100 lb. Club - For those who think they can't afford healthy food




Iheartsushi418
02-22-2013, 09:44 AM
One thing I see a lot of people get caught up on is the price of health food. Yes, eating organic can get expensive, and it's the best, but you can still eat healthy for the same price of, if not less than fast food. I thought a thread where we share our money saving tips would be a great service to everyone, so please contribute any tips and tricks you may have below.

My tip:

Kraft foods website has something called "1 bag, 5 dinners". If you go to the kraft website and hoover your mouse over recipes, you will see the title in the drop down menu. Once there you will see an option for healthy recipes, but honestly, any of the options are better than fast food. Not only will it give you a menu for 5 days, but you have the option of printing out a shopping list and recipes. Be careful however, at the bottom of the shopping list is a list of things they assume you already have in your pantry (such as spices). The cost is usually really low. I did this once and the cost of everything on the shopping list (including a few other things I needed to pick up while I was there) came to about $50.

I will add, the recipes use a lot of Kraft items, so some of the stuff is processed, but it is still better than fast food, and it will teach you through example how to go about meal planning on a budget.


berryblondeboys
02-22-2013, 10:17 AM
And it depends on what foods you decide to eat.

Frozen veggies (generics) are quite reasonably priced. Same with frozen fruit for yogurt smoothies.

Speaking of yogurt, you can make a gallon of ORGANIC yogurt for the price of the milk (and one container of yogurt for your starter for the very first batch), That reduces the cost by 75% and tastes as good and it's easy to make.

Make your own bread (if you eat grains - I don't). A loaf of ingredients costs about 25 cents to a dollar depending on what kind you make.

Buy meat when it's on sale. Buy it in bulk and then divvy it up in proper portions to use for later.

Join a CSA or got to farmer's markets (if they are cheaper - that is very location dependent).

Make beans instead of buying canned beans. Chop your own veggies versus buying precut and washed veggies, etc.

TONS of ways to save money if you want to and still eating high quality food.

ChickieBoom
02-22-2013, 10:24 AM
I started eating clean and found that I was going to the grocery store every couple of days. It was really starting to get expensive so I made two big changes.

1. I signed up for the Safeway Just 4 U campaign. This campaign is AWESOME! They basically track your frequent purchases and give you savings for the things that you buy all the time. You just have to sign up and go to their website (or mobile app) to load the savings onto your club member card. They have a ton of savings for the healthy foods that I buy. ex. I'm completely obsessed with Fage Greek yogurt and the individual containers are usually $1.79...I'll get them 10 for $10 with Just 4 U savings. That's not all the time but pretty often.

2. I do the bulk of my shopping at Costco. I've had a Costco membership for ages (my parents have kept me on their account so I don't even have to pay for my membership). I buy my meats and fruits and vegetables from them. The meat I can freeze and I usually go to Costco once a week to replace my salad fixings and fruits.

I'm single with no children so I spend an average of $70/week for food (that's breakfast, lunch and dinner every day).


ichoose2believe
02-22-2013, 10:33 AM
I agree. A big thing I have learned eat seasonal. It saves a lot of money. Summer fruits are coming into season so the price is starting to drop where I live so there are more and more sales. So I buy whats on sale and when I know the season is starting to end I try to stock up and freeze/can what I can to have when its out of season.
Try new things. Go to a farmers market or local store and try something new that is inexpensive. Ask the person how to cook it if you are unsure.

summerkate83
02-22-2013, 10:33 AM
I've been trying a variety of things to save money on food (I'm newly married and still in school so I've felt the pressure to really try to budget!) 1. Some grocery stores post coupons online that you can load to your card, 2. I've tried dented can food stores where stuff is REALLY cheap simply because there is a dent in the can.
3. Generic grocery stores and dollar stores and both good options.
4. But the number one thing that has helped me save money lately is to really think through what I am buying and whether we will eat it. I'm totally a bargain shopper and I've recently realized that our cupboards are STOCKED with things that I've bought simply because I found a great deal. And then I look in the cabinets and don't see anything I really want to eat and I'm tempted to get fast food. I'm trying to use what we have in recipes or dinners and only buy things that we will actually eat within that week or at least that month.

Iheartsushi418
02-22-2013, 10:47 AM
Most grocery stores post their sales online, so you can comparison shop. Also, they do a lot of mark downs on Wednesdays when their new sales come out. They will sometimes mark down meat and produce. I always check the mark down section, especially for meat. Produce, I come home and wash and freeze. I like to freeze things on a cookie sheet and then put into baggies for smoothies.

Daimere
02-22-2013, 10:51 AM
Make beans instead of buying canned beans.

