How to Eat Healthy on a Tight Budget
Updated: Feb 12
It's no surprise, eating healthy has a price. If you are not prepared to buy cheap and unhealthy stuff but if the bank accountant or the head of your family thinks you have to spend less money on food, you need to make some changes. While in France, the average family spends around 1000 euro on food per month , the average American household spends only about 10% of its total budget on food ( $550 ) .
10 Strategies to Eat Well on a Tight Budget
1. Shopping for veggies and fruit Everyone knows that veggies and fruit are good for you. And if you already skip your morning toast for a bowl of fruit or an avocado, you are heading in the good direction. But quality matters as well. There is no point of eating an apple out of season as the apple lost most of the vitamins since it was picked from a tree. The main goal should be eating seasonally. A good tip: Print out the calendar of seasonal fruit and veggies and post it on the fridge. Maybe you have already heard about the Dirty Dozen. These are the fruits and veggies with the most pesticides. I guess it will upset you to hear that apples, the only fruit some people EVER eat, have the most pesticides.
You should always buy the fruits and veggies from the dirty dozen in organic quality. The fruits and veggies with the least pesticides, so called the Clean 15 - it`s ok to buy these fruits and veggies in a conventional shop and spend less. 2. Shopping for meat: A tricky one. As a 80 % paleo dieter, I buy organic meat but it doesn't have to be much more expensive than buying non organic. A perfect example is bone broth. In many societies, it was an old custom having a simmering bone broth on a stove. Bone broth is now IN FASHION again and New Yorker's cafes are selling bone broth instead of cup of coffee. Plus, it`s cheap! Instead of 48h simmering you can use a pressure cooker and you have your bone broth in less then 4 hours. The uses of bone broth are endless - use it for risotto, soup, sauce, the list goes on and on.
3. If you still eat bread, bake your own! Have you ever read the list of ingredients on your bread? Maybe you buy it directly at the bakery and you get buy one get one free discount? And maybe you wonder why on earth you are not losing weight even if you do cardio 3 times a week? Baker`s yeast is problematic for many people not to mention the white flour. If you are sure you cannot live without bread, start baking your own from sourdough. Check out the category Sourdough baking on my blog. 4. Shopping for dairy
If you still eat yogurts, make your own. The yogurt maker is inexpensive and can be purchased on the internet. We use this one. 5. Don`t buy drinks
Yes, that means no fizzy drinks nor sweetened beverages, they are not good for you anyway. It also means drinking water from the tap. Buy a filtration device and you have fresh water without harmful substances. By buying bottled water you just create waste. If you don`t like the taste of plain water, add few drops of lemon. You can also make you own drinks as for example Kombucha or Elderflower syrup. 6. Don`t eat out
Having four kids it came as a necessity, but when we found out that all the restaurants in our area (in France!!!) are not worth a penny and we can prepare much healthier dinners at home, we stopped eating out. There is one decent restaurant where we go on a date with my husband when we have a babysitter but otherwise, it`s just not worth it. And YES, it means that you have to learn to cook. As every nutritionist will tell you: 'you are what you eat', so you should make the sacrifice and start cooking from scratch. If it`s not the food but the joy of eating out, pack your dinner to a pick-nick basket and go to a park/your garden, a field. Organize cooking parties. Invite friends and learn to cook something new. If you drink coffee, invest in a good coffee machine and you don`t have to spend money on overpriced coffee that tastes like socks (and now you probably guessed we live in France). 7. Don`t pay for packaging.
Bring you own container to buy e.g.almond flour, nuts, grains. 8.and 9. Plant and forage your food.
Planting seeds is very easy and cheap. All you have to have is a small space, even on a balcony, where you plant your own tomatoes, strawberries or peas. We mainly planted berries last year as they are too expensive in shops and we eat a huge amount of them. Forage for wild edibles, nuts, etc.
10.Plan the menu for the week ahead and don`t throw out food. Older bread can be turned into egg bread (soak the bread in egg and fry on a pan) or used in meatballs, overripe bananas for banana cake, overripe avocado for chocolate avocado mousse. Remember, good food is primal health care.