How can I eat healthy but for a low price??? This is one of the most frequently asked questions, I believe, across the varying zones of the US – and heck, probably around the world.
The fact is, the government doesn’t subsidize kale, peas, lettuce, and fruit in this country. Instead, we’ve got GMO corn, GMO soybeans, Frankenfoods, and low-cost, high health risk, low-nutrition, high-fattening foods which are being offered as a staple to help the ‘people’ survive.
Except we don’t want to just survive. Chances are – if you’re surfing my site, you’ve learned that food is medicine, and there’s no bull-crap when it comes to your health. You’ve most likely learned that used as a medicine, food can deliver so many wonderful different types of nutrients, antioxidants, and wonderful products your body needs to function – such as fiber, water, etc…
Food can transform your life. And that’s what my site is about. (Well, okay – this blog is mostly about raw desserts, which I need to get another one out…btw).
Anyways – it’s time to thrive (not just survive) – and we need to do it through our food. How can we make that happen? 1) Shop Seasonal. Summer is here! This makes this one a happy step.
Honestly – you can eat for DOLLARS a day if you plan it out right. Think farmers markets, overstocked veggies in your grocery store, and … your own garden!!!
Here’s a chart that you can print off http://cuesa.org/sites/default/files/cuesa_seasonality_veg_chart.pdf
It shows vegetables and their peak seasons.
The great thing about summer is that fruit is abundant.
Here’s a Season Summer Breakfast Fruit Recipe:
Yield: A lot.
Prep Time: 5 Minutes
Your choice of fruit (Ex. apple ($.50), mango ($1.50))
+ Melon (watermelon (1/4 = $1.00) or cantaloupe (1/2 = $1.50) – or both!)
+ *(optional) almond milk ($.25), chia seed (1 tbsp in water = ½ Cup… $.35), raisins ($.15)… get creative!
Chop fruit into bite-size pieces – add whatever decadent additions you’d like!
This may seem like a no-brainer, but think about it – this would yield enough food to feed your entire family for a meal! We can overlook those inexpensive little additions that can transform ordinary food into an extravagant meal, too, like Chia seeds! –> (They’re a super food worth splurging on – yet they can make porridge out of anything while giving you Omega-3’s, Omega-6’s, and Omega-9’s, fiber, and more!)
The next step might shed some light how to get cheaper produce, but when it comes down to it – you’re not going to find a lean cuisine meal that has even half the vitality a mango produces. You learn to change where you look.
2) Shop Around & Local.
I learned this one through trial and error. When I still lived in South Dakota – I would go to a small non-chain grocery store to get all their marked-down produce. If it had a blemish, a soft spot, or wasn’t ‘pretty’, it would sometimes be marked down a minimum of half price. That’s a lot of produce (spotted bananas, tomatoes, etc…) that can be made into simple raw meals.
Keep your eyes peeled for the different prices. I know Top Foods has the least expensive Spinach I’ve found anywhere. Sometimes you can get 2x the spinach than a big grocery store like Wal-Mart for the same price. Asian markets have lower priced fruits sometimes (like coconuts), and again – different grocery stores carry different priced produce.
Going Organic (!) By the way – if you’re striving to eat all organic, please know that Whole Foods will NOT have the best and cheapest produce for you to buy that’s organic. Just because it’s big does not mean lower priced. Instead – check out your local health food stores and compare prices to big chain markets that advertise organic. I think you’ll be surprised, I know I was. Often times they can produce comparable prices for produce.
Not Raw – Beans, oats, and rice = CHEAPEST FREAKING staples ever. Honestly – you can do it. For pennies, you can have a base of a meal. What you need after that is as many veggies as you can get, a bit of fruit, some herbs for flavor, and greens! Read on…
3) Be willing to get frugal. Start talking. Did you know that the US produces enough food to feed EVERY SINGLE citizen right now? But so much of it is wasted! (34 MILLION tons)… Supermarkets contribute to the wasted produce by throwing so much of it away.
This is where you have to stop caring what other people think and GO TALK TO THE PRODUCE MANAGER. Often times they throw away so much produce away because they don’t think anyone will buy it. If you’ve got the guts to ask, sometimes you can walk away with Garbage bags full of lettuce, some fruits, greens, veggies… etc. with only minor spoiled spots. Guess what!? You can JUICE them, make SMOOTHIES, and/or use them with affordable plant-based staples such as rice or beans. (Read above).
Another part in this – find a local farmer’s market and go talk to the FARMER! Often times you can negotiate getting their ‘ugly’ produce (tons of greens!) for a discounted price. Ask them if there’s any produce they’d like to get rid of or are willing to give you a deal on if you help pick it (that usually works well) or buy a lot of it. They’re looking to support you – and you’re supporting so much by doing this route. (Economy, organic farming, the little farms, & your community). Plus, you know their produce is going to be WAY better than anything shipped for 2 weeks in a crate box.
4) Grow your own. Not everyone has a plot of land – and I’ve heard the complaint about the cost to till, buy seeds, etc… but your yield will be so much more than what you spent if you do it right! I’m not expert, so I’m not going to try to explain it all right now – but you can definitely grow an abundant garden (and do it in cycles so you keep getting food throughout the summer) that will sustain a large part of your produce needs.
Also, if you’re like me and you live in an apartment complex in the city, you have to go ‘new school’ by getting whatever type of containers you can find (get creative, yo!), splurging on organic soil & seeds, and going to town (pun intended) by planting a garden.
Even if you have room for a garden outside – why not try this out too! You can grow micro-greens YEAR ROUND outdoors and indoors.
This goes along with the NEXT step.
5) Sprout. Just…just sprout it out. You can’t go wrong. Seeds, in contrast to their high-vibrational, highly abundant, amazingly nutritious ending of sprouts are SOOOOO affordable and pack a punch with what you’re getting in return.
Patience, water, love, sunlight, and dedication can yield a product that is life-sustaining. If you get into a hard time, you can probably live off of sprouts, beans, and rice. Pennies… okay, maybe dimes a day, and you’ll be okay.
Read here about how to start sprouting. You can use anything – from broccoli sprouts, pea sprouts, to radish sprouts (spicy!), etc.
If you do some scouting out of your local stores, eat seasonal, grow your own veggies & fruits, start sprouting, take a chance gardening, and are willing to take what is wasted every year (being super smart), then you can cut your grocery bill tremendously down!!!
Just try ONE step. It’ll help! I recommend sprouting to start off. That’s pennies to invest in, and you’ll get a lot from that.
And you do have to remember. We are pioneers – this is a hard time when the truth about health is just starting to be recognized and honestly, it’s not the most affordable to eat super healthy – but you are investing in your health.
***It’s a LOT cheaper to eat healthy than it is to pay hundreds of thousands of medical bills, suffer through debilitating pain, be fat, be sick, live nearly dead, and lose time from your family, loved ones, and life’s purpose because you couldn’t take care of your body in this life.
It will get easier someday, I believe, when things switch around. For now, these are tips and tricks I know to lower that burdening cost.
Stand up in this revolution for healthier eating, conscious based living, and sustainable food options in this country.
And don’t forget! Spread the word about healthy eating! The more people who start demanding their food be organic, locally sourced, and healthy (not processed as possible), the more things will change in favor of the people. Get your voice heard – join a co-op, whatever it takes.
I’ve got a bunch of low-cost raw recipes coming out after this. Subscribe and share!