I tried to make beans once (instead of can) and they didn't turn out right. Did I do it wrong?

berryblondeboys
02-22-2013, 10:59 AM
I tried to make beans once (instead of can) and they didn't turn out right. Did I do it wrong?

Well, in what way did they not turn out right?

Daimere
02-22-2013, 11:08 AM
Well, in what way did they not turn out right?

Like hard? They didn't taste right or done. I tried this a year ago and when that failed, I gave up on that and went back to cans. When I make chili, I use a lot of beans (3-4 cans). If i could use bags instead of cans, I could save a lot, I think!

berryblondeboys
02-22-2013, 11:14 AM
This is what I do. I first do the quick soak. I sort the beans (to make sure there are no stones- pick out the bad ones (shriveled). Then I put them in the recommended amount of water (as stated on all packages). I bring that to a boil for 2 minutes, turn off the heat, cover for an hour.

Then drain. Now they are ready to cook. HOWEVER, they will still take 3-4 hours to cook (depending on the bean). So, if you are used to chili taking an hour or less, you will probably want to cook your beans by themselves first or cook slowly with the meats, tomatoes, etc, watery at first and they slowly cooking it down. The chili is done when the beans are no longer firm.

If you are used to just working with soft beans, then premake your beans and freeze them to use later. Like make a couple batches and then you can just add them as you need them to chili - just like opening up a can.

mnemosyne
02-22-2013, 11:24 AM
This is what I do. I first do the quick soak. I sort the beans (to make sure there are no stones- pick out the bad ones (shriveled). Then I put them in the recommended amount of water (as stated on all packages). I bring that to a boil for 2 minutes, turn off the heat, cover for an hour.

Then drain. Now they are ready to cook. HOWEVER, they will still take 3-4 hours to cook (depending on the bean). So, if you are used to chili taking an hour or less, you will probably want to cook your beans by themselves first or cook slowly with the meats, tomatoes, etc, watery at first and they slowly cooking it down. The chili is done when the beans are no longer firm.

This is great advice! I usually do the overnight soak method, though - wash and sort the night before, cover the beans in water and let them soak overnight. Drain the first and then cook as berryblondeboys suggests. Like she says, I ALWAYS cook them by themselves before using them in recipes, cook them through. Also, I do not salt or season them early in the recipe.

I really like this recipe (http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Kemps-Black-Beans-238086) for flavorful black beans, though I use a bit less olive oil and soak overnight first. After making them I divide at least in half, and use half for soup and half for something else.

Once you get used to cooking dried beans, you may enjoy it! Oh, and SOMETIMES the beans can feel hard if you salt them too early in the cooking process. I would wait to salt until 20 minutes before they are done, usually.

Also, if there are any ethnic groceries near you, check them out. They may have other varieties of beans.

And lentils of all sorts and split peas are great and do not require pre-soaking on that boil/soak method.

berryblondeboys
02-22-2013, 11:28 AM
This is great advice! I usually do the overnight soak method, though - wash and sort the night before, cover the beans in water and let them soak overnight. Drain the first and then cook as berryblondeboys suggests. Like she says, I ALWAYS cook them by themselves before using them in recipes, cook them through. Also, I do not salt or season them early in the recipe.

I really like this recipe (http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Kemps-Black-Beans-238086) for flavorful black beans, though I use a bit less olive oil and soak overnight first. After making them I divide at least in half, and use half for soup and half for something else.

Once you get used to cooking dried beans, you may enjoy it! Oh, and SOMETIMES the beans can feel hard if you salt them too early in the cooking process. I would wait to salt until 20 minutes before they are done, usually.

Also, if there are any ethnic groceries near you, check them out. They may have other varieties of beans.

And lentils of all sorts and split peas are great and do not require pre-soaking on that boil/soak method.


Yep... more good info.

sassyangies
02-22-2013, 11:39 AM
My bean recipe is this: I make a batch once a week it's for pinto beans.
Sort out however many beans your making. Take out the bad ones, the stones, and anything that doesn't look appealing.I take out the split ones too. Rinse them in cold water. Put them in a crock pot, but make sure there is at least 4 to 5 inches of water above the beans because they exand. I only put a few garlic cloves in there and maybe some onion. No salt until the end. I will let them cook all day or all night 6 or so hours. I test them to see if there done then add salt to taste.


