Cori (00:00):
Hey guys, this is Corifrom Redefining Strength. Welcome to the Fitness Hacks Podcast. This is the show where I share all my free workout and nutrition tips. I’m not going to ever fill this episode with sponsorships or ask you to buy anything. All I ask in return is if you’re enjoying the podcast to leave a review or leave a five star rating or even better share with somebody you think it might help. This will only take a few minutes and would mean the world to me and possibly change the life of someone. So let’s jump right in.

Cori (00:28):
Hey guys, it’s Cori from Redefining Strength, and I’m so excited to be joined by Julia today. If I could talk, that would be a good thing, but we’re going to talk about the cost of health. If you’ve ever felt like eating well, hitting your macros is just too costly. If you’re trying to work within your budget, Julia has some fabulous tips to help. So Julia, welcome. Welcome. Talk to me a little bit about the cost of health.

Julia (00:54):
Sure. So in our April challenge, obviously this month we’re working on conquering our excuses and one of them being like you said, that the cost of eating is too high, such a common one. So today we’re going to dive into why that may be, along with some tips and ideas to help you really cut those costs and overcome this excuse.

Cori (01:14):
So before we dive into that, I do just want to touch on something that probably a lot of us have heard, but what’s really the cost of not eating foods that improve the quality of our health? Because I know it’s very easy to get caught up in the short term. We do have budgets we have to work within. We do want to feed our family efficiently, but I think it’s also important that we consider some of the consequences of actions that might not impact us right now, but could add up later. Can you talk a little bit about why it is so important? Sometimes we do invest a little bit more in our nutrition now.

Julia (01:49):
Yeah, of course. So this goes back to one of my favorite quotes. If you think wellness is expensive, try illness, right? So it’s one of those things where if we’re not paying attention to it now we’re going to be forced to down the line whether we want to or not. So coming back to when we’re discussing the cost of healthy eating, it’s important to consider that the cost of not doing so can really hurt us in the long run, meaning that unhealthy dietary patterns when we’re eating high amounts of things like saturated fats, sugar, sodium, calories, they’re all linked to higher rates of chronic diseases like obesity, heart disease, blood pressure, type two diabetes, just to name a few among many others. And there have been studies in the past, there was one in 2015, which showed us that a person with three to four chronic diseases will spend annually about 25,000 on healthcare expenses alone. While those without chronic diseases will spend about 6,000 annually. So there is a huge difference from there. And from this we can see that the cost of regularly incorporating healthy nutrient dense foods into our diet, it’s much less expensive in the long run.

Cori (02:55):
And we may be thinking, okay, I understand I get this, but eating well is just so expensive. Why do you think that we often default into this? Because as we know, there are lots of ways to hit our macros, eat healthy quality foods that can fit our budget. But why do you think this is often the first thought for people?

Julia (03:17):
I feel like because we think it’s a lot more expensive and harder to do, so we kind of just write it off where instead of we’re looking at it from a food per or that’s if we’re looking at it from a food per calorie perspective. But if we’re looking at it from a nutrient dense perspective, we find that we can find healthier choices that are within our budgets if we’re really just planning and making an effort to do so. An example would be if we’re just going to the supermarket and buying something like a can of spaghetti or Chef Boyer D to feed our family where that can be cheaper. But if we’re eating out, I mean the average meal costs around 14, 15, $16, and that’s at an inexpensive restaurant. So if we are eating at home and planning ahead of making an effort to cut those costs, sticking to really whole nutrient dense foods, we’ll find that from the kind of cost per nutrient perspective with real foods like potatoes, dark green, leafy vegetables, pumpkin, even things like canned beans, we can get packed a lot more nutrition in them for the cost versus eating out would be,

Cori (04:21):
It’s actually interesting you brought up eating out because I instantly went to this one situation that Ryan had when he was in Boston and working, and a lot of his coworkers would go out to lunch and we would go to sometimes Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s or different things like that. And there would be sometimes where some of the foods were a little bit more expensive, they’d be like, oh, it’s so expensive to shop there. And he was like, but look at how much you’re spending on this one meal. What you don’t realize is that, yes, my grocery bill might be more expensive, but the way that these things are divided up over the week, my meal is actually cheaper despite even going to sometimes expensive stores per meal. Like you’re spending 11, 12, $13 on your meal and I’m spending eight when I meal prep in this way. How do you think we can shift that mindset that maybe cooking at home and maybe buying specific ways, even if you do go to more expensive restaurants to try and get more quality, or not restaurants, but grocery stores to get more quality food. It can actually be meal preps in a way that is very budget friendly,

Julia (05:20):
Of course. So this is just really where planning comes in. So so many ways that we can cut the cost while grocery shopping, as long as we’re planning ahead and being intentional about it, like you said. So that first step is really planning ahead, which means brainstorming your meals and snacks for the weeks, making a grocery list of the items that you need and that will allow you to not only cut down on food costs because you’re reducing that food waste, but also to limit the chance of eating out, like you said, because you know what you’re eating, it’s already prepped for you. And then I think the next step is really just being a smart shopper. So this means if you’re feeding a family, buying items in bulk that you can as well as just shopping store brands and being smart about it. So for a lot of items like meat, poultry, yogurt, things like nut butters, they have store brands available, which are the same ingredients as those name brands that you may see.

