HEALTHY FOOD ON A BUDGET
BUY ORGANIC,BUT SELECTIVE - Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 on EWG. Is it ideal to eat 100% organic? Sure, but that is often financially unrealistic for most of us. Organic avocados and bananas? Skip ‘em. As a general rule anything with thick non porous skin or rind you throw away (like oranges) is not worth purchasing organic. Apples, strawberries, or cucumbers though? I’d prioritize those. You can also use a produce delivery service like Imperfect Produce that sells and delivers ugly-ish but fine produce!
BUY IN BULK - You can find things on sale and buy in larger quantities both online and in stores. I often stock up at Costco, amazon or in stores for things I use regularly like olive and coconut oil, frozen fruit and veggies and marinara sauce. Meat is also huge in this category-but I’ll get into that with my farm direct suggestions.
BUY SEASONALLY- When something is in season its cheaper and easier to produce. Who went strawberry picking? (I forgot lol). In past years however I’ve purchased TONS of strawberries and frozen them-as we go thru so much fruit in our house. This goes for asparagus, zucchini, and peaches as well!
GO FARM DIRECT for MEAT - Find my video HERE. My family and I have been doing this for years-we’ve saved SO much money, it tastes so much better than the store meat, and I’m giving my money directly to a farmer. We also know the animals are treated humanely because we visit the farms that they are pasture raised on. We bought a cheap chest freezer off marketplace and it paid for itself in one beef order! I love this because I never run out of meat or have to get at the store-it’s always in my garage in case I burn dinner!
FARMERS MARKETS AND CSAs - Locally we have been using Upbeet Produce for weekly or bimonthly organic produce and love it! We also have a weekly farmers market in our community: Janesville and Beloit, where we can get local fresh produce for amazing deals. Often, we go at about 11 am as the quantity is starting to dwindle but also as sellers are usually ready to make deals instead of packing it all back up in their truck! When you buy from the store, your food has touched many hands and distribution channels before you get it-every person in the step of that process gets paid thus there are extra costs built into that price. Aim to buy as close to the source as possible. Much produce from farmers markets is picked less than 48 hours before it’s in your hands.
YOU DON’T NEED CHICKEN BREASTS - explore different high quality meat options like pork steaks and chicken thighs-which in my opinion are way more flavorful and juicy and require no extra oil in a pan to cook. Also, ground meat is often cheaper than whole cuts: turkey, chicken, beef, etc. This also goes for canned wild fish like salmon and tuna.
FROZEN STUFF - Veggies and fruits (without additives just plain produce) can be great!
SKIP PACKAGED JUNK - Seriously. Just stop it.
BULK COOK AND MEAL PREP - learn to make this a habit. Don’t waste money on extraneous snacks and fillers. Buy just what you need for breakfast lunch dinners and maybe a smoothie and call it a day! Prep 28 meals in 3 hours or less on a Sunday-freeze and eat all week. You won’t end up throwing away food you bought that you never cooked either. Start by using the contents of your fridge, pantry and freezer and clean out by first-cooking meals with those staples (oh and organize and throw out that nasty 4-year-old whatever-it-is while you’re at it). You can also just do what I do-eat same smoothie breakfast and lunch each day then prep basic fresh dinners each night.
HUNT FOR RECIPES ONGOING - Save on ONE place for ease when you are planning meals for the week. I plan my meals Friday night, shop Saturday and cook Sunday.
STICK TO YOUR SHOPPING LIST - Don’t buy off the list and for God sake don’t go hungry! Have a plan and follow it.
GROW YOUR OWN - plant a garden, keep it simple with a container garden. You can grow herbs indoors also - find info HERE.
Here’s a few other resources I’ve mentioned above: Catalyst Resource Page
I have really come to understand the importance of eating healthy and that by learning and putting forth some effort I will make lifelong changes.
Speaking of fresh here’s a lunch of the month! Steak salad! Fresh tomatoes, lettuces, and peppers! YUM
Happy Summer😊 Sarah