Episode #60: Nourishing Affordably: Budget-Friendly Nutrition Tips

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Nourishing Affordably: Budget-Friendly Nutrition Tips

What you’ll learn in this episode

Hey friend! I have been getting so many messages and questions about eating healthy within a budget! And I totally get it! This past year my grocery trips, of the same items that I’ve always bought, have doubled in cost. Starting a new way of eating feels daunting enough without concern for affordability. That is why in this episode I will share how I approach eating healthy while minding the budget. 

What to Buy

Say goodbye to expensive “health” foods, my friend, because I’m about to unlock the secrets of keeping it simple and delicious. I’ll guide you through prioritizing your purchases, understanding how certain foods were produced, and making informed choices. 

I’ll debunk the myth that you need to splurge on pricey health foods to nourish your PCOS. I’ll show you how to keep it simple by focusing on more healthy and less expensive options to create balanced meals that satisfy both your body and your budget. 

Where to Shop

Next, we’ll embark on a shopping expedition together, revealing the budget-friendly items to look for as well as some personal favorites like Costco, and Trader Joe’s, plus others and what stores to avoid so you don’t break the bank. Make sure to follow me on IG for even more savvy shopping tips straight from my trips!

Save Time and Money

Lastly, we’ll tackle the secret weapon for saving money, and time, and reducing waste, with some simple meal planning and batch cooking even if you don’t like left overs. I’ll share practical tips to simplify your process, so you can prep once and enjoy many meals throughout the week. 

By the end of this episode, my friend, you’ll be armed with practical, budget-friendly nutrition.  So, let’s get ready to revolutionize the way you approach nourishment on a budget, one delicious and empowering step at a time!

Let’s Continue The Conversation

Do you have questions about this episode or other questions about PCOS? I would love to connect and chat on a more personal level over on Instagram. My DMs are my favorite place to chat more.


So go visit me on IG @nourishedtohealthy.com


Let’s Continue The Conversation

Do you have questions about this episode or other questions about PCOS? I would love to connect and chat on a more personal level over on Instagram. My DMs are my favorite place to chat more.


So go visit me on IG @nourishedtohealthy.com


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Read The Full Episode Transcript Here

The concern of healthy foods being really expensive and wanting to learn how to incorporate eating healthy while not blowing your budget is the topic that we’re going to be talking today. I’ve been getting so many questions about this, especially as the grocery store prices have just been skyrocketing. I don’t know about you, but today when I go to the grocery store and buy essentially the same things in my cart, I’m paying about double what I was a year ago and so today we’re going to look at how can we nourish our bodies, but also keep it realistic within our budget so that we can do this long term and keep it sustainable. So let’s dive in.

You’re listening to the PCOS Repair podcast, where we explore the ins and outs of PCOS and how to repair the imbalances in your hormones naturally with a little medical help sprinkled in. Hi, I’m Ashlene Korcek, and with many years of medical and personal experience with polycystic ovarian syndrome, it is my joy to watch women reverse their PCOS as they learn to nourish their body in a whole new way. With the power of our beliefs, our mindsets, and our environment, and the understanding of our genetics, we can heal at the root cause.

Welcome back to the PCOS Repair podcast, where today we’re going to be diving in and talking about how to keep healthy eating affordable and where to find good options, what to opt for, what to limit or avoid, and what is actually going to be beneficial when it comes to nourishing our health without breaking the bank. First of all, I think that this topic is something where we need to look at the mindset that we are approaching it. When we tell ourselves something is too expensive. Now, we all have the amount of money that we have and the less that we spend in one area, the more we have to do other things and so being smart with our money is a really good skill and I don’t want to take away from that at all. The mindset, though, I think that’s really important when we look at our health is what value do we put on our health? Where does this fall in our priorities? and ultimately, how do we do the most for our health while still being smart with our money? When we think about what we’re spending on our health, I want us to go beyond just what’s in our grocery cart. So when we think about what do we want from our health, what do we want from our bodies, and how are we going to get it, and what is that going to cost us? Then it’s also important to consider what does it cost us not to do this. Then we make choices based on our budget, our current financial situation, and what we’re wanting from our bodies. Now, this has to include everything from fertility monitors, medical treatments, doctor’s offices, copays, insurance, supplements, programs, exercise, and gym memberships. All of this comes together to form what are we spending on our health? I’m sure the list goes on and on. You could add your workout clothes. You could go on and on and on workout equipment but the point is that I think it’s easy to go to the grocery store and say this health food option costs two dollars more than this thing over here, but elsewhere will drop $50 on a new vitamin that we saw advertised somewhere without really knowing whether or not it’s even going to be the right thing for us. I think it’s important to at least take a step back and look at where are we spending our money and is it making a difference in our health? What do we need to change? I mean, it’s the same idea of when you look at what subscriptions do you have? Are you still using your Netflix subscription? Are you primarily watching things on Hulu? These are things that I’m constantly looking at when I look at my budget. When we think about our money, we want to be spending it where it makes a difference, where it’s helping our body and to ultimately decide how important our health is to us. For me, my health is really important I really like to feel good during my day. I don’t like my weight to be fluctuating. I like to buy clothes and then have them fit and enjoy choosing what I’m going to wear in the day instead of nothing in my closet that I hate. I hate that. That distracts my day and so for me, I have found the sweet spot in my health and that’s where I like to keep it and it’s a priority to me to make that happen and if I am spending a little bit more on healthy food options, that is ultimately okay to me. However, I think that being smart with how we spend our money is also really important.