So you’re getting the same nutritional value for a lot cheaper. And also just being aware of sales, taking advantage of things like the frozen section. So that’s a huge one. A lot of us think that frozen produce is less nutritious and it gets a really bad wrap, but it’s actually usually harvested when it’s ripe, meaning that it often contains more nutrients than fresh for a fraction of the price. So it can be easy to fall into the marketing of expensive, healthy products, whether that be salad dressings, condiments, or even packaged foods. There’s so many different things today like almond flour, crackers, all these different things that we hear screaming that they’re so good for us, but honestly we have to remind ourselves that we don’t need all these things. For example, a can of beans for a dollar would pack more nutritional value than those crackers would for a fraction of the cost. So this is why we are here to also shop the perimeter, which is packed with whole nutrient dense foods that will offer more micro and macronutrients for a fraction of the price of most of those packaged foods in the middle. Well,

Cori (07:16):
I think it’s interesting you bring up packaged foods because I want to go off on a little clean eating thing and a lot of times labels that have to tout the food as healthy, if you think about it, fruits aren’t putting on their healthy fiber packed. We don’t see that on vegetables because we know these things are good. So a lot of these prepackaged foods that are trying to say they’re keto to fit your diet or they’re low carb or they have this health benefit, a lot of times they’re forcing things to be that way. And not that some of ’em don’t have health benefits, but a lot of times you are paying an extra price for these healthy labels for something that honestly isn’t that much better for you and you might be better served by gasp, getting the not clean variation, not to mention this sort of clean eating delineation with food makes us avoid foods that we shouldn’t.

As you brought up frozen foods, a lot of the fresh vegetables aren’t necessarily more nutrient dense or better than frozen vegetables or frozen fruits. A lot of times the frozen things are better, but even canned stuff, we’ll shy away from canned tuna from canned chicken, and a lot of those are just the meat. It’s not a ton of ingredients that are added, but we shy away from those things because we think canned stuff, chef Boyer D, right? So it’s really understanding and looking at labels even to know what we’re getting to not fall for the marketing terms that might just lead to a markup on some of the ingredients we’re buying.

Julia (08:40):
Yeah, a hundred percent. Like you said, reading the labels is huge and really just taking the time to educate yourself a little bit and get to know the grocery store. So like we said, flipping around, checking out that nutrition label and seeing, comparing the store brand to the leading brand, looking at the store brand of peanut butter versus the gif peanut butter, seeing what those ingredients look like and seeing where you can really cut the cost there. Those little things can go a huge way because we know that, I mean, the marketing today is just insane on what they have for the food. And going back to even what you said before, one of my favorite authors, Michael Pollan says, you go through the aisles and you see all these things screaming at you, telling you that it’s keto or low carb or whatever it may be, but you go to the produce section or the meat section or the seafood section, whatever it may be, and it says nothing, right?

It speaks for itself. It’s a great choice. It doesn’t need to advocate for itself. So I totally agree. I think we get caught up in thinking we need all these things and that’s why we write off healthy eating as expensive and kind of think that we can’t do it when we really just need to bring it back to the basics and remind ourselves that we don’t need all of these things. That’s just kind of another excuse that we tell ourselves. And we can do this if we’re smart about it and we plan for it and we’re intentional about it.

Cori (09:54):
And it also goes back to the food waste that you mentioned, but not only the food waste in a pinch, things that we buy, and I am very guilty of this, I think I’m going to be busy, so I buy a protein bar, and that protein bar is expensive, especially if you buy it from the store versus buying it in bulk potentially on Amazon, which could be a better option if you are going to go that route. But we buy these things that are efficient for our schedule and not realizing the markup even on those things versus if we got a big tub of protein powder and threw it in water, coffee, those different things. Or even then made our own protein bars at home. And that even goes back to your having a grocery list when you go in. So often if I’ve gone to the store and I’m just like, I don’t know, I’m going to make this week, I’ll buy a whole bunch of things that don’t get used.

