Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Eating Healthy & Organic on a Budget

 Since Josh and I have been eating healthier we had to change our shopping habits.  At first the thought of spending more money made me nervous but as time went on we realized we actually decreased our spending amount.  Spending less money on processed snacks and eating more simply has made a difference, but I also wanted to share some tips that we have learned from trial and error and some tips we have learned from the web and put into action ourselves.

1. Buy organic chicken whole.  I rarely just buy the breasts anymore.  I buy the whole chicken, which is much, much cheaper.  I usually boil it or slow roast it in the oven then get every piece of meat I can off that little chicken.  Then I use it for meals throughout the week.  It's great for casseroles, soups, stews, salads, quick stir fries, you name it.  The possibilities are endless.  Then I just keep a couple breasts and thighs handy for when raw meat is really necessary.

2.  We rarely buy beef. We have cut down on our beef consumption and it has saved us a boat load of money.  We have steaks once a month.  I also buy the organic ground bison from Costco.  It has three convenient packages of 1lb of meat each.  That lasts us the whole month. Ground Turkey is another great option.

3.  Eat at least 2-3 vegetarian meals a week.  Beans and rice, whole wheat pasta dishes, even stir fries can be done without meat. Beans are a great option because they are cheap, healthy, and filling.  A bean and veggie soup can be very yummy.

3.  I buy fruit that is on sale.  If I can't find quality organic fruit or we are a little tight that week, I buy regular fruit on sale and use the fruit & vegetable wash pictured above.  It gets rid of the majority of pesticides, at least on the outside.  It also helps remove that wax coating on fruits like apples and grapes. 

4.  Don't go down the aisles!  Shop around the outside of the store.  That is where your main necessities are.  We usually buy two snack items. A box of crackers and a bag of as healthy of chips as we can find (usually rice chips), but Josh does love those Tim's Cascade Potato Chips.  We read the ingredients and if we can't pronounce them all, we put it back.  Our usual snacks are hard boiled eggs, dried fruit, fruit, veggies, and hummus and pita bread.  We try to stick to the basics.

5. Don't forget those leftovers!  Leftovers can be great lunches or transformed into something else to make another delicious dinner.

6.  Go local.  We found a farm where we can pick our own fresh produce and it is much cheaper than the grocery store.  It is work to get out there and pick the items, but it's worth it.  If you can't do that, check out a local farmer's market.  They are getting pretty popular and my guess is you should be able to find one close to where you are. Another option is finding a local company or farm who distributes CSA (community supported agriculture) boxes.  Which are boxes of mostly local seasonal produce.  You can plan your meals around what comes in the box.  This is great for those of you who don't have time to frequently shop for fresh produce.

7.  Frozen veggies are another good option.  They pack just as many nutrients and you can get more bang for your buck.

8.  Last, but not least...buy your pantry items in bulk.  If you can't afford a Costco membership check out the Cash & Carry stores or URM.

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