I know that everybody has a different situation and so I think it’s really important to start looking at in the podcast here where different people can create a lifestyle because it needs to be a sustainable lifestyle where they can feel like they can afford what they need by being smart about where they shop, what they buy, how they nourish their body. First of all, one of, I think, the biggest myths when it comes to health food being expensive is that all of these prepackaged foods that are labeled health foods are significantly expensive. If you’ve ever gone to, I don’t know, some grocery stores, it’s all mixed in. But here in the Northwest, we have something called Fred Meyer’s and in Fred Meyer’s, it’s actually really annoying and I don’t actually like this part of it. I would rather have everything together so I could just pick out what I wanted, and then do the healthy food options and the mainstream brands, and I could just choose which one I wanted but in Fred Meyer’s, they are separated, there is a health food section, and then there’s the rest of the grocery store and in the health food section, they have all of the organic yogurt, and they have the refrigerated soy milk and hemp milk and then they have the regular dairy section that has all the non organic and just regular mainstream brands that are not considered health foods. When you go to the health food section, though, you’re going to be paying like $2 for a carton of milk instead of a dollar for a carton of milk. I’m not making up those numbers. I think it’s a lot more now but that’s what you’re looking at and it’s like, oh, my goodness, if that’s how everything that I buy is going to be, not only do we have the inflation currently of our groceries already costing a ton more since COVID, but now we’re paying for health food items that are double the price of the other ones. If you go and try to buy organic cereal that’s like, Gluten free or something like that, you’re going to pay a lot of money for that smaller box of cereal than if you just went and bought the high fiber mainstream normal brand stuff that would be in the non health food section. So it can be really daunting and feel like choosing healthy is going to be ridiculously expensive. I want to dispel that myth in the very beginning here.

Prepackaged health food is rarely your best choice. So we really don’t need to spend money on prepackaged health foods. Now, there is a time and place for these. Choosing some really well chosen protein mixes, choosing if you can find a good healthy protein bar or energy bar, those are things that can be really helpful to have in a pinch. But I would highly recommend, because they are highly processed, to not have them be your go to item. So if you find that you like to have a smoothie in the morning, blending your own and using a protein powder that you can buy in a nice big jar, my favorite is from Naked Nutrition, Naked Way, or they have a seed based and they have a P protein if you want to stay away from dairy, which I recommend testing how you do with dairy, but that’s a side note for a different topic on a different day and so you get a big jar of a clean, good ingredient, minimal ingredient, high quality protein. Mixing up your own smoothie is a really good way to go because the shelf life on something like protein powder is going to be a lot easier without as many preservatives as it already mixed up ready to go protein shake that has things that would go bad in it because they’re liquid and so there’s going to be a lot more preservatives, chemicals, and inflammatory ingredients in one that’s already premixed. Same thing goes for a protein bar. If you can make your own energy bars or grab and go breakfast, things like egg muffins, Chia pudding, overnight oats that are high in protein. So typically the recipes out there for overnight oats are very high in carbohydrates and they’re going to spike your glucose first thing in the morning. But you can definitely make some that have a lot of seeds, fruit, nuts, and a little bit of oats, along with a lot of protein. So you can add protein powders and things like that to your milk. Actually, what I usually do is put them in my blender and make a very watered down protein shake, basically, where I’ll put a coconut milk or an almond milk in my blender that I’m going to use for my overnight oath that are going to be filled with things like hemp seeds and chia seeds and things that are going to help to decrease the glucose spike of the oats. And then I’m going to use my blender to mix in a lot of protein powder into my milk.

