eating well on a tight budget
|Dec 11, 2010 11:18am||
Hello, I am wondering if anyone has tips on how to eat nutritious foods on a very low budget. I am often discouraged when I go grocery shopping. There seem to be very few options for those of us who can’t afford organics or supplements or the fresh produce everyone raves about. I know only a little about nutrition, so it’s hard for me to build balanced meals. Are there any resources you can point me to, or ideas you have tried to deal with this? If it helps, I am feeding two adults who haven’t much time to cook due to work schedules and commutes… Thanks!
|Dec 11, 2010 12:14pm||
Skip the supplements. Most are useless, and the ones that help can often be replaced just by eating right.
If you can’t afford organics, then skip them. Don’t feel bad about it. Focus on eating whole foods and skipping the processed food (which will help the budget anyway). If it comes in a package, you probably want to avoid it. You do want to eat lean meats (if you are not vegetarian), whole grains, a few servings of fruit or veg every day. Avoid sugar and refined grains, like white flour
You can save time and money by cooking things in large batches, then refrigerating or freezing the extra portions. Things are often cheaper when you buy them in bulk – (think family packs of meat, or a case of canned corn. Ground beef is always cheap, especially when you buy a larger package. Same for chicken thighs, which are almost as lean as breasts but way cheaper.
For example, When I make dinner, I often make enough for two nights, and we’ll eat the second half a day or two later. I often make a big pot of something like chili, or a chicken curry, or cabbage rolls, then my husband and I will take some to work for lunch all week. Or I’ll freeze half to eat in a later week.
If you aren’t sure what kind of food is good, think,to what kind of food your grandparents ate when you were a kid. That’s a pretty good idea of what you want to do.
|Dec 11, 2010 12:20pm||
Thanks for the advice! I will keep it in mind when I go shopping this week!
|Dec 11, 2010 1:18pm||
One more thing: when you are buying food, remember that the more work the store or manufacturer did for you, the more they charge.
So if you are buying chicken, its cheaper to buy bone-in or skin-on. You can always remove the skin yourself if you don’t want it. If buying veggies, don’t get the pre-cut in a nice package versions, whether fresh or frozen. It may take you a few minutes to peel and cut, but those few minutes may mean you can buy more of it.
|Dec 11, 2010 2:19pm||
Another good way to include protein is with eggs. They’re also a quick meal, takes 5 minutes to make an omelet, saute vegies first to go into it. I find eggs on sale all the time at the store. /also, you can wrap up virtually anything in a tortilla, another quick and healthy meal. I also cook extra portions of things like chicken or soup or chili and freeze some for later.
|Dec 12, 2010 9:49am||
1. I agree with dianebl about the supplements unreservedly. There is good evidence that taking supplements will give you little more than expensive pee, that your body simply doesn’t absorb nutrients when delivered that way. There are certain specialty supplements like glucosamine and creatine that are exceptions but, again, they are specialty.
2. Dry beans.
3. Frozen berries.
4. In season produce is always the cheapest produce. If it is in season locally, even better. Charts for your area:
5. .traillee is right. Eggs are cheap and very nutritious. The yolks are really good for you, as well. Only stick to whites if it’s a calorie issue.
6. About the bone-in, skin on chicken dianebl recommended…learn to roast a whole chicken. You will not regret it. You can do two at a time and have two roast chicken dinners, lots of chicken sandwiches later and then chicken soup with the carcasses. A well roasted chicken is a gift that keeps on giving.
|Dec 12, 2010 2:17pm||
Thanks to everyone for the good advice. We are going grocery shopping tonight and I have made a list based on your suggestions!