Friday, April 2, 2010
Maker's Diet on a Budget: Tips for Cutting Costs
Ok, if you've ever been to Whole Foods, you know why it is aptly nicknamed "Whole Paycheck." There's no way around it. Organic, unprocessed food as God intended for us to eat is expensive. These days, at least. It used to be that organic food was the norm, you didn't have to pay extra just to eat for optimal health. But before you get scared and run back to Costco for your Doritos and frozen pizza, I have some tips to help you eat well and get the most out of your hard earned dollar.
1) Cut out everything in your budget that is expensive and harming your health (e.g. daily coffee and eating out) and use that money for buying food and supplements.
2) Locate a food co-op in your area. Go to http://www.localharvest.com and do a search for one. A good co op can save you tons of money!
3) Go to Farmer's Markets! Eat local and organic as much as you can. It is so much cheaper to buy organic veggies and fruits from a farmer's market than it is from a health food store! (Tip: make friends with the organic farmers that you purchase food from. If they know you, they will often throw in free fruits and veggies or give you discounts!) Again, you can search http://www.localharvest.com or contact your city to find one locally.
4) Look into joining a local CSA. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. How it works is you pay one amount at the beginning of the growing season, and then you are given a set amount of the fruits and veggies that are currently growing. You usually get a ton, and it is one more way to eat locally! Plus, it saves time if you don't want to go to a market each week. See http://www.localharvest.com
5) Even more fun, grow your own fruits & veggies! This is a GREAT way to get the most of out your money! Plus it's fun for your kids, and it's a good way to get them involved in the whole family eating healthy. It's so inexpensive, and you get so much! I think an organic backyard garden is the best way to get a large variety of fresh fruits, herbs, and veggies in your diet without breaking the bank. Plus nothing tastes better than fresh food from your own backyard!
6) Use ground beef as much as you can. You can make burgers, chili, meat loaf, spaghetti, tacos, etc.. I also like to use ground beef to make meals last- for example, we'll have tacos or spaghetti for a couple nights in a row, so I get a night off of making the meal from scratch.
7) Eggs are another great source of cheap protein. I eat an egg sandwich for lunch everyday! :)
8) Buy your organic grass fed beef locally. Consider buying 1/4 or 1/2 a cow, or splitting either of these arrangements with friends. It is always cheaper to buy a cow in bulk. But you have to faithfully use the meat! Don't just leave it sitting in your freezer! See http://www.eatwild.com to find an organic grass fed farm in your area.
9) Don't ever buy supplements from Whole Foods or any other natural food store. Retail prices are so expensive. You can find everything cheaper online. My favorite online store is http://www.choicenutritionals.com. If you order over $100, use coupon "10percent" for a 10 percent discount, and if you order over $50, you get free shipping. I also like http://www.vitacost.com but I have found that once you factor in shipping costs, it is cheaper to buy from Choice Nutritionals.
10) Buy whole organic chickens. Buying chicken breast/thighs/etc by the pound is so much more expensive. I roast a couple chickens each week and use them for dinners and lunches. I'll post recipes soon!
11) Don't buy organic snacks like bars, cereal, or even organic burritos and pizza. The more work it took someone else to make, the more money it's going to cost you.
Lastly, here are a few tips that will help you save money no matter what kind of food you eat. (But let's hope you're following God's plan for optimal wellness when you go grocery shopping!)
12) Know before you go. Take inventory of what's currently in your fridge and pantry, and plan out a week's worth of meals and snacks in advance. Make a list and stick to it! Wandering the aisles window shopping is a recipe for spending more money.
13)Limit your shopping to once a week. It's this amazing phenomenon. The more often I go to the store, the more money I spend! If you run out of something, I promise you'll survive 4 more days. But if you plan right, 95% of the time, you won't run out before the week is up.
14) Lastly, don't throw away food. You're just dumping money down the drain. Use your leftovers and don't buy things when there's half an unused jar sitting in the back or side of your fridge.
I hope these tips help you save some hard earned money, and eat better!
Next week, I'll be discussing how to grow an organic backyard/container garden!
at 11:21 AM