The protein powder I usually use is unsweetened. It’s just pure naked way and there’s nothing else in it. So then I may add some Monk fruit or one of my favorite sweeteners is allulose. We’re going to talk about that in a future episode of how to choose your sweeteners. But that would be another way of just creating your own grab and go breakfast and not having to have things that our store bought, super expensive, prepackaged, full of preservatives, inflammatory ingredients, and not getting as much nutrients as if you prepped it yourself or just kept it simple and had more of a whole foods approach to things. So that’s where we want to remember what is healthy eating? It’s really easy to follow all of the marketing, new product, try this healthy food that costs a ton of money. But let’s take a step back and look at what is it that we typically want to be eating. So again, because this is a lifestyle, the things that we want to focus on and be eating primarily are going to be high quality proteins and vegetables, maybe adding in a few fruits and making sure we’re getting enough healthy fats.

A little goes a long way with the healthy fats, but we don’t want to exclude them. They are very, very important for healthy hormones. So when we think about what’s on our plate, a bag of broccoli and some grilled chicken is not ridiculously expensive. What starts to get expensive is when we start buying all the fancy things. I think that that’s probably, and this topic today, something really important to remember. Yes, grocery prices have gone up. Yes, organic costs more, free range meat costs more. The more that you can buy those ones, the better here. I’m going to include a link in the show notes to go and look at the Dirty Dozen and the Clean 13. These are things where if you wanted to save some money, the Clean 13 are ones that are going to be less absorbent of pesticides and chemicals and probably not as important to buy organic. Then the Dirty Dozen are the ones where arguably they would be better passing on than buying non organic. These are things that are considerations you may want to take. This time of year when I’m recording this, this is July when I’m recording this. Right now, our fruit stands are just filled with organic fruit around where I live and organic vegetables. It’s really easy this time of year to buy good produce. Other times of the year, it’s not as easy. While vegetables and all of that is still highly important, it’s important to also roll with it a little bit and do your best. Then I would say for me personally, I prefer the taste of non healthy treats or treats that are not labeled with a bunch of health labels. When I think about splurging on something, I would rather just buy my favorite brand of ice cream instead of trying to buy something that’s healthy and has this or that in it. Then limit how much I actually eat of it, limit how often I eat it so that it stays within the balance of what works for my body. Then eat the one that I actually want that didn’t cost three times as much. Again, you’re looking at the practicality of all of this. A lot of those packaged try to be healthier health foods have a lot of crud in them. When we’re looking at is it really better than the alternative?

Maybe it is. Maybe it’s something that the sugar content, the macros, the calories, it all lines up to being like, you know what? I could enjoy this twice a week and that’s worth it to me versus the other one is quite a bit of a splurge, and I really only do that one on special occasions. That’s where you’re weighing all of this as well as the price tag and remembering that the true healthy foods are really not exorbitantly more expensive than the industry and groceries that you are probably buying. Now, the other thing that I think it’s really expensive is buying things that you don’t eat. A lot of times when we’re trying to adjust how we’re eating, when we’re trying to incorporate new healthy habits, it’s really easy to go out and buy stuff because we heard it was a good thing to eat, but we don’t actually know what to do with it. We don’t have a plan of exactly what to do with it and it doesn’t exactly sound good to us. It just sounded like a good idea. Those things tend to sit in our cupboard and go stale, take up room, and we don’t really eat them.

So that definitely becomes more expensive because we ate other foods and so we spent our money elsewhere on top of the money that we try to spend on healthy foods. So having a simple plan, keeping it simple, adding these things in slowly, so not trying to change too much too fast. Maybe you start with focusing on how to make your breakfast better. Maybe you focus on how to try to make the end of your day better with dinner and so forth. But wherever you try to focus, start small. Take a couple of days, a week, or two weeks, figure out what’s working for you, and then add in more. Because otherwise, what happens is it becomes overwhelming. We don’t do it, we grab something on the way home because it seems like too much work, then we’re spending a ton of money and we’re letting our healthy foods go bad and it definitely gets more expensive and that’s the key. Another thing that’s really helpful in reducing how much we spend on our groceries is to cook it once and eat many times. So the more times that we try to cook different varieties of things, the more extra ingredients that we’re buying.

