Why is it so expensive to eat healthy unprocessed foods? Why does it seem so opposite than it should be? IT sucks that this drains our money every month---even though I know it is worth it! Just venting.
Well, when you add into the equation of eating out and take-out ....not only is eating whole foods cheaper in the long run but much more healthy. It's okay to vent but also realize that food costs in general are going up due to inflation. One hint....try to stay with seasonal foods that are more abundant, travel less a distance (more environmentally friendly) as well as cheaper.
I know you're not new to gluten-free but you need to visit with some of the celiac forums and visit with some of those on shoe-string budgets who know how to pinch a penny as well as where to shop for the best buys on gf flours or products.
Many people have begun to make some changes in eating and buying habits in response to rising food costs. Many are eating out less often, shopping for sales, and cutting back on more expensive food items.
Here are some of my best tips on ways to stretch your food dollar without sacrificing nutrition:
1. Don't pay a premium for convenience. You can save a lot of money on groceries simply by washing your own lettuce, peeling your own carrots, slicing your own cheese, and chopping your own onions. I think people underestimate just how much extra they are spending for these small conveniences and at the same time overestimate how much time they are really saving. Foods also lose freshness and nutrients when they are pre-washed and processed.
2. Skip the junk food aisle. Chips, sodas, and sweets are very costly, especially when you consider that they don't contribute any real nutritional value to your diet. Don't get me wrong: I personally couldn't live without snacks. But you'll get more nutrition from your food dollar if you spend that money on nutritious treats like nuts, sunflower seeds, and dried or fresh fruits.
3. Make it yourself and save. You can spend $3 on a liter of ice tea or you can make your own for about 10 cents worth of tea bags. And skip the meal kits. The other day I saw a pasta salad kit that contained about 80 cents worth of macaroni and a packet of seasonings for $3.50. For a savings of $2.70, I'm happy to get out my own salt and pepper shaker, thank you.
4. Don't pay extra for individual serving sizes. Buy yogurt, applesauce, cereal, and snacks in large containers and you'll save big (plus, you'll put less packaging into the waste stream). It only takes a few moments to transfer individual servings into zip lock bags or reusable containers, either to pack in your lunch or to exercise portion control.
5. Go meatless once or twice a week. Meat is one of the costliest items on your grocery list. You can save money and give the environment a boost as well by enjoying a vegetarian meal. With fuel prices driving up the prices of everything else, lowering the carbon footprint of your diet will benefit your wallet as well as the planet and the economy.
Watch for more posts on stretching your food dollar without sacrificing nutrition and feel free to add your own tips below.
thanks debra...I'll look into those! I do go to our farmers market weekly...so that helps! I havent tried too much on the seasonal thing, I have just been trying to get enough food choices these days. I also tend to buy organic which is pricey---organic salmon is often a weekly staple...and it probably costs $20+ for a slab of salmon to feed everyone! I know it is worth it, but we cannot save any money these days. We dont even have TV or cell phones! We both have cars that are 10 years old...we're definitely not spending it elsewhere...mainly food---eek!
Here's what I'm doing right now that Spring is Here ....planning my organic garden. Have you also looked into coop gardening? Sometimes all you have to do is pay a fee and the people who run the plot will harvest the vegetables and produce for you.
I'm lucky that I have a huge backyard with plenty of sunlight. Last year I had a ton of vegetables, this year I'm adding more rubbard, carrots, onions, herbs, leaf lettuce as well as cabbage. I'm not sure which tomato plants I'm going plant. Last year I planted too many tomatoes. My zucchini didn't do well so I'm not going to be planting zucchini this year.
Good luck...oh, and I love the worlds healthiest foods website.
we do a garden...we have tons of land actually...but it's ridgetop so it isnt the most fertile. we did a ton of tomatoes last year too---but now I found out I cant tolerate them! I want to do onions and garlic...might try some kind of carrot and see if it works. we did squash but it dry rotted last year----i didnt get to eat any of them! what i need is to get serious about canning late summer---it's been hard the last few years cause my kids are young and need too much
My mother used to do a lot of canning, I'm into freezing now that I'm cooking more and more. I froze some tomatoes last year and they turned out great for chili and tomato sauces and salsa. But, Costco has such great prices on canned tomatoes, I buy them by the 6 pack.
Solstice, do you have a Costco or Sams Club near by you can join? I've found such great buys on some of the staples like rice, soy milk, organic eggs and produce. Since I'm eating so much more fruits and vegetables I can't believe how great their produce is and it's mostly organic.
My husband is not in favor of supporting the BIG GUYS like Sams CLub and Walmart so we dont shop there. They've done a lot to rip apart small towns like the one we live in. So we always try to shop local. I have been such a patron to our local health food store that I get a discount every time I'm in there...the owner is super nice and appreciative of my business!
Yeah, I hate to say this but I do agree with you on the Wally-mart invasion, they're everywhere. There was something on the news again about Walmart suing some poor helpless woman in a coma for $400,000 due to insurance fraud or so they claimed, her husband and attorney said bring it on.
Hey I'd shop at my health food store more often if they'd give me a discount too.
I still love Costco tho, I don't care what anybody says they've got the best prices on organic frozen vegetables and wild salmon that I've seen, unless you go up to Alaska and catch them yourself
Did anyone see the Lisa Ling segment on Oprah a while ago about Freegans? Now there's a way to save money on food ....they don't spend any money at all on food but scavenge food that's been thrown out.
Okay, seriously...it is a growing social/lifestyle movement that can teach us all about saving money and the earth's precious resources, I didn't realize the term Freegan started with Free + Vegan so if you thought veganism was extreme then you'll be interested to know the true Freegans are in my view actually closer to Free-loader on the consumerism world we live in.
Here's a bit from an experimental Freegan Girl blog from Newsweek, I thought described Freegans beautifully and made great comparisons to Freegans by other names....
Everybody’s eyes always pop out when I explain what a Freegan is. People just can’t believe that they dumpster dive, eschew buying and remain steadfastedly unified in their opposition to capitalism. Or to put in their own words; "After years of trying to boycott products from unethical corporations responsible for human rights violations, environmental destruction, and animal abuse, many of us found that no matter what we bought we ended up supporting something deplorable. We came to realize that the problem isn't just a few bad corporations but the entire system itself." Or to use more iconic language, they have turned on, tuned in and dropped out. And that, the ‘system’ notwithstanding, is as American as apple pie (which by the way, comes from England). Seriously, think about it but if you don’t want to, I have developed some mathematical equations to illustrate my point:
Freegans + Drugs + Communes = Hippies
Freegans + Jesus = Quakers
Freegans + Walden Pond = Henry David Thoreau
Freegans + Jesus - Electricity = Amish
Freegans + Jesus + Mother Ann - Sex = Shakers
Now don’t get offended; I’m being purposely simplistic to prove my point, which is that striving for the simple life is not new in this country (Little House on the Prairie was on the air for nine years!) and neither is proselytizing against the wicked consumerist ways of your fellow Americans