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Shoestring Meals Budget friendly ideas for healthy eating

Why Is Healthier Food, Also More Expensive Food?

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Old 05-13-2014, 04:22 PM   #61
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It is possible to eat quality food at a reasonable price if you change your buying habits. I will use France as an exemple, they buy food that is in season and is locally grown. For them to eat strawberries in january is a total foreign concept. Transportation is a large chunk of food price.

I adhere to this principle as much as possible, the food is of higher quality and also encouraging the local economy. I use the service of a local farm that prepare baskets of fruits and vegetable that are in season and they deliver to a store near my home where I can pick it up once a week. 3 days prior to delivery I can review the basket and prepare my meal plan according to the content therefor not wasting produce. Whatever is left from the previous week goes into the soup pot.

We also eat lots of grain and beans instead of meat. I cook lots of middle eastern recipes, like hommos, foul, taboule, vegetable couscous, loubie, koussa a great site to find the recipes is dedemed.com.

I do not buy chicken that is cut in pieces but whole chicken, I can then make soup out of the carcass.

I do not buy cereals like raisin bran, but instead old fashion oatmeal.

Yogourt I buy it plain in large container and add different ingredients to make it sweet