SPLURGE? |When asked why they eat fast-food or processed meals, many individuals will say that eating off the dollar menu is more cost-effective and convenient than stocking their refrigerators with fresh produce.
However, if you really break it down, you’ll find that eating healthy foods is not as expensive as you might think. In fact, if you actually splurge a bit on certain food items, your health will benefit far more in the long run, which is worth it, wouldn’t you say? Plus, think about how much money you’ll be saving on healthcare and prescription medications if you eat healthy enough to strengthen your immune system and stave off diseases and infections, such as the common cold.
Here are six healthy splurges you can make on groceries that are worth the cost!
1. Organic meats and poultry
The meats and poultry at your neighborhood grocer might be labeled as “free of antibiotics,” but how do you know the manufacturer isn’t just slapping this label on your food to get you to buy it! Look for foods labeled with the organic label, which verifies that the meats and poultry you’re buying is from livestock that was raised in a healthy, humane manner without being fed hormones, antibiotics, and other chemicals. If buying organic meats is too expensive for your budget, cut back drastically on meat intake, and eat more eggs and vegetables.
2. Fresh spices
Having a fully-stocked spice rack is one of the smartest moves you can make for your health, since spices can add flavor to just about anything and often lack preservatives and other chemicals found in most pre-made sauces and flavor packets. Plus, spices such as turmeric and cinnamon contain healthy compounds that can help reduce inflammation, which is important for those who are carrying excess weight.
3. Almond milk
Unless you purchase organic milk, most cow’s milk is laced with hormones. Almond milk is a far healthier alternative than cow’s milk as well as soy milk, since soy milk is also often laced with preservatives and made from GMO crops. Almond milk is relatively low in calories, and high in fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins D and E. Just make sure you purchase almond milk that lacks sugar and additives, and stay away from flavored vanilla- or chocolate-flavored almond milk.
4. Wild-caught salmon
In the United States, most salmon is farm-raised, which means that the fish grows in pens that are dense with other fish, and is infused with antibiotics to battle the unsanitary environment. Salmon is high in healthy omega-3 fatty acids and amino acids, but will only benefit your health if you purchase wild-caught salmon. Read the labels on all salmon to verify that it’s wild to avoid exposing yourself to toxic man-made chemicals.
5. Hemp and chia seeds
Seeds are one of the healthiest food groups to indulge in, as they contain a number of nutrients and compounds that can positively benefit your overall health. Plus, seeds are versatile and taste great when added to most meals. Buy a bag of hemp or chia seeds, then sprinkle them over salads, cereal, and yogurt, and add them to smoothies. If you lack access to hemp and chia seeds, buy a bag of sesame, sunflower, or pumpkin seeds instead!
6. Raw honey
Honey is one of the healthiest, natural sweeteners around, and is packed with minerals, enzymes, and antioxidants that are great for gut health. Splurge on raw, unrefined honey and add it to cereal, granola, and plain yogurt to enhance the flavor of these foods.
SPLURGE | Karen Eisenbraun is a certified holistic nutrition consultant and writer with a background in digital marketing. She has written extensively on the topics of nutrition and holistic health for many leading websites.