It seems as though there is a common perception that whole foods are too expensive if you are on a budget.
While organic foods do cost more, that does not mean that you it is all or none. Today I wanted to share a few tips with you about how I try to maximize those precious budget dollars to get the best nutrition with what we have to spend.
1. Buy a Whole Chicken instead of Boneless/Skinless Breasts
Buying a whole chicken is much more economical when you consider the price per pound. I normally try to buy pasture raised chickens from a local farmer, but when I can’t get those, I buy the antibiotic/hormone free chickens from the local supermarket for less than 2 dollars a pound (a mere fraction of the cost of boneless breast meat)!
The last chicken I bought cost about 7 dollars. First, I cooked the chicken on low in the slow cooker for about 4-6 hours, then I got all the meat off the bones. Next I put the bones in a stock pot, added some water, onions, celery and carrots, boiled it and voila- homemade stock! (Did you know that an ancient proverb says that good stock can resurrect the dead?)
I was able to use half of the meat for one meal and use the other half, along with some of the stock, to make a delicious soup that my family loved! We love making easy chicken bites, simple baked chicken and all sorts of yummy soups.
2. Know When To Splurge on Organic
Every year the environmental working group puts out a list of the dirty dozen and the clean fifteen. By simply avoiding the dirty dozen you can avoid about 80 percent of pesticides!
At our house, since we are on a budget, I buy conventional produce for everything except for the dirty dozen and make sure to thoroughly wash all fruits and veggies for at least 30 seconds.
3. Save Big by Making your Own
Some items are easy to make and can help you save a lot of money. I make my own yogurt and save 75% by making it!
A quart of conventional yogurt costs $3. A conventional gallon of milk costs about $3.50 (and it yields 4 quarts of yogurt!). So, if you go through one quart of yogurt per week and make your own yogurt for a whole year you will save over $100!!
That might not seem like a lot by itself, but every little homemade item adds up and together they can equal big savings.
Here are just a few items that we make ourselves:
- Sourdough Bread
- Vanilla Extract
- Chocolate Magic Shell
- Moisturizing Bee Balm
- Crock Pot Refried Beans
- Italian Bean Soup
- Cashew Cookie Lara Bars
- Coconut Cream Pie Lara Bars
- Potato Corn Chowder
- Rosemary Walnuts
Plus, oatmeal is a definite money saver when you compare it to cereal. The average box of cereal costs about $3 and supposedly yields 16 servings, which equates to 19 cents per serving (but I bet that if you actually measured out the cereal you would discover you’re eating a lot more than what is stated to be a serving).
A container of oatmeal with 30 servings costs $3.25, which works out to be about 11 cents per serving. And don’t worry about getting bored having the same old oatmeal over and over. Check out the 40 fun and healthy oatmeal toppings. You could have oatmeal for a month without serving the same flavor twice (not that I’m advocating that).
Bulk up your recipes by adding in some properly prepared beans or grains such as quinoa or brown rice to make your meal stretch a little farther.
When we’re having taco salad, we can easily stretch out the amount of meat by adding in some pinto beans. Or, if you’re serving a casserole, you can cut back on the amount of meat without it being too noticeable. We also have a few nights per month that are meatless (and my husband, who is a classic steak and potatoes guy) is good with it!I guess I could go on and on, but I’ll stop at those 5 suggestions on how to maximize your money buying healthy, whole foods.
What are you best secrets for eating healthy on a budget?