Now. I’m really good about trying to freeze those things before they spoil or prep them and then freeze the prep so that I have it for later. But if we don’t go in with a plan, we can buy a lot of things that ultimately go to waste, which can make it feel like our budget is skyrocketing. So making sure that if you do get something even that you’re like, I don’t know what I’m actually going to do with this week, and you have it in your fridge, find a way to preserve it. So cook it and freeze it. Bulk prep, maybe a protein, a vegetable and a carb, more starchy carb that you put in the freezer for later. But think of ways you can make it loss. And then even don’t be afraid to get those canned items. They’re already frozen items, the items that will be there whenever you need in a pinch, because that can really make it easier to prep and stay consistent and then not add to your bill because we also do that, right? We don’t know what we’re going to cook, so we don’t end up prepping anything. And so the food goes to waste, but we end up going out to eat or grabbing something that’s an expensive quick option. And that adds to our food costs.

Julia (11:29):
And I love what you said there. I think so often we’ll just go to the grocery store kind of on a whim. We know we need to stack up on groceries, we want to eat healthy, we have really good intentions behind it. So we’re choosing all these vegetables and maybe we’re even picking up some packaged foods and we know that we’re trying to do good and trying to eat healthier and stack up on all these great foods, but if we don’t have a plan for it or any recipes or an idea of what we’re going to do with it, it really just ends up sitting in our fridge and it does go to waste. So like you said, if we can even just if we got vegetables like chopping it up, either freezing the spinach for smoothies or chopping it up, cooking it, doing it in a recipe, and then again, this is where that planning comes back in, and I’m going to say it again and again because if we plan for it, that also helps us reduce those costs.

And food waste, you’re not picking up food that you don’t need. Say if you want to incorporate those vegetables, maybe you’re going to find a recipe for a stir fry and then pick up those exact vegetables in the exact amount that you need for it. But like you said, Corey, just going back and if you do have food on hand that you feel like is going to waste, freeze it. Find a way to preserve it, find a way to use it because there are so many other options that we can do to help reduce costs there as well.

Cori (12:34):
And then explore different places to buy things because I know if I find a nut butter or something that I like, if I go on Amazon, if I go to a bigger bulk store, a lot of times I can find something cheaper, especially when you are buying in bulk, that won’t go bad. So that’s the opportunity to cut costs on certain things so that you can even spend more on other things that might be more important, like getting the grass fed beef or an organic vegetable, whatever you need. But even going to farmer’s markets, which you don’t think about often as being a cost efficient option can because you’re buying straight from the farmer, and those can be very fresh ingredients as well. So don’t be afraid to explore different stores. You might be surprised by how the costs really vary, especially based on the quantity you’re able to buy. And that’s even the great thing about prepping some of the stuff for your family, like sneaking in vegetables to different dishes, is you can buy in greater bulk, which ultimately lowers the cost and it improves your family’s health while you’re trying to hit your goals as well. Off of that, any real final summarizing tips so that people can really make sure that they’re being cost efficient when they’re trying to eat well?

Julia (13:39):
Yeah, so just honestly being honest with yourself about your efforts to cut the costs and where you can improve on things, right? Are you taking the time to research recipes and plan out budget friendly meals? Are you getting caught up in thinking that you need those expensive health foods like we talked about? Are you seeing where you can buy those items in bulk? And as we discussed, just being a smart shopper, so planning ahead to reduce those grocery costs, prepping meals with similar ingredients and then freezing them for later use. Obviously buying in bulk, like we said, taking advantage of those frozen sections, shopping the sales and building meals around those sale ingredients, checking the ingredients of items, and then seeing if you can find alternatives that are cheaper or store brands or even different stores that carry it. And then finally, just prioritizing that perimeter as well. Making sure that the majority of our diet is based off of those whole fresh nutrient dense foods can help us really, really cut the costs. But just to finally say, it does take a conscious effort to plan out those budget friendly meals, but in the long run, it will save you time throughout the week, and it’s pretty clear that those health benefits do outweigh the costs upfront.

Cori (14:48):
I did just want to touch on one of the things that you pointed out, Julia, about using the same foods in multiple different recipes. Because if you don’t have a family and you are prepping for one person, Ryan and I actually make our own meals, it can feel like you can’t buy in the same bulk, which makes it more expensive because you don’t want things to go waste. Again, that’s where buying the frozen stuff can come into play. It’s why buying canned stuff can come into play and be very helpful, but it’s also where if you plan ahead and you know can use that vegetable in multiple different dishes in different ways, you can buy in greater bulk, which can lower the cost and keep even still a diversity of foods in your diet and make prep potentially even easier, which if you’re lazy like me, it’s a win-win.

Cori (15:29):
Thanks for listening to the Fitness Hacks podcast. Again, this is the place where I share all my free workout and nutrition tips. I’m never going to run sponsorships or ask you to buy anything. All I ask in return is if you’re enjoying the podcast to leave a rating review or share it with somebody you think it might help. This will only take a few minutes and it would mean the world to me and possibly change the life of someone I.


*Please Note: this transcript is auto-generated and there may be some errors in the transcript