The Top Seven Rip-Off Foods
and What to Buy Instead
It’s an easy to get sucked into the latest food trends – big supermarket chains and giant food-processing conglomerates count on millions of consumers to make that costly mistake every day.
Prime example: if you reflexively buy everything organic or all-natural, you’re probably wasting money and not getting near the benefit you think you are.
Food trends end up in the headlines because reporters know everyone is interested in food. Many of us are concerned about our diets for health reasons, and nearly everyone is concerned about dangers to our food supply from contamination, over processing, or farm practices that put yield ahead of quality.
We believe in helping you making smart, informed decisions that will keep more of your hard-earned money inside your wallet where it belongs – and where you can use it to prepare for the uncertain times ahead.
To help you make smart food choices – ones that will protect your wallet and your body – I’ve had my researchers gather together a list of the seven top trendy foods that are a waste of money… and give you more affordable, more wholesome options to enjoy.
Money Waster #1:
You can slap “Healthy Cuisine” or “All Natural Gourmet” or anything else you choose on the label for a pre-packaged meal, but we guarantee the food will still be overpriced and not that good for you.
Cooking a nutritious, tasty meal is actually very easy. Choose a lean cut of chicken, beef, or fish. Season it and grill it. Serve it along side two helpings of vegetables (like a salad and roasted broccoli), and you’re set. It really won’t take much longer to prepare than the frozen meal option, and you’ll save so much money and treat your body so much better in the process.
Money Waster #2:
We’re supporters of canned vegetables when it comes to establishing a long-shelf-life emergency food reserve. Canned veggies are easy to store, they don’t require extra water to prepare, and while they don’t have the same level of nutrients as the fresh options, they will definitely do in a pinch.
However, for everyday eating during relatively normal times, opt for fresh produce whenever you can… the darker green the better. Spinach, broccoli, kale, and Swiss chard are usually cheaper pound for pound than canned goods and so much better for you.
During the peak of summer harvest season, try to load up as much as possible on local, farm-fresh produce. If you want to get serious about it, pick up a copy of The Fruit and Vegetable Stand: The Complete Guide to the Selection, Preparation, and Nutrition of Fresh Produce by Barry Ballister. It’s out of print, but you can usually find used copies cheap on Amazon.
Money Waster #3:
Organic junk food
Honestly, junk food is junk. If you’re going to eat a bunch of empty calories, it doesn’t really matter if they’re organic empty calories or otherwise. We don’t begrudge anyone the right to indulge in their favorite junk food. But, if you’re going to spend the money… do it right! Actually, spend it on your favorite.
Or, go one better and make your favorite junk food at home. Home-baked cookies and potato chips taste better, and they have zero in the way of additives and preservatives… unless you add them yourself.
Money Waster #4:
Fancy Energy Drinks and Lattes
You can easily spend three bucks for a canned energy drink or a made-to-order espresso drink. Sure, you’ll get a caffeine boost, but meanwhile your wallet gets lighter and lighter. (Three bucks a day is almost a hundred bucks a month… we can think of a lot to do with a hundred bucks a month!)
Plus, those drinks are loaded with high-calorie, high-sugar add-ins. Not to mention the chemicals that go into a canned energy drink… yikes!
On the other hand, you can spend less than a dollar a day on coffee you grind fresh and make at home. You’ll enjoy a superior brew and get health benefits too numerous to list.
Money Waster #5:
Organic Oranges and Bananas
It doesn’t make a lot of sense to spend almost twice as much per pound for organic fruits that you’re going to peel anyway. Banana and orange peels provide a natural barrier to most pesticides. So, go ahead and feel good about buying the conventionally grown options.
You’ll still enjoy all the vitamins and minerals these tasty fruits are known for, while being confident you’ve peeled off any of the pesticide residues and left them in the garbage. Onions, avocados, and garlic fall into this category, too, since you peel them before eating them.
Money Waster #6:
If you have celiac disease or gluten intolerance, then gluten-free goods are a smart buy for you. But, gluten-free foods have gotten trendy and even people without a gluten allergy are starting to jump on board. Gluten-free products are pricey. If you don’t need them to preserve your health, then skip them.
Money Waster #7:
High-end Cuts of Meat
Who doesn’t love filet mignon, right? Actually, we don’t. We think it’s bland and almost mushy in texture. You fork over a whole bunch of extra cash for a tender cut of meat and end up eating something that barely tastes like beef.
If you’re going to splurge on steak, go for a rib-eye or a top sirloin. Or just ask the supermarket’s meat manager for guidance. You’ll spend a lot less and enjoy your dinner a lot more.
Money-Saving Bonus Tip
One of the best ways to save your money when grocery shopping is to shop around and find the stores in your area that offer consistently lower prices. Grocery store prices, service, cleanliness, and food quality vary dramatically between stores, so find the one that will serve your needs best.
Eating well on a budget doesn’t have to be hard. You just have to steel yourself against the latest expensive food trends and focus on buying fresh, minimally processed foods that are healthy, tasty, and worth their weight when it comes to saving you money and helping you eat better.