For those of us that need some new and fresh ideas, hopefully these 11 NEW ways to eat healthy on a budget will fit the bill.
1. Buy spices from the bulk bin. This is a great way to add flavor inexpensively, without additional fat and salt and then pair with bulk bin beans and grains. My friend Janet from Taste Space has tips on storing her spices and Happy Herbivore shares ways to store grains, beans and flours as well as how to cook them.
For people local to North Florida, Native Sun has a great bulk selection.
Extra Tip! If you don’t want to purchase uniform jars, simply wash old pasta sauce jars or applesauce jars and fill with your bulk bin finds. Handy tools include a funnel, masking tape and permanent marker.
2. Use google. Look for the veggies that are in season and on sale instead of reaching for the old standbys, then google for recipes to find drool worthy photos. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard “I don’t know what to do with daikon radish, Romanesco cauliflower or kohlrabi.” You will be surprised and delighted by what you find on google, I promise. Eating Well has a great collection of inexpensive recipes to use various veggies and your bulk bin items from #1.
For those of you with a CSA like KyV Farm, this is a tip to remember!
Secondly, it is cheaper pound for pound. Organic, non-GMO tofu will be between $2 and $3.50, whereas conventional chicken is $4.53 per pound and organic is $5.49 per pound. (Price on 1/5/2013 at Publix Supermarket.)
When prepared properly, tofu is delicious. Press it, marinate and grill, roast, sauté, or replace for chicken in any recipe.
4. Buy fruit trees to go along with your backyard garden. Fruit trees can produce pounds and pounds of fruit. I purchased a lemon tree for a few bucks and two years later I can’t even eat them all. I preserve them by the Moroccan method of preserved lemons. David Lebovitz has a good recipe.
Extra tip! You can have a garden in your back yard even if you don’t have a green thumb. I came across Jonathan White’s product ~ a tutorial for growing an easy vegetable garden in under 8 hours per year. Click Here to try it for yourself. The price is $39.97. I checked in on reviews about it and found this one with good points ~ lots of hand holding, completely different system, anyone can do this, and bad points ~you need to have around $100 to start the actual garden. I can’t wait to try this product out myself!
Along the lines of #2, sometimes organic produce is less expensive than the conventional version – it just may not be the one you were there looking for. Keep an eye out and read about the “dirty dozen”.
6. Read the ingredients. If you don’t know what the ingredients are or there is a long paragraph, don’t buy the product and allocate your hard earned dollars to these unhealthy, junky foods. Choose whole foods as much as possible that don’t even have a label or expiration date! When you do want junk food, channel your inner Michael Pollan. “Eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself.”
7. Give up gum. Yes. Gum. Food Babe tells us why chewing gum destroys our health.
She says “One of the reasons people chew gum is for weight loss. Chewing gum keeps your mouth occupied so you don’t reach for food, right? The main ingredient in all these gums is artificial sweeteners and consuming them will not work as long term strategy for weight loss. Artificial Sweeteners are proven to stimulate your appetite, increase carbohydrate cravings, and promote fat storage and weight gain.”
It is also expensive. One 3-pack of gum per week can add up to over $152 per year. What could you buy with $152?
8. Find a friend that has a similar healthy eating style and organize a “swip-swap”. My friend Justine and I did this for a while. We would make our family a meal, double it and bring it to our friend with directions for cooking or freezing. We switched off every other week and it was lovely to save money by making dishes in bulk and to not have to cook a meal twice a month.
9. Make soup. Inexpensive, low in calories and fat, high in fiber. Get some veggie broth (you can make it for free from veggie scraps), veggies, pre-cooked beans and grains. Sauté the veggies (using the seasonings we talked about above), pour in the broth and simmer until the veggies are soft; stir in the cooked beans and grains.
10. Dining Out
a. Eat off the sides. I recently visited Bonefish Grill and ate entirely off sides. I got their pumpkin ravioli with crispy sage (hold the brown butter), green beans with balsamic and a lovely salad with a citrus vinaigrette for around $10 bucks and was really stuffed. In fact, I was still trying to make my way through the meal when everyone had already finished theirs.
b. Ask to sub balsamic instead of butter or oil. This won’t save you money but will save a TON of calories. I find that restaurants tend to drown our dishes in butter and oil and it is actually tastier without it.
11. Swap chips and dip for organic frozen edamame ~
Whole pods steamed right from the bag with a bit of coarse sea salt. According to Web MD “Price per serving: 56 cents. You can buy a 16-ounce bag of organic edamame in pods at a supermarket for $2.79 or edamame in pods at Trader Joe’s for $1.79. Nutrition info per serving: 90 calories, 10 grams protein, 8 grams fiber, 10% of the Daily Value for iron, and 6% of the Daily Value for calcium.
Bonus Tip! I like this quote from http://stronglifts.com (no affiliation) because of the number of people who feel that eating healthy is too expensive. Let’s admit it, it can sometimes be more expensive if time and planning isn’t an option, but eating healthy is so worth it. “Healthy & budget don’t mix well. If you really want to eat healthy you’ll have to put money down. Get a job if you don’t have one. Work on a salary increase or additional stream of income if you do.” Have you recently recommended a restaurant, movie or product you love recently? Then you are already doing Network Marketing. Consider this viable profession and get paid for your recommendations instead of third party marketing companies. According to the DSA, 16 million people in 2012 joined this profession and estimated retail sales was 31.63 billion dollars.
Cheers to your health!
Click here for a quick guide to these 11 tips.
What do you think of these tips? Do you have any “eating healthy on a budget” tips of your own?