Have you ever noticed that the healthy food in stores isn’t always the cheapest, but the unhealthy foods offer coupons and mass quantities for very little money? Don’t let this discourage you when it comes to eating healthy. It is very easy to eat healthy while on a budget, but you need the know how on what resources are out there and how to do it.
One of the newer trends we’ve been seeing are things called CSA’s. It stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Usually for a low price around $15-30 per week, you can pick up a basket of fresh fruits and fresh vegetables. The one that I have participated in gave me 5 of each, along with a loaf of bread for $15.00. I picked it up on a Saturday morning, and was on my way. It was great because it contained a few fruits and veggies that I normally wouldn’t have purchased at the store, along with some items that we use regularly. By purchasing 1 or 2 of these baskets each week, you can provide fresh fruits and vegetables for a family of 4 for a week for a small price. I do use Bountiful Baskets every other week, and it’s only $15.00 for a regular basket or $25.00 for an organic basket.
If you don’t have CSA’s in your area, try to search for a farmer’s market. Farmer’s markets are great because you can buy in season, fresh produce directly from the farmer. A lot of times there will also be local butchers selling fresh meats as well. By doing most of your grocery shopping at a farmer’s market, you are not only supporting your local economy, but you are supporting a healthy lifestyle that is good for the planet as well! I’ve noticed that if there are fruits or vegetables that you aren’t familiar with at a farmer’s market, they are more than willing to let you try it on the spot or give you a small sample so you can try it at home. I’ve also received suggestions on how to cook new produce that I wasn’t familiar with, which is very helpful. The customer service I’ve received at our local farmer’s market is definitely high above what I receive at a large, chain grocery store.
When it comes to grocery shopping, a bulk of it is spent on animal proteins, whether it’s eggs, beef, chicken, etc. There are options out there to make the cost of protein less expensive. For example, some farms will offer their meat for sale in bulk. You can purchase a ¼ cow, which usually requires a deposit, and then when the meat is ready to be consumed, you pay for the rest. You can usually visit the farms where the animals are so you can see their living conditions first hand and make a conscious decision if that’s the farm you’d like to purchase from. If you have a large freezer, this is a great thing to keep in mind because the more you buy, the less expensive it is. And once again you are supporting your local economy by doing so. A lot of times you can also purchase chicken, pork, and eggs from the same farm.
Other ways to cut down on your grocery bill is by purchasing items in bulk like rice, beans, etc. For example, by making your own refried beans, it gives you more for your money and you know exactly what is going into your food. With refried beans in a can, they list the ingredients, which can contain added sodium, lard, and other items you may want to keep off your table.
We hope these tips help you budget out your grocery bill while still eating healthy, whole, natural foods and at the same time supporting your local economy and helping the environment.