Few people are able or ready to grow their own food. With food prices rising and the dollar shrinking, it’s a good idea to know what to buy and where. The first thing to realize is eating solely for taste or convenience while eating out often are the wrong approaches. But eating healthy on a budget is quite possibly more important than ever, and it’s best to start right now.
Allocating serious shopping time for some trial and error to determine where the best deals are is necessary. If you have more than one health food store available, learn which ones offer better deals on specific items and keep up with their sales fliers.
Cooperatives or co-ops usually charge an annual membership fee to get the better deals. You’ll have to decide if it’s worth it. You may be surprised that sometimes the pricier stores will have better deals on some items than the less expensive stores.
If you think you cannot spend the money for quality, organic foods, add up all your eating out expenses and the chips and dips and other processed yummy food and snack expenditures. Processed foods have unhealthy additives that make you eat more.
These eating and snacking habits can add up to an expense greater than buying whole organic foods and preparing them from scratch. Not to mention the money you’d save on pharmacy visits and medical bills from replacing your destructive food with health-boosting food.
A Few Suggestions for Eating Healthy on a Budget
There are many tips and tricks for saving money while eating healthful foods at the same time. Many people think it’s not possible, but you may be surprised. Here are a few suggestions for eating healthy while on a budget.
Here’s where you have to spring for the bucks. If possible, invest in a bread making machine and make your own from non-wheat grain items ordered online or from local bulk bins. Then you’ll get the highest quality breads for the cheapest prices, though admittedly with the most work. Otherwise, try to find a local bakery that makes fresh, organic bread without bleached white flour or bromides (bromine).
Bleached flour is a chemically induced artificial, digestive clogging non-nutrient abomination for easy dough, literally and financially. White flours in Europe are bleached by the sun; chemical bleaching is not allowed there. Bromine makes mass produced baking easier and cost efficient, but it replaces the vital nutrient iodine from thyroid glands, which leads to hypothyroidism and all sorts of related health problems.
Avoid bread, rolls, doughnuts, and cakes that list “potassium bromate” or “bromated flour” among their ingredients. It’s likely the higher end whole grain baked products from California bakeries and Ezekiel products that are bromate free.
Related Read: Top 10 Healthful Yet Inexpensive Organic Foods
2. and 3. Grains and Legumes
Organic rice and beans from bulk bins are healthful and cheap. Healthy cold pressed oils, lemons, and spices can give you a variety of flavors. Avoid canned beans even if they’re in non-BPA cans.
The bulk dried beans should be soaked overnight for boiling the next day. Organic lentils are inexpensive and healthful, and they don’t require any soaking time. Most other beans, like black or turtle beans and garbanzo or chick peas do need overnight soaking.
Some insist that grains should be soaked overnight to partially remove nutrition-blocking phytic acid or phytates. Soaking organic steel cut oats overnight with a two to one water to oats ratio makes morning cereal preparation quick and easy as well more healthful. After the overnight soak, bring the oats to a boil, shut off the heat, cover with a lid and leave it for around 15 to 20 minutes.
And in case you didn’t know, beans are some of the foods for eating healthy on a budget, while also being some of the best emergency foods to keep around in case of a crisis or disaster.
This is the trickiest for budgeting when it comes to fresh organic produce. It requires serious shopping and coupon/sales flier scavenging. If you can’t find organic produce to fit your budget, at least avoid the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) “dirty dozen” and shop for their “clean fifteen” listed here.
It’s best to lightly steam or eat the veggies raw. A salad a day with dark greens, cucumber and carrot slices is a good way to eat veggies. Juicing is especially healthful as well, although will require more produce than usually.
When it comes to soups, do not choose MSG laden instant soups or conveniently canned soups, even if their labels say no BPA. Slow cook soups the old fashioned way with veggies, potatoes, and beans. A wand or stick immersion blender is ideal for grinding and mixing the veggies in your soup as it cooks in the pot.
Make enough to refrigerate what’s left over. It seasons while stored in the fridge to taste even better after a couple of days. This is healthier and cheaper over time.
Another way to boost nutrients for grains and legumes while offering variety is by sprouting. Sprouting broccoli seeds gives you a super food, while many other seeds and legumes can be sprouted as well. Doing your own sprouts is much less expensive and offers fresher sprouts then store bought.
Do you have any of your own tips for eating healthy on a budget? Don’t forget to share them in the comments below!