10 Tips to Eating Healthier on A Budget
Want to eat healthy? Trying to do it on a shoestring budget? According to “Eat Vegan on $4.00 a Day: A Game Plan for the Budget Conscious Cook” by Ellen Jaffe Jones it isn’t all that hard any longer. It seems in fact it’s getting easier!
Here’s a few tips and tricks that might help you when getting started:
Tip#1 Make breakfast count! Any of these “bases” can be made into breakfast with a little warm water or almond milk & some fruit or honey. Here’s a list of cheap & simple grains: Steel cut oats, Rolled Barley, Rye, Millet, Quinoa. Add some nuts or a little maple syrup & you have a great meal that will sustain you for hours & is completely full of nutrients. These grains have all kinds of vitamins & folate, fiber & essential amino acids that allow your body to have a wonderful start on the day. Also makes a satiating mid-day snack!
Tip#2 Beans, Rice, Noodles & Rice Noodles (a gluten free choice) are fantastic “starters” for ALL recipes healthy. You can top beans with ground meat alternatives you can find in your “health” section of any local supermarket these days. Make a simple sauce & voila-a meal for pennies on the dollar! Add some fresh vegetables like broccoli or zucchinis to add much needed nutrients & fullness. Don’t forget to save the left overs!
Tip#3 Purchase Debbie Meyer Green Bags. They are about $10 at your local health food store or Bed Bath & Beyond. Each package contains 20 bags (10 small & 10 large) & each bag can be used 10 times. That’s 200 uses, or 200+ weeks if you monitor your bags well & make sure to let them dry in between uses. For $10 your easily extending your produce shopping by 1 week sometimes 2 depending on what you store & how quickly you use it.
Tip#4 Shop the perimeter of the store. The grocery store is designed to make you want to buy as much as possible. Often it’s unhealthful snacks & processed foods & drinks that run up the tab. Stick to the basics & don’t bring the junk home so there’s no temptation to eat it. Not only does is keep you unhealthy but it keeps your bill up too.
Tip#5 Smoothies are a great snack to make & require few ingredients to find a decent combination you enjoy. Start with something simple like soy or almond milk & strawberries & a frozen banana. Then branch out. Your body will thank you & so will your pocket book. Who needs a $6 smoothie from a chain store when you can make your own?! They also serve as a great meal replacer if you’re trying to curb hunger & drop pounds in a safe & healthy manner.
Tip#6 Buy store brands when possible. Store brand almost always beat the brand name prices. This is especially true for staples like dried beans, flour, grains, and salt. Also, a great many supermarket chains are offering their own organic brands too. Organic 365 is my personal favorite.
Tip#7 Pay with cash & carry only the amount you intend to spend. Use a calculator when you shop to help you feign off surprise totals at the register. You’ll feel like a rockstar too when you are right on target! When the money is gone it’s gone. No overspending!
Tip#8 Check out your local Asian market if there’s one nearby. They often have a multitude of gluten free options including rice noodles & basic ingredients for a fraction of the cost.
Tip#9 Get busy with the Crockpot! There’s a million different ways to slow cook beans & give them a new flavor & twist. Explore more recipes through slow cooking. There’s nothing better than coming home from work & knowing that 9/10’s of the dinner prep is done. Cut up fresh veggies right away & store them in a zip lock so you’re ready to go when you need them!
Tip#10 Share produce with your friends. Trying to find a good price on produce without running up the bill? Check out your local Community Supported Agriculture Program or Co-Operative Grocery Store instead of going straight to the big chain health food center. Get a few friends together & split bulk orders to cut down on the price. It will save you money & time, plus you get to see your friend when you pick it up without having to drag the family into the grocery store. Win win.
Whether you’re a hard core vegan looking to trim your grocery budget, or you’re just wanting to eat healthy this book is worth it’s weight in dollars saved.