So if you’re making a stir fry, you are buying the protein for that, all the vegetables for that and then you’re buying all the seasons and the spices and the garlic and the onions and the extra soy sauce or if you’re wanting to try to keep it really healthy, the coconut aminos and these are all things that may be completely new to your pantry. You also probably are going to have a lot of leftover vegetables. You cut up an onion, you don’t need a full onion in one stir fry, so you have an extra half of an onion. Same thing with all your other vegetables. So even if you make it fresh, planning on having the same thing twice or making double and having it as leftovers for lunch. Those are things that really help to save money and reduce the waste. They also save you time and although you may not have actually earned more money in that time that you saved, it helps you do other thing, it helps you balance your life better, I mean, we can’t get our time back. So it’s really important to also think about how much time are we spending on this and to be smart about it.

Again, if our health is a priority, we’re going to want to invest some money and some time into it. But as we think about our day, the more that we can cook once, eat twice, or have meals that complement each other. So we cut up something and we used it in two different ways. Those are all things that are really helpful in reducing the waste, reducing the amount of time that we’re spending in the kitchen, but ultimately allowing us to still nourish our bodies. One of the ways I like to do this is if I’m thinking about how many onions I need for the week, I can just throw them in my Cuisinart and I can just chop them all up and then either divide them or keep them in a top of where and then use them for the different recipes throughout the week and so I’m not using an onion and then trying to figure out what to do with this other half of the onion and it’s stinking up my fridge because I stuck it in there in a baggie or some ran wrap, and it’s not really ready to use and I may or may not use it later and sometimes for me, and this is probably my own toxic trait, but I don’t like cutting up onions and so if a recipe calls for an onion, sometimes I’ll have everything ready to go and I’ll just hesitate. I won’t really want to make it because I don’t want to deal with cutting an onion. So the more things that we can prep for the week, reduce the waste, reduce the time required, the more likely we are to keep it to our simple plan that we had without deciding that our week got too busy and we’re just going to pick up, take out. This is also where having a meal plan is really helpful. There are so many weeks where I get really busy and I just go to the grocery store and I don’t really have a solid list. I know what nights I need to make something for dinner. I’ll just go to the fresh food section and I’ll buy a bunch of vegetables. I’ll grab some meat from the meat department and I’ll figure it’ll come together. But I’m never going to really get it right. It’s fine. I can freeze what I don’t use for the meat and we can always just eat a couple more vegetables but ultimately when I do that, I either don’t quite have enough and I have to go to the store again, which gets expensive because whenever I go to the store, I pick up something else that I probably could have done without, or I’m overbuying on my groceries.

Having a clear meal plan of what you’re going to eat for each meal of the week before you go to the grocery store and fine-tuning that down. So if you’ve worked with me before, if you’ve done any of my programs, then you probably have gotten some meal plans. Those meal plans are a generic place to get you started, give you ideas about recipes, to give you an idea of what healthy eating looks like, and that’s a really good place to start. However, when we take that, the next step is to take that and make it your own. What are portion sizes? What did you use or not use? Was there an ingredient that you’re like, Oh, I don’t actually like that. I’m going to leave that one out or did you add in something else? Making all of those notes, adding it to the grocery list so that when you go and you’re like, This is my meal plan for the week, your grocery list is more or less ready.

