Can I follow the Mediterranean diet on a budget?
Did you know that the Mediterranean diet can minimize symptoms of certain conditions such as asthma, breast cancer, cardiovascular disease, colorectal cancer, depression, and diabetes? In fact, by following the Mediterranean diet, you can even reduce the likelihood that you will ever be stricken with any of these conditions in the first place! The question is whether it’s feasible for middle class families to afford the essential foods such as wild salmon, extra-virgin olive oil, and organic fruits and vegetables required to follow this diet?
Where there’s a will, there’s a way!
Well, I’m here to tell you that, “where there’s a will, there’s a way!” Fortunately, I’m going to give you 7 ways that you can follow the Mediterranean diet even on a tight grocery budget!
- If buying organic produce is implausible, consider referring to https:\\www.ewg.org/foodnews/summary.php#.WdzdhmhSyyl in order to obtain a listing from the Environmental Working Group. This listing identifies the fruits and vegetables containing residual pesticides, as well as ones with little to no pesticides. Furthermore, the listing of produce found to have leftover pesticides is known as the ‘Dirty Dozen,’ and the more favorable listing is the ‘Clean Fifteen.’ Some examples of poor food choices in terms of their pesticide levels are apples, cherries, celery, grapes, peaches, pears, potatoes, nectarines, spinach, sweet bell peppers, and strawberries. In contrast, the following foods scored higher on being more ‘pesticide-free:’ avocados, asparagus, cabbage, cantaloupe, cauliflower, eggplant, frozen sweet peas, grapefruit, honeydew melon, kiwis, mangoes, papayas, pineapples, onions, and sweet corn.
- Don’t be afraid to buy frozen. Such frozen varieties may include frozen blueberries, broccoli, and even frozen wild salmon. These food items have been frozen immediately which retains their nutrient concentration. Fresh isn’t necessarily always the best especially since frozen usually comes with a smaller price tag.
- Frequent your local farmer’s market. By purchasing produce at your farmer’s market, you can pick and choose which fruits and vegetables are currently ‘in-season.’ In turn, the benefit of selecting ‘in-season’ produce is that the travel time to and from the crops is minimal, more likely to be nutrient dense, and come with affordable prices. It follows the supply and demand ‘rule of thumb’ – the greater the abundance, the cheaper the price.
- Portion control with seafood and grass-fed beef. My best advice for this typically, high-priced food item is to try to buy when it’s on sale. In addition, try to make multiple meals out of your seafood or grass-fed beef by keeping your portions small in comparison to the other items (vegetables or quinoa) on your dinner plate.
- Occasionally skip meals. Although not the best way to control your grocery budget, fasting periodically can actually be beneficial to the body. Some studies have proven that occasional fasting has helped people with their blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and likelihood of becoming diabetic (if high risk). Not to mention, once the storage of glucose is depleted (process begins approximately 8 hours after you’ve last eaten), the body utilizes fat instead of glucose for its energy. As the body burns fat for energy, you may experience weight loss, as well as detoxify the body since toxins are kept in fat. This is obviously not the most pleasant method, but certainly a money-saver if that’s your ultimate objective.
- Buy in bulk. If you’re anything like myself, grocery shopping is something I prefer to do no more than once a week. With that being said, why not buy Mediterranean diet food items in bulk and thus, get more ‘bang for your bulk.’ The only issue with buying in bulk is that you need to take note of food shelf lives and store them appropriately.
- Stay at home for the majority of your meals. We all enjoy a nice meal out with our families where there’s no mess to clean up. However, a potentially costly tab accompanies these maintenance-free meals and you can never be 100% certain of all the ingredients in your food. Therefore, save money by being your own personal chef and find some fun recipes to test your palate!
So there you have some ways to follow the Mediterranean diet while on a budget! Here’s to living your best life ever! Feel free to leave me a comment or any insight you may have.