Food Budgets

The Best Sources for Affordable Healthy Food

Well hello there, Mint family. Welcome to the very first installment of this super exciting partnership between Mint and Root + Revel!

Before we dive into today’s post, how about a little meet and greet? Hi! I’m Kate Kordsmeier, the founder of Root + Revel, a food and wellness blog helping people strike the balance between good and good for you.

I’m a full-time food writer for magazines, a recipe developer, and blogger. I’m also living proof that food is medicine (check out my story to learn more!). My main message is: Food Heals! That doesn’t have to mean bland chicken and steamed broccoli. Taste is paramount and we take it back to basics, infusing beauty, flavor and celebration into everyday life, helping you live naturally, without sacrifice.

That being said, I’m the first to admit that healthy, organic food is expensive. Plain and simple. Even if you support organic agriculture and pasture-raised/grass-fed/wild-caught growing methods, they just cost more money than their conventional counterparts.

But that doesn’t mean you have to shell out wads of cash every time you hit up Whole Foods. Hence why I’ve teamed up with Mint to spill all my affordable, healthy eating secrets.

The Cost of Eating Healthy

Here’s the thing: whether you pay a bit more upfront to nourish your body with healthy food, or you save money by filling your belly with factory-farmed meat, pesticide-laden GMO produce and processed junk filled with artificial colors, preservatives and other toxic chemicals, it’s possible you’re going to pay for it one way or another. And I’d rather not do it later in the form of medical bills. Let’s pay our farmer before our doctor.

Let’s think big picture, long term, full story, because eating unhealthy food will cost you much, much more in the long run. And, as it turns out, eating healthy, organic food actually doesn’t have to be crazy expensive. It IS possible to eat healthy on a budget.

To wit, here are the best sources for affordable, healthy food:

Buy Direct From Your Local Farmer

There are so many savings to be had on healthy food when you go straight to the source. Think about it—not only are you cutting out the middleman, but the food isn’t being shipped in from across the country (read: no transportation costs added into the price). Cheaper AND more nutrient-dense and delicious, as the food is fresher, too.

And if that weren’t enough, when you buy direct, you can ask the farmer questions about their growing practices (Are they organic? Are their animals grass fed and free range? Do they use sustainable practices to preserve the environment?), ensuring you get exactly what you want and you know precisely where your food came from.

Not sure where to find farms near you? Simply head to your local farmer’s market, or find one near you through LocalHarvest.org or the USDA. Similarly, you can join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), which delivers boxes of fresh, locally-grown produce from small, family farms right to your doorstep. Sometimes health insurance providers will even reimburse the cost CSA memberships.

A few insider tips: When you develop a personal relationship with farmers, you can often negotiate prices with them. Likewise, you can buy in bulk (i.e. purchase a quarter of a cow and freeze the meat until you’re ready to use it) to save even more. You can also save at the farmer’s market later in the day when prices get slashed to get rid of everything before the farmers go home.

Shop Online for Healthy Food

There are dozens of healthy e-tailers serving up real food online—even better, you can shop from your PJ’s on the couch.

One of my personal favorites for non-perishable food is Thrive Market—a Costco-meets-Amazon-meets-Whole Foods source selling healthy, non-toxic foods and products at wholesale prices. Nearly everything they sell is the lowest price I’ve seen, and they’re always giving customers free gifts of full-size products and hefty coupon codes to save even more money.

Another money-saving favorite is Amazon Subscribe & Save, where I stock up on healthy favorites like organic coconut milk, cacao powder, flax seeds, chia seeds, spices and protein bars. Amazon Fresh also offers some great deals, and they deliver within 2 hours right to your house!

There are also lots of incredible companies shipping frozen organic, sustainable and grass-fed meat and wild-caught seafood right to your doorstep. Some of my favorites include Butcher Box, U.S. Wellness Meats and Vital Choice Seafood. These services frequently have sales, discount codes and generally affordable prices on high-quality food.

A few insider tips: Don’t forget when you shop online you can use cash back sites and frequent flier shopping portals to supercharge your savings. Some of my favorites include Retailmenot.comEbates.comJoinhoney.comEVReward.com, ChaseUltimateRewards.com and Dealspotr.com.

Use a Meal Kit Delivery Service

One of the biggest expenses any home cook has is inevitably waste. We all have the best of intentions when we stock up at the grocery store, but we almost always end up throwing away something because it went bad before we could use it, or we bought too much, or we were too tired to cook that night. This isn’t just wasteful, it’s expensive—think about how much money you could’ve saved if you actually used everything you bought!

Fortunately, there is a solution to this dilemma: meal kit delivery services. These companies send you exactly what you need, so you’re not buying obscure or uncommon ingredients you’ll only use once, or even just more food than you’ll need in general. The ingredients are also all pre-measured, so in addition to less waste, you’ll also have an easier cleanup.

The best healthy meal kit delivery service I’ve tried is Sun Basket, which offers organic, gourmet, fresh recipe boxes, including Vegan, Gluten-Free and Paleo meals, in eco-friendly, recyclable packaging.

For more tips on how to save money and eat healthy, visit Root + Revel.

Coming up

In my next article, I am going to talk about how DIY’ing your own beauty and cleaning products can save you oodles of cash, reduce the toxins in your home and body AND save the environment (psst: did I mention it’s also super easy and fun?!).

Be sure to follow along on Mint and follow me on Instagram @rootandrevel, so you don’t miss a single healthy living tip.

 

Kate Kordsmeier is a food journalist turned turned real food and holistic expert after her own chronic health issues catapulted her into a journey of healing her body naturally. After much success, she started Root + Revela food and wellness blog dedicated to natural living, without sacrifice. But that doesn’t mean bland chicken and steamed broccoli. Taste is paramount, and Kate infuses beauty, flavor and celebration into everyday life, helping readers strike the balance between good and good for you.