We can have that so that we’re not spending repeated time, but also we have simplified it down, streamlined it to exactly what ingredients we need. We stock our pantry with the foods that we eat frequently and we’re not having to spend as much on a weekly basis. So sometimes with that, there is some buy in as you restock your pantry in a way that you’re having all of the ingredients to cook healthy foods. But over time, we’re reducing how much of that new we’re having to buy because we know what recipes we enjoy. We have collected ideas for our week so that we can easily and quickly decide what our meal plan for the week is going to be. We have recipes that we’re okay doing on repeat so that we eat similar things. We get really efficient at cooking them. We get really efficient at grocery shopping for them, and it becomes less cumbersome, less expensive, and a lot more doable. The other thing that I think is really important when it comes to affordability for healthy foods is shop at normal grocery stores. Store like Whole Foods, and we have a couple here where I live, and then we had a couple up in Portland where my parents lived before that are similar to Whole Foods and these stores are awesome. They have all sorts of great salad bars and pre made foods and they have all the healthy foods that you could ever want. If you’re looking for something that’s nutrient free, they’ll have it. However, they’re so expensive. Those stores are not where I recommend doing most of your shopping. Now, if you know that they have some specialty items that you like to have, that’s fine. Those are like your splurges but for the majority of your healthy eating, you can shop at normal stores like Walmart, Albertsons. I pick up some things up at Target, Costco. I love Trader Joe’s. These are all places that you can pick through and find the healthy things at a lot more affordable prices than stores like Whole Foods and so also, if you’re not following me already, over the next few weeks, I’m going to be working to put some of my favorite buys at these different stores, Walmart, Costco, Trader Joe’s, things that we have across the country so that you can start to see what types of things am I buying, what types of things am I splurging on, what are some really easy ways to buy foods that are both convenient, healthy, and not breaking the bank.

So as we summarize what we’re talking about today, I think that, first of all, it’s really important to not get overwhelmed by, Oh, my gosh, I’m trying to do all this healthy stuff, and now it’s going to cost me more, and it’s going to take me more time, and all of these things that start to hold us back. So first, start with setting your mindset. What is it that is your priority? Where do you want to focus your energy, focus your money? What are you currently spending on your health? What can you let go? What do you want to add? and take a step back so that you’re not standing there at the grocery store aisle feeling so stressed out so that you feel like the thing that you’re supposed to buy is so much more expensive than you used to buy that you’re replacing. Next, remember that eating healthy is actually more simple than we make it out to be. We think we need to buy all these fancy supplements and fancy packaged health foods, but we’re in reality sticking with high quality protein and some good veggies is really the bulk of what we want to be eating and the other things can be added in as we want to pay for them and we want to have a little extra variety and enjoyment in what we’re eating. Next, we don’t have to shop at fancy stores. A lot of really good quality olive oils and quality meats and vegetables can be found at your normal local grocery store and then also having a plan, keeping it simple, keeping it doable so that you actually follow through with it and cooking once, eating twice or more is so much more efficient, both with the foods that you’re eating as well as your time, and you’ll ultimately spend less money and less time in the kitchen. Those are things that can really help to make the affordability of healthy foods more doable, less stressful, and help you to create really sustainable habits as you learn to nourish your body in a way that works for your PCOS hormones.

Again, I encourage you to follow me over on Instagram where we’ll be posting some more things about where I shop, what I buy, and things like that that make my meals convenient, cost effective, and so forth. Also, Instagram is the best place to ask me questions or to communicate over there in my direct messages. I look forward to hearing from you and having a conversation over there on Instagram and until next time, make sure you hit the subscribe button because we have many new episodes coming out in the next few weeks that are going to be talking about nutrition specifically, managing our glucose, and lots of different ways that we can support our bodies through healthy nutrition and help us to manage our PCOS hormones.

And with that, bye for now.

Did you know that studies of PCOS epigenetics have shown that our environment can either worsen or completely reverse our PCOS symptoms? I believe that although PCOS makes us sensitive to our environment, it also makes us powerful. When we learn what our body needs and commit to providing those needs, not only do we gain back our health, but we grow in power just by showing up for ourselves. This is why I’ve created a guide for you to get started. My PCOS fertility meal guide can be found in the show notes below. I want to show you how to create an environment that promotes healing while still being able to live a life that you enjoy. This guide is completely free, so go get your copy now so that you can step into the vision that you have for your life and for your health.

Take The PCOS Root Cause Quiz

   What Do Your Symptoms Mean?

  Discover your current PCOS Root Cause

Start to reverse PCOS at the root cause. 

Results are not guaranteed. Please see Medical Disclaimer for more detail.

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About Show

Welcome to The PCOS Repair Podcast!

I’m Ashlene Korcek, and each week I’ll be sharing the latest findings on PCOS and how to make practical health changes to your lifestyle to repair your PCOS at the root cause.

If you’re struggling with PCOS, know that you’re not alone. In fact, it’s estimated that one in ten women have PCOS. But the good news is that there is a lot we can do to manage our symptoms and live healthy, happy lives.

So whether you’re looking for tips on nutrition, exercise, supplements, or mental health, you’ll find it all here on The PCOS Repair Podcast. Ready to get started? Hit subscribe now