When my husband and I decided I would stay home and raise our kids, we knew we would be making some sacrifices. We did not care a lot about saying goodbye to eating out every night, going out to clubs or trailing the globe. I was even ok with not buying the latest fashions, having a new car every 2 years or carrying around the extra 20 or so pounds I seemed to have gained with my pregnancies. What I did not expect was how difficult it would be to feed my family with just one income. By the time we paid our rent, utilities, cable and phone bills and other expenses, we do not have a lot left for groceries every month. We had to get creative and figure out how we could eat healthy on a budget. As much as I want to always buy organic or grain fed, I cannot afford to pay $4 for a head of organic broccoli or $20 for grain fed ground beef. It was not easy but we have managed and here is how we do it:
5 Ideas To Eat Healthy On A Budget
- Smoothies: We do not always have time to eat a healthy breakfast, but I do not want to skimp on nutrition. On days lie those, we have fruit and veggie smoothies for breakfast. By adding Greek yogurt, we get added protein, which helps keep us full until lunch.
- Frozen Foods: We cannot always buy fresh veggies and fruits, but our local health food store has organic frozen foods available. We have found a lot of the organic items at stores like Trader Joes are competitive with the larger retail grocery stores. By buying frozen, we are not wasting food that goes bad when my meal plans change.
- Say No To Processed Foods: I was amazed at how much money I was spending on processed foods. I was disgusted at how horrible those foods are for my family. The more I learn about GMO’s, preservatives and the chemicals in those foods, I have stopped buying them. I was pleasantly surprised at how much money we saved by not buying them.
- Eat More Fiber: Fiber is not just for the elderly who need to get their digestive process going. When you eat foods like avocados, legumes, nuts, seeds and leafy greens like kale and spinach, you get the health benefits as well as yummy foods. Bulking up on fiber will delay gastric emptying, balance your blood sugar, curb your cravings and makes you full faster. This means you can go longer between meals, therefore cutting down on snacking and eating empty calories.
- Buy Local Or Co-Op: If you buy fresh fruits and vegetables from your local farmers, health food stores or joining a co-op, you can save big. We go to the local farmer’s market and health food store once a week. We spend about half of what we normally spent on the processed foods and we are felling and looking better in the process. I am eating way more vegetables and fruits than I ever have and I am loving it.
Once you make these changes, you need to plan your meals. This will also help cut down on wasting foods, guessing what to make or spending hours in the kitchen. We plan our meals a month at a time and shop once a week. We found by doing this, we tend to stick to our meal plans, spend less and eat much better. The drawback about incorporating all these fresh foods into your diet is finding new ways to eat them. I love vegetables, but I found myself in a rut when it came to recipes. I found I was eating the same salads and grilled or stir fried veggies night after night. That is, until I found the Paderno Spiral Vegetable Slicer from World Cuisine. With this handy product, I can cut vegetables into a variety of ways to incorporate them into my meal plan. The Spiral Vegetable Slicer from World Cuisine, retails for $40 on Amazon, Williams Sonoma, Wayfair and other fine retailers.
This machine is easy to use, is made of BPA free plastic and comes with 3 stainless steel blades, which are virtually damage free and easy to clean. You get a a shredder blade for cutting long, spaghetti-like spiral strands; a chipper blade for long, thick spiral strands; and a straight blade for long, ribbon-like strands. You can cut spirals, shoestrings and vegetable “noodles”, which adds new texture to pasta dishes, stir-fries and salads. I can cut my favorite vegetables, like cucumber, carrots and radishes for salads, or apple spirals for apple slaw. By taking an Idaho potato, I can cut onion rings, potato chips, shoestring potatoes or curly sweet potato fries, which the kids adore. Its unique storage system offers a compartment for holding the blades and its suction feet give you super stability when the slicer is in use. Because it is hand operated, you do not need batteries or an outlet and it is dishwasher safe, making it super easy to clean. We absolutely love our Spiral Vegetable Slicer and how diverse it has made our menu. One USA reader will win one Paderno Spiral Vegetable Slicer ARV $40.
What tips do you have to eat healthy on a budget?