Could rising food costs make us healthier? It certainly could, if we look at it the right way.

As we have all been seeing in the grocery stores and on the news these days, our grocery bill is going up. Initially this was a huge concern for me, not only as a parent of two growing children, but also as a health enthusiast wanting my clients to eat a little healthier.

Eating clean has never been an inexpensive thing to do, but now I am concerned that it’s going to get even worse.

As I began to delve into it a little deeper, I started to realize that it’s actually getting a little cheaper to eat clean than to eat crap. Let me explain how:

First, the cost of meat is on the rise across the board. The clean meat I want you to eat, however, is still the cheapest. I want you to buy the leanest cuts of meat you can and then marinate them or put them in a slow cooker to increase the tenderness.

Even better, I want you to buy local. With the shipping costs on the rise it will soon be just as expensive to buy off the grocery store shelf as buy from a local farm.

Buy lean cuts of meats and fish when they are on sale. Split the large packages into smaller freezer bags and freeze until you need them.

Second, I want you to buy whole grains and make your own bread products. Now, grain products are one of the hardest hit products, not only because of the price of fuel, but also the lack of grain being produced by farmers.

Well, start making your own breads using a variety of whole grain and/or bean flours. An Eziekle bread takes two minutes to put in your bread maker. It makes a dense loaf that you only need one piece of in order to satisfy you, so you don’t eat as much of it and you are consuming a product chocked full of vitamins and minerals your body needs.

Amaranth, millet, quinoa, black bean, barley are just a few varieties of flours we can use in breads.

Buy in-season fruits and vegetables. Cook your own soups, chilis and stews using all fresh ingredients. In the end, it’s actually less expensive than buying the canned variety and it’s a lot healthier for you with less sugar, fat and salt (not to mention all the chemical additives they put in the can to make the products last on the shelves).

Even better, plant your own fruits and vegetables that will grow locally. Carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, asparagus, broccoli, strawberries, raspberries and cranberries to name a few.

Buy bulk when purchasing almonds, walnuts, flax seed, oat bran, wheat germ, etc. Bulk is cheaper because you’re not having to pay for the packaging.

Lastly, you pay for it now at the grocery store or you pay for it later in health. The amount of time you will take off work because you are sick and unable to work will cost you more in the long run than just taking care of yourself now. The cost of medications and care you will need if you get diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure or cancer will be substantially more than eating a healthy, clean diet now.

It is work and organization and preparation, but it is worth the time you will have with good conversations and eating with your family at the dinner table.

Mentally, physically we can all benefit with a higher quality of life created by eating real foods.

This column is provided by Peak Fitness. Mrs. Lee Randell is an ACE certified personal trainer. Contact information and past articles are available at www.pkfitness.yk.ca/Clients. Anyone who wants to begin an exercise program should consult their physician first.

This column is provided by Mrs. Lee Randell, independent fitness consultant, who is an ACE certified advanced health and fitness specialist and personal trainer. You can reach her at www.mrsleerandell.com.