My tips for saving money on produce.. I don't have many, but some. Walmart has huge bags of veggies frozen that are only 5 dollars. They have 4 or five different varieties. Just broccoli, broccoli carrots and cauliflower, they have stir fry one and some others. I will buy 1 or two of those at a time and they will last me a couple of months. Then I supplement other stuff thats in season. I am always buying squash of some sort. Here in AZ some of the squash is so big so they cut it down and rap it in smaller sections. Each section is only a dollar or so and that will last me a few days. And I eat what's in season. When the freeze happened and all our zuchinni and lettuce went up to crazy amounts I didn't eat that for awhile. I still don't eat zuchinni because it's 2.50 a pound witch is expensive for here.
I buy meat only when it's on sale so we have meatless days all the time which is fine with us. Albertsons always has there buy 1 get 2 free on meats. You don'thave to buy the huge packs. If you go to the butcher countner you can get individual ones too for that price.

It's hard, but doable.

April Snow
02-22-2013, 11:45 AM
I find that with buying almost no processed food (at least for me, I do get cereals and other things for my son), my grocery bill ends up being about the same. I get some stuff at Costco - like the big tubs of Fage, salmon burgers, turkey burgers, eggs. For other meat, I buy on sale and freeze. I buy most of my produce at Sprouts, and get what's on sale.

Thinforme
02-22-2013, 11:56 AM
I'm a lover of buying in bulk mostly and anything on sale and I always try to comparison shop before hand and I personally find making a list and meal plan for the week helpful just hit the meat sales first so you can change it up if they have a good sale on something.

Iheartsushi418
02-22-2013, 12:10 PM
I also rarely throw away food. For leftovers, I will either try to find a way to use it (low sodium stock + leftover veggies + shredded chicken + spices = soup) or I will freeze it if it is enough for one serving. I also keep all the small servings in a plastic shoe box in my freezer so that it doesn't get lost. It makes for a great and easy dinner. This is especially useful for me because even though my whole family is eating healthier now, I do let the hubs and son have a "junk" night, and I eat from the frozen leftovers.

berryblondeboys
02-22-2013, 12:15 PM
I also rarely throw away food. For leftovers, I will either try to find a way to use it (low sodium stock + leftover veggies + shredded chicken + spices = soup) or I will freeze it if it is enough for one serving. I also keep all the small servings in a plastic shoe box in my freezer so that it doesn't get lost. It makes for a great and easy dinner. This is especially useful for me because even though my whole family is eating healthier now, I do let the hubs and son have a "junk" night, and I eat from the frozen leftovers.

Yes, I never throw anything away either. I find ways to use it and usually in very yummy ways.

OH... and I make my own soups. never canned.

And I make my own chicken stock and other broths... Stuff like that. I even make my own deli meats - better, cheaper and not full of sodium.

rodeogirl
02-22-2013, 12:17 PM
My tip: Shop at non-white grocery stores for produce.

There is a store near my old house called Hong Kong Market. They have every kind of ingredient you could ever want for Thai, Chinese, or Korean cooking. They sell cooking instruments really inexpensively (love my wok from there).

But best of all they had by FAR the best deals on an extremely wide variety of produce.

rodeogirl
02-22-2013, 12:47 PM
I still don't eat zuchinni because it's 2.50 a pound witch is expensive for here.

This made me think of another tip. It struck me that I've never paid for zuchinni because here in the Seattle area you can't give zuchinni away - there's always an enormous surplus when they're in season.

So put the word out to co-workers, people at church, etc. that you'd like to buy homegrown produce.

Most people around here will bring apples by the bag to give away from trees in the backyard, etc. if they know you are interested or even willing to pay you may get a lot of cheap/free homegrown produce.

Iheartsushi418
02-22-2013, 01:37 PM
I agree Rodeogirl, here in SC, almost everyone grows a small garden of some sort and are happy to share the extras. Zuchinni always makes a LOT. It's also easy to grow your own produce in containers. Greens like kale, spinach, mustard etc. need only a flower pot to grow as much as you like. Now that we are in our new house, I can't wait to grow some things....especially tomatoes!

Pink Hurricane
02-22-2013, 03:36 PM
My biggest savers recently has been comparison shopping online first to see which store is having the best overall sale for the stuff you need to buy, and couponing has helped on top of great sales! Frozen produce tends to run a little cheaper than fresh, and buying any meat you use a lot of (for me it's chicken and sometimes lean ground beef) and freeze it! I have started to use smaller and smaller amounts of meat in each dish for my husband and I, and keep frozen what I will not use for a particular dish, and that has saved us quite a bit of money as well!

XLMuffnTop
02-22-2013, 03:49 PM
I'm pretty limited on time lately so cost has taken a back seat to convenience. Therefore, I've been buying way too many single serve yogurt cups. Some are as expensive at $1.50 each.

This weekend, i'm going to try making my own yogurt then if that's successful I'll move on to soft cheeses like ricotta, cottage and marscapone.