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Healthy Eating On A Shoestring Budget

The Argument of Affordability In Organic & “Alternative” Groceries

So, healthy eating is expensive? This shoestring budget girl doesn’t agree! One of the healthiest foods we can eat, fresh vegetables, are so often overlooked, but can make a meal plan extremely budget friendly. I am not talking about the broccoli cheese bites in the frozen foods section kind of vegetables. I am talking about raw, unprocessed, straight from the farm vegetables. I just bought a week’s worth of food for 2 for $80. $40 per person. Seriously, that’s more than your bar tab on a Friday night.

My Meal Plan:

1. sauteed vegetables over cauliflower garlic mashers
2. avocado egg salad wraps with kale chips
3. zucchini crust pizza with grass fed beef meatballs, mushroom, onion, peppers
4. grass fed beef burgers on lettuce bun with turnip jojo’s
5. chicken breast stir-fry with broccoli, mushroom, onion, red pepper, carrots, peach
6. rotini (chick pea flour alternative) with eggplant, onion, pepper & home made marinara
7. butternut squash halves with grass-fed butter & maple syrup, side salad

This also includes ingredients for the following stuff I will make too:
– avocado banana chocolate pudding
– flourless brownies
– grain-free blueberry banana bread
– fruit salad (melon, blueberry, peach. banana)
– coconut flour pancakes

I shop at our local farm market for all of the veggies and eggs, and at our regular supermarket for a few organic and alternative items to fill in. No need to find expensive, alternative grocery stores. In fact, check out your local Big Lots, Aldi, or other “budget” stores for organic items like virgin coconut oil, alternative grain pastas, grass fed meats, etc. You will be surprised what you will find! Here is what I bought this week:

Regular Grocery Store (Acme):  Total = $32.50
3/4 lb. flax meal (bulk bin): $2
Eat for Life Chocolate chunks: $6
1/2 lb coconut flour(bulk bin): $2
1 lb. grass fed beef (on sale): $6
1 box Chickpea pasta: $3.50
1 lb. Chicken breast (sale): $3.50
8 oz organic cream cheese: $2.50
8 oz grass fed butter (8 oz.): $3
1 box cocoa powder: $3

Farm Market (Shaffers):Total = $48
3lb. bag of onions: $1.50
6 red peppers (sale): $2.50
1 clove garlic: $1.50
8 oz. mushrooms: $1.70
2 lb. carrots: $1.50
1 bunch celery: $2
2 x dozen eggs: $2.60
1 bunch kale: $1.30
1 bunch leaf lettuce: $1.70
turnips: $1
2 x avocado: $4
16 0z. Ohio maple syrup: $8.30
1 honeydew melon: $2
3 peaches: $2.50
8 oz. blueberries: $3
1 small eggplant: $2
1 bag lemons: $4
1 box blueberries $3
6 bananas $2

I grew the tomatoes & basil for the sauce and the butternut squash, so you may have to add $5 or so to make up for buying that.

Yes, some of the alternative items were more expensive, but the bulk of our food – fruit & veggies – are amazingly inexpensive! Plan your meals with veggies as the main dish and there will be plenty of room in your budget for healthier, organic and alternative choices.

Organic Vs. Non-Organic

Its ok if you can’t afford all organic – I can’t either. There are some fruits and vegetables, however, that are more prone to absorbing pesticides or higher pesticide use than others. I found this article helpful in choosing which fruits and veggies I buy organic, and which are ok to buy commercial: https://www.thespruce.com/organic-fruits-and-vegetables-1665717.

What’s Missing?

You’ll notice that my shopping cart is void of all commercially packaged food. I didn’t buy the healthy ingredient list and then “fill in” the rest of my cart with chips, sauces, snacks and goodies. I just skipped them all together. No sense in taking the time to cook healthy meals if all the in between snacking is on the stuff I am trying to avoid. There is plenty left over from my list to snack on celery, carrot sticks, peppers, fruit, etc. Don’t start with the “I don’t know how to cook that fancy stuff”, either. I am a rank amateur and choose only the SIMPLEST of recipes! I will be sharing a few from this meal plan along with some easy healthy cooking tips next week!

As you can see, the cost of healthy eating is not to your wallet, but only to your grocery shopping and meal planning habits. It IS possible to eat healthy, alternative options like grain-free or organic on a shoestring budget – I am living proof!

 

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