Did you know that you can eat a healthy, organic diet on a tight budget? As a frugal shopper myself, I have seen how it can be done. Today I am going to share with 4 rules we live by when it comes to eating healthy as well as 18 different foods you can eat organically that will be healthy and won’t drain your wallet.
First things first…
Eat at home: Meals in restaurants are not only pricey but they usually don’t contain the best ingredients. By learning how to cook a few staple, easy and cheap meals, you can save a boat load of money.
Eat seasonally: If you can find foods that are in season that you enjoy, then buy those. They are always cheaper than their imported neighbours.
Eat less meat: Now, most of you know that I am a vegetarian and may think I am suggesting this because of a plot I have to convert the world. That is not true. I am saying to eat less meat because it is very expensive. It is one of the most expensive items if not the most expensive items you will have in your shopping cart. Plus, too many of us eat too much of it which isn’t good for our health. Meat can be responsible for high cholesterol, heart attack, and cancer. Instead, shift your sources of protein to vegetarian options such as beans, lentils, and whole grains.
Eat smaller portions: Think about this, if you cut your caloric intake per day by 5%, you would in theory cut your food budget by 5%. Plus you might just lose 5% of those pounds that you have been trying to get rid of for ages. Smaller portions and frequent eating are two ways you can drastically improve your health.
Next, 18 frugal foods that are healthy, organic, and best of all cheap.
Cabbages: They are high in cancer preventative compounds and come in numerous varieties so you can use them in a bunch of dishes. Try red cabbage for a cream free coleslaw and bok choy for an Asian stirfry.
Broccoli: Broccoli is one the best vegetables you can take time to eat. It is so high in many of the nutrients your body needs such as Vitamin A and D. Plus you can pretty much get it all year long for a cheap price.
Kale: Kale is very nutrient dense and a little can go a long way. You can use it for salads or in pasta sauces. You can even blend it in smoothies. Other leafy greens such as spinach, turnip tops, and beet tops are just as good for you.
Carrots: These orange gems are loaded with beta-carotene and fiber. They are also high in Vitamin A and K. They are very easy to pack and take on the go and very versatile to cook with. We literally consume carrots every day in our house.
Bananas: Many of us grew up on these sweet treats. They are always cheap to buy in bunches and work great as a quick snack.
Apples: An apple a day keeps the doctor away. There are so many different varieties of apples out there that no matter what you like; juicy, crunchy, soft, tart, etc. you can get an apple to match your tastebuds. Apples are a great source of fiber and phytonutrients.
Onions: Onions are very good for you blood and high in Vitamin C. They sweeten when you cook them and are available in a variety of sizes and colours. Their cousins Garlic and Ginger are also healthy compliments.
Sweet potatoes: Are also high in beta carotene. They have a lower glycemic index (takes longer for your body to process the sugars) than regular potatoes to they last you longer. They can be used in purees, soups, sauces, or just diced and baked.
Beans: These little guys are one of my favourites. They come in such a variety of colours and sizes that they look make any dish look just gorgeous. They are also high in protein, fiber, and lysine. Buy dried beans and cook them up in batches and then freeze them. That way you have them ready when you need them. Plus you limit the salt and preservatives that you would normally find in cans.
Nuts: This snack is high in protein and healthy fat but you need to limit your portions because they are calorie dense. An ounce of nuts a day is considered a healthy amount. Nuts work great as a snack on the run. They can stop you from buying junk. Buy them in bulk when they are on sale and throw them in your freezer. This stops them from going rancid. Plus since you eat them in small quantities, one bag can last you a really long time.
Seeds: These are also high in nutrients. Pumpkin seeds are high in iron and magnesium. It is best to eat them raw and unsalted but if you prefer you can roast them in your oven for an added crunch.
Brown rice: This is by far the cheapest grain to buy if you have to eat gluten free. It now comes in many forms such as crackers, pasta, or cereal. It is high in fiber and protein.
Peanut butter: I know there is an issue with it in schools but you can still eat it at home. Peanut butter is high in monounsaturated fats and high in protein. Make sure to buy natural, unsalted, and unsweetened to get the best nutrient punch for your buck. Store it in your fridge to make it last.
Ground beef: Now we don’t eat it in our house, but if you use it in your’s as a main ingredient be sure to buy grass fed and organic varieties. This is the healthiest option.
Chicken: Make sure to also buy it organic and free range. Chicken fryers are great because you can use the entire bird for numerous meals throughout the week. Makes meal planning simple.
Olive oil: This is a staple in our house. Not only does it have such great flavour, it is also high in healthy fats and antioxidants. You never use that much of it so it costs pennies per serving.
Yogurt: Always buy unsweetened and use fresh fruit to add sweetness. It’s high in calcium and probiotics and is a cheaper option than cheese. It is also lower in fat depending on which variety you buy.
Eggs: Always buy organic eggs from Certified Humane agencies. They are a great source of protein and can cost as little as 50 cents an egg.
So now that I have laid out your grocery list for the next month, are you going to make the effort to eat organic and healthy on the cheap?