Google+ Authentic Parenting: 15 Tips for Feeding Your Family a Whole Food Diet on a Tight Budget

Friday, April 18, 2014

15 Tips for Feeding Your Family a Whole Food Diet on a Tight Budget

Eating organic, whole foods is expensive... Who can keep it up? Especially if you're on a particularly
tight budget, is there a way to eat healthy every day?
Whole foods can come in a very varied price range, and with a couple of considerations, most of us can make it work. I hope the tips below are helpful to set you and your family on their way o eating nutritious meals and enjoying radiant health.
  1. Make your own yoghurt. Making yoghurt is quite simple, stacked with probiotics and cheap. You can get a machine that keeps temperature stable or just make it in a bowl.
  2. Go to your local farmer's market, they will offer you in season produce, straight from the land, which is as fresh as it gets, and there's nobody in between, so dirt cheap (Pun intended! There's often slightly more dirt to wash off than store bought).
  3. Buy food in season. In season, local food, is not only healthier and more environmentally friendly, it's also cheaper than your exotic store bought variety.
  4. Cultivate some food yourself. You can plant some perennials if you dislike the idea of a vegetable patch, grow sprouts if you're living on an apartment or start a full blown vegetable patch, depending on your time and the effort you want to put in. Even if you're not a green thumb, some plants will do just fine on their own. Just make sure that they're adapted to the conditions and the soil available. I strongly believe that anyone can grow/cultivate something, you just have to find the plant that suits you.
  5. Join a vegetable gardening club, they have the scoop on where to find cheap seeds, saplings and more. Often they divide their crop if they have too much of one thing. They generally offer lectures and lessons too.
  6. Establish a relationship with your butcher. If you're a steady client at a specific place, you'll get the scoop on offcuts etc. I get my bones for free at my butcher's, I use them for soup and often there's still quite some scrapings of meat.
  7. Buy cheap cuts of meat. Bone cuts and unpopular cuts are generally healthier, more tasty and quite a lot cheaper than prime steak. 
  8. Get to know a hunter. In many places, in order to keep certain populations in keep, hunters have to hunt, but don't know what to do with all the meat. They'll happily sell for cheap or even just give you parts.
  9. Cook from scratch. Yep, we're already talking whole foods here, so cooking from scratch is really a must. But even whole foods prepared items are much more expensive than the versions you can make at home.
  10. Buy bulk. Buying in bigger quantities will make your shopping cheaper. SO if you routinely use a product, then buy plenty all at once. If you're buying fresh foods in bulk, set aside a day for cooking and preserving. If you don't know what to do with huge quantities of food, then buy with some friends.
  11. Don't go for fad foods. Every other week, there's a new superfood, each one from a more exotic place than the other. Yet there are plenty of superfoods right where you are, use them instead! Most of them are being discarded as weeds!
  12. Which brings me to the next point: foraging!! You can find so much awesome nutrient dense food for free! You don't need to be a green thumb to cultivate dandelions or nettle, they just show up on their own. Maybe you can find some elderberry or rosehip where you are? Or wild blackberries and herbs. Give it a try, but only pick what you're 100% sure of. If you don't feel confident, ask around to find someone who knows and can show you what to look for. 
  13. Don't be afraid to ask. Something I've learned from a friend and an awesome lesson this was. She will just ask for old bread at the bakery, or cold cut offcuts at the butcher. Most of the time she just gets them for free. We were once at a fair and got to a cheese tasting stand. All the crusts were cut and put into a giant bag. She asked the lady what they did with the crusts. They just tossed them. She took the whole big bag home, sifted through and found at least four pounds of perfect, crustless cheese!!!
  14. Keep an eye on promotions. Buy in quantity and freeze when there's a really good promotion. 
  15. Compare prices between shops, there can be a very big variation for what is basically the same product. There are apps that can keep record of the product you buy often in different stores. 
If you're on a really tight budget, there will be choices to make. It may not always be possible to buy organic. Yet if you study the clean fifteen, you can make sure you still get good quality food. If there's no money to go around for healthy food at the end of the month, try to see if you can make some cuts in  another department - less driving for example.
If there is nowhere to make cuts in your budget, then breathe, take it easy and try again when you can. Remember that foraging, growing and asking are basically free.

photo credit: sea turtle via photopin cc



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