Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is: Why Buying Packaged Food is Stupid

I first knew that I had “made it” when I could walk into Whole Foods and buy as many avocados as I wanted. Why? Because ripe, healthy avocados are expensive, and a luxury item I thought I couldn’t afford until I had “arrived.” But guess what? They aren’t nearly as expensive in the long run as the toll processed foods will take on your body.

Americans throw away around $165 billion worth of perfectly good food every year. In fact, 40% of all the food in the United States today goes uneaten. Not only is that a huge waste of important nutrients, but it’s also a huge waste of money. Don’t be that girl who loads up on the wrong things, essentially tossing her paycheck into the trash. Here’s how to be smarter (and healthier!) about your grocery shopping:

Make quality a priority.

You’ve probably heard advice that you should grocery shop on the cheap to save money. “The farmers’ market and organic foods are soooo expensive.” Seriously? Out of all areas in your life to save money? This is not a place to pinch a few cents here and there. Why? Because your health is worth it. Yes, packaged foods and snacks with a million ingredients you can’t pronounce might be perpetually on sale and seemingly cheap and easy, but fresh produce and whole grains give your body the nutrients it needs to stave off colds, obesity and disease—not to mention the time and money it takes you to get better.

Shift your focus to getting your groceries fresh.

Hit your local farmers’ market for great deals on produce, grains, dairy and meat. These healthy foods are as easy to prepare for one person as a nasty frozen dinner and can protect you against costly medical bills by keeping you healthy and fit. And you’ll likely end up spending less money once you get the hang of shopping and meal planning this way . . . yep, last time I checked, an apple was less expensive than a bag of Cheetos. Local farm-share packages are becoming more and more available, and are a great way to get quality produce at a completely reasonable price (you can even split one with your neighbors)–plus, they’re delivered to your door!

Shop even smarter.

Studies have shown that buying healthy food and cooking at home (as opposed to “cheap” fast food and prepared meals) are actually less expensive in the long run. A typical family of four will spend nearly $30 for a meal at the drive-through window, while a basic and nutritious meal of rice, beans and fresh vegetables makes enough for a few days’ worth of leftovers for less than $10. Winner, winner, tofu dinner! Inexpensive grocery items like eggs (versatility, plus all nine essential amino acids!), kale (684% daily value of vitamin K in 1 cup!), and garbanzo beans (15g of protein in 1 cup!) are packed with nutrition and give you a lot of bang for your buck.

You’re running the business of you. You’ve gotta be healthy to run your empire! Make eating like a boss a priority, so you can continue to act like a boss (lady). A little planning goes a long way–and your body will thank you for it.


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