As the economic pinch causes us to hold our wallets tighter, here are some ways to continue to feel healthy and maintain your most important resource – yourself – without wasting money. Many health experts and Consumer Reports recommend spending your money in a few key places to optimize your grocery dollar and give you the biggest health bang for your buck.
1. Purchase your red meat from organic, free range ranchers. Don't skimp here. The toxins going into stockyard cattle are important to avoid. Check out the back pages of my book for ranchers who let their cattle range free and feed hormone / antibiotic free feed to their cattle.
2. Purchase poultry and eggs from free range, organic farmers whenever possible. As Consumer Reports advises us in the February 2006 issue, purchase meat, poultry and eggs in their organic or natural form as often as possible to reduce your exposure to mad cow disease and other potential toxins. Don't skimp in this area. To save a bit, rotate between buying organic and natural every other time you shop while you are watching your budget.
3. Purchase the dirty dozen fruits and vegetables organically: strawberries, bell peppers, spinach, cherries, peaches, celery, apples, raspberries, grapes, green beans cucumbers and potatoes. You may remember them from an earlier Healthy Hint. Basically, if you eat the skin (and especially if you eat that fruit often), eat the organic ones. To save money, when buying bananas and other thick skinned fruits and veggies buy them in the non-organic form. Put your money into the fruits and vegetables that you eat the skin of – that's where it is most important.
4. Take your green drinks and fish oils every other day to stretch your dollar. You will still be getting more than you did before you began this quest to be healthier and will cut your costs in half while things are tough.
5. Cut out more of the expensive processed, packaged, sugary junk that makes up a big chunk of the grocery bill. Drink water instead of soda and eat fruit instead of candy. You will feel better, be sick less often and be more productive.
6. Eat at home. You be able to get organic, free range food and won't be spending extra money for someone to serve it to you at a restaurant. And hey- cooking and cleaning the kitchen can make great family time.
7. Pack a lunch. It's healthier and less expensive than eating out. There are great lunch ideas in the back pages of my book.
8. Purchase from co-ops and discount stores whenever possible. The resource section or Shopper's Guide to Healthy Living has places to start.
During this economic crisis, remember what Mad Money's Jim Kramer said when asked what is the most important thing to invest in at times like these: he answered "invest in your health". Take care of yourself so you can take care of your family.