Eating Clean Without Breaking The Bank
One of the big concerns when people consider eating clean or eating healthier is cost. Grocery prices have gone up significantly in the past few years, especially for fresh fruit and vegetables.
Find your local farmers market and scout out farm stores in the area. They are a great source of local produce, diary, and eggs and even meat. My sister buys half-a-cow, pre-cut and packaged in butcher’s paper as roasts, ground beef and ribs. She keeps it frozen in a small chest-freezer (labelled with the purchase date).
CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) boxes are another great source of local produce. You buy a share of a farmerís produce for the year and end up with a box of assorted fruits and vegetables throughout the growing season. Go to http://www.localharvest.org/csa/ to learn more and find farms in your area that participate. A quick search showed up with 5 near my town, and there are often central drop-points at local churches or libraries.
Since these items don’t need to be trucked in from across the country (or overseas), you’re getting fresh, high quality food at a decent price, and supporting the local economy.
Eat In Season
Eat the food that’s in season any given month. Again, it will be cheaper, both in the grocery store and at the farmer’s market, but also be fresher. Plus there are additional benefits to eating in season. The food tastes better since it is picked in its prime season and itís better for the environment when food doesn’t have to be picked early and shipped across the country.
More southern climbs have a longer growing season but in Ontario, we have the most selection between June and September but with greenhouses and root vegetables there are more choices than the weather allows. Go to https://www.ontario.ca/foodland/page/availability-guide to learn more and find out what’s fresh in any given month.
Make It From Scratch
Many of us have lost the art of making things from scratch in the past few decades. We spend our hard earned money on a carton of sodium free, organic chicken broth instead of boiling up the bones from the chicken we had for dinner last night and making our own.
I highly recommend learning to cook food from scratch. Soak and cook your own beans, make soups and stews and bone broth. In 2017, add to your goals to learn to make one new homemade thing each week. Try your hand at homemade salsa or guacamole. Not only will you save money, you also get full control over the ingredients and the amount of sodium.
Grow Your Own
Turn part of your yard into your own personal grocery store. It is very easy to grow your own tomatoes and cucumbers. Give it a try. You can even do this in containers on your patio if you don’t have much of a yard, or better yet grow lettuce and herbs indoors all year round. As an added bonus you get outside and learn a lot more about where you food comes from and what it takes to grow healthy fruits and vegetables that are good for our bodies.
Growing your own produce is also possible in an apartment. Grow some herbs and make a growing salad bowl. It’s easy to get started with seeds. You can grow these greens in a pot or mason jar in the kitchen window and enjoy a nice bowl of fresh salad every few days.
Buy In Bulk
Last but not least, let’s talk about buying in bulk. You can purchase staple foods like rice, dried beans and lentils (or split peas) in bulk. See what your local grocery store has to offer, or if you can get better prices online. Just be sure to factor in the cost of shipping through online sites. I go to stores like Costco to buy larger bags of hemp hearts and chia seeds (which I keep in the fridge once opened), and steel cut oats. The only foods to be mindful of are raw nuts and seeds, which can go rancid quickly.
Buying these items in bulk will save you quite a few dollars on your food budget and it makes weekly grocery trips easier since those things are already crossed off the list.
Don’t let budget constraints keep you from eating healthier.
Not only is it very doable to incorporate healthy foods on a limited budget but you’ll be able to model this lifestyle for others in your family and potentially save down the road in avoided health care costs.