Strategies to Eat Well on a Budget
Ultimately, it is up to us to take control of our kitchens and our lives. The most radical message we can send the food industry – which considers money, not our health in regard to its bottom line – is to prepare our own meals, make the best food selections within our budgets, and reclaim our health.
This does not mean turning bargain food shopping into a second hobby. We are all overworked, overstressed, and overtaxed. Most of us don’t have time to scrupulously compare store prices or cut coupons.
Even so, there are ways of making choices that work within our resources. Here are 10 ideas based on how I save time and money AND create better health for myself.
1 Keep a journal. This might be the most eye-opening experience you will encounter to better budget your time, resources, and money. For just one week, keep a journal of every cent you spend and how you spend every hour of the day. Think of money as your life energy. It represents your time in physical form. How do you want to spend this life energy?
2 Choose three things that give you more money. For example, don’t buy that $2.00 coffee every day — that’s $730.00 a year! Likewise, you might find yourself gravitating to the vending machine daily. You can put that money towards much better use.
3 Buy in season. You will almost always get fresher produce, probably locally grown, for less money, when it is in season.
4 Learn the Dirty Dozen. Not everyone has the budget to buy 100 percent organic, but the more you can, the more you will avoid GMOs and have better health. To learn the most and least pesticide-ridden foods, visit this link.
5 Frequent discount grocery stores. Search out cheaper sources of fresh, whole foods in your neighborhood. My top choices are stores like Trader Joe’s and shopping clubs like Costco or Sam’s Club, where you can buy vegetables, olive oil, fruits, nuts, canned beans, sardines, and salmon at much lower prices than regular supermarkets or other retail chains.
6 Think about joining your local food co-op. Co-ops are community-based organizations that support local farmers and businesses and allow you to order foods and products in bulk at just slightly over the wholesale price. This takes a bit of advance planning but will save you money.
7 Join a community-supported agriculture program. Buy direct and cut out the middleman. We get organic, mostly seasonal, local vegetables delivered to our house for $55 a week, or a little more than $10 a person for a family of four per week. We don’t always get to choose what we get, but it makes us more creative cooks.
8 Keep some basics on hand. Develop a repertoire of cheap, easy-to-prepare meals. Have the ingredients available at home at all times so you don’t get stuck eating food that doesn’t make you feel well or help you create the health you want. This takes planning but is well worth it.
9 Create a “potluck club”. Have coworkers share the responsibility of making lunch for the group once a week or every two weeks. No more buying lunch out, and you get to eat real, whole fresh food and only have to cook a few times a month. Or create a “supper club” with a group of friends; rather than go out to dinner, once a week or once a month rotate dinner parties at one another’s homes. You will build community and health at the same time.
10 Order staples online. Why pay retail for healthy kitchen staples like turmeric, coconut oil, and almond butter?
Many products can be found on Amazon.com simply putting in what you're searching for in the search bar. Even with shipping the prices are excellent.
This is in part courtesy of Dr Mark Hyman