugary foods. It won’t help us save money on food if we just want to eat more and more.
Eat protein throughout the day. Protein can help us control appetite and cut down on food cravings, especially for junk.
However, don’t eat fake proteins just because they have a lower price. Examples include nuts, quinoa, beans & rice. Those are not protein foods!
Animal proteins include fish, chicken, beef, eggs, shrimp, crab, cottage cheese, Greek yogurt (unflavored, unsweetened).
Vegans, I strongly recommend plant-based protein powders: pea, hemp, brown rice, vegetable.