04/03/2012 09:52 am ET

Healthy, Cheap Shopping Tips: How To Pay Less For Good Food

From Networx's Sayward Rebhal:

Is healthy eating expensive? Well ... yes and no. “Expensive” is a relative term, but before we even get into all that, let’s take a moment to define what we mean by healthy, shall we? We’ll go with a more inclusive definition, something along the lines of: whole foods, mostly plants, organic when possible. Can we all agree on that?

So with that out of the way, let’s get down to business.

Is it expensive to eat healthfully? Well ... that depends. Because of course, if you’re talking about an exclusively organic, entirely whole foods diet, and you’re comparing it to the most nutrient-negligent, gas-station-bought, bottom of the barrel processed food-like-substances available, well then of course the real food is going to cost “more” (in the short term, that is – we’ll touch on that later). Slim Jims and Top Ramen will always be cheaper than real food, so we’re going to have to set that stuff aside for the sake of discussion. We’re trying to compare apples to apples here ... or, conventional apples to organic apples, as it were.

And when you do that -- when you make fair comparisons -- you see that YES, eating healthy is more expensive. Wait what?

Well it is! I’m not going to lie to you. But look, it’s only just barely more expensive. Seriously, I’m talking a few nickels here, a few quarters there. If you do it right, it adds up to a few extra dollars per trip, depending on how often you shop.

What’s that old saying? “You can pay for your health now, or you can pay for it later -- with interest." Because let me tell you, prescription medications, surgery, and disease-induced disability? Now that’s what I call expensive! And those are the kinds of diet-related results that make wholesome food suddenly seems pretty dang cheap.

So even at a little extra cost (and I do mean little) in the short term, I think it’s very well worth it. Here’s a few ways to keep those costs as low as you can, while assuring that your health is soaring sky-high.

List and captions courtesy of Networx

How to pay less for healthy food