Healthy Eating on a Budget
When discussing nutrition and eating well, I am always disheartened to hear someone say that it is too expensive to eat healthy food.
I was pleased to find out that Certified Holistic Nutritionist, Integrative Health Coach and owner of Eat for Life, Jeanie Redick was teaching a class on Healthy Eating on a Budget at our local co-op.
Jeanie’s class was well attended, proving that this is a subject of interest to many trying to balance budget and health. Jeanie’s story and top tips are below.
My husband and I homesteaded for 10 years in Tennessee and raised all our own food. By making our own bread, yogurt, sauerkraut and tofu, we saved a lot of money. We also canned peaches, tomatoes, green beans, and pickles and had a freezer full of strawberries, blackberries and blueberries. Our shopping trips at our local food co-op were to buy flour, rice, legumes, peanut butter and oil. As a result of our planning and hard work, our grocery bill was about $14 each week.
When we had children our budget allocated to food increased, but I made all of our baby food, continued growing what I could and stuck to a budget that allowed us to live on one income for 14 years while raising my children.
My top tips:
1. You must invest 1-2 hours each week planning your menu and shopping list.
2. Your menu and shopping list should be based on what your inventory is in your pantry, refrigerator and what coupons you have.
3. You should have five dinner meals planned and shopped for and one night have “must-go” – everything must go (leftovers). One night you may go to an event or social.
4. You should plan on eating mostly plant-based foods, as meat and dairy are very expensive.
5. Always shop the sales. When a staple is on sale, buy extra and remember that everything eventually goes on sale.
6. Grow a garden if possible, even simple things like herbs, tomatoes and summer squash will save you money.
7. Buy bushels of food in season from a local grower and learn to put food up by canning, freezing and drying your food.
8. When you cook, double the recipe and freeze a portion for later use.
9. Get your snacks from the farmers market or produce stand and portion them out yourself. Individually packaged food is very expensive.
10. Make homemade teas – even fruited teas for your children instead of juices.
11. Don’t be a short order cook in your home. When you have picky eaters and kids with allergies, make thematic meals, so there are options.
12. Prepare to be away from home by packing snacks and meals to avoid eating in restaurants while traveling.