Courtesy of https://experiencelife.com about eating healthy on a budget
Eating well doesn’t have to break the bank. Here are 15 tips on cutting your bill at the grocery store without leaving out the good stuff:
#1: Make a strategic shopping list
Buying food on a whim, shopping haphazardly, and going shopping when hungry all tend to lead to more expensive grocery shopping bills. You can save a bundle by planning your grocery list ahead of time. Search online to find deals near your home, combine this with the information with food about the food already on hand, then search for recipes that make the most of both. With this information, create a detailed shopping list and try not to stray from this list.
#2: Know the cost of your staples
Even if you live in the most expensive food markets in the country, you can still eat well and cheaply by keeping track of what things cost. By knowing what things cost, you can quickly identify a deal.
#3: When you spot a sale, strike
Occasionally certain items will go on sale in a market. This is the perfect chance to stock up on these items for several of week. Do not hesitate to buy in bulk when this opportunity arises. However, the trick here is to buy only what you will actually use.
#4: Hunt for overripe deals
Toward the end of the summer season, you can buy crates of slightly bruised tomatoes at a bargain from certain markets. You can then cook them down into a compote with olive oil. Over the next several months, you can use that canned tomato base in curries, rice dishes, and pasta sauce. You give a little time to prepare it, but you get this time back later because you have these meals half-made already.
#5: Don’t assume high-quality stores equal high prices
Stores with healthy reputations offer some surprisingly good deals. House lines such as Whole Foods’ 365 brand or Trader Joe’s products are often very affordable. Your local food co-op is another great source of bargains.
#6: Don’t overlook ethnic markets
Many times you can buy the same amount of certain food items for much, much cheaper at ethnic markets than many other markets.
#7: Know when buying organic is essential
Prioritize organic purchases based on the likelihood of containing toxins: emphasize meats first, then full-fat animal products, low-fat or no-fat animal products, and root vegetables. For a ranked list of most and least pesticide-laden fruits and vegetable, see www.foodnews.org/walletguide.php
#8: Buy from the bulk section
Good items to buy in the bulk section include beans, nuts, brown rice, cornmeal, lentils, maple syrup, spices, and many more. Bulk spices are particularly great, you could get just a few teaspoons of something for 50 cents instead of buying it in a cute glass for 6 dollars a jar. Buying just the amount you need of delicate perishables reduces the likelihood of things going rancid and being wasted. Beware of certain bulk foods such as yogurt pretzels, cookies, and candies. They’re a rip off at any price.
#9: Factor nutrition and quality into price
A single load of Ezekiel bread 4:9 brand sprouted-grain from the freezer section is ~$3.50 at Braun’s grocery store – pretty pricey at first glance. However, this bread contains lentils and legumes, therefore, you can get more protein out of this bread than you can from a pound of half of grass-fed hamburger. Same goes for miso; A small tub is $4, but you get all of the probiotics and enzyme that people typically pay a lot more for in capsule form.
#10: Invest in equipment
A programmable rice cooked costs more than $100, but it has brown rice perfectly cooked by dinner time, or steel cut oats ready when you wake up for breakfast. It really cuts down on the temptation to say “oh, I’m starving, I will just grab something out.” If the brown rice is already done, then your meal will not take long to put together. Same goes with the food processor; you can throw some dried fruit and nuts into it and create your own energy bars for much cheaper.
#11: Get the most from your purchases
For example, instead of buying chicken breast, but a whole organic chicken, break it down into parts, and freeze section you do not place to eat right away. You can also buy aa chunk of fresh, free-range, bone-in pork loin for much cheaper than buying cut of pieces individually. One night you can prepare roast port with gravy. The next day you can crumble port over two salads for lunch, and then make rice noodle soup with sesame seeds and more of the shredded pork meat for dinner. The day after, you can cook some spiced lentil soup with more shredded pork, and with the remaining bits of meat, fix two sandwiches with watercress. With the soup stock you can make from the bone, you can cook up a rich risotto and two more bowls of soup with a whole grain, such as quinoa. All of these meals equate to 22 helps of food from a single pork loin, which adds up to ~$2 per serving!
#12: Minimize meat
The secret to a healthy, high-energy, cost-effective diet is to make fresh produce, beans, legumes, and whole grains the focal point of your meal, letting meat play a supporting role (or not role at all!). Keep things interesting by playing with global flavors. For example, one night do beans and rice Thai-style, and go with fish sauce, ginger, and cilantro; then go South American and cook beans and rice with jicama, corn, tomatoes, and hot peppers. Look into substantive foods (sweet potatoes, garbanzo beans, avocados, root vegetables, and squash) combined with flavor powerhouses (shiitake mushrooms, chilies, aged cheeses, coconut and roasted nuts) to lend substance and satisfaction to low-meat or meat-free meals.
#13: Redefine convenience food
Eating out once can easily blow your food budget for the entire day. When you have frozen pizza crusts (homemade in advance) and bagged green can be a big energy- and budget-saver. Throw fire-roasted canned tomatoes, mozzarella, and fresh basil on the crust, toss a quick salad, and you’ll have a speedy meal without the restaurant or take-out tab.
#14: Create a windowsill garden
Even without a green thumb, you can still easily keep small herb plants, like thyme, basil, rosemary, and sage on your kitchen windowsill. Not only are homegrown herbs a great bargain, they also spruce up meals at home and bring luxury into humble staples. Growing your own also means you never have to watch another too-big package of fresh herbs go to waste.
#15: When you splurge, splurge on quality
Occasionally go ahead and splurge on higher quality foods such as wild-caught fish, fresh in-season stone fruits and berries, pasture-fed and organic meats, diary, and eggs, top-quality dark chocolate, and truffle- or nut-infused oils for drizzling over other unassuming soups and salads.
Still not sure you can afford to spend money on good, healthy groceries?
It might be time to consider whether you can afford NOT to. Nearly 70% of doctor visiting result in prescriptions (think co-pays), that a single inflammatory condition caused by a lack of nutrition can result in a whole raft of different healthy problems (think skin, digestive, and joint problems) and that nutritional deficiencies tend flip disease-determining genetic switches in direction you do not want them to go (think diabetes, cancer, and heart disease), you’ll probably find that even the most indulgent high-nutrition organics wind up looking like a loss-leader deal in comparison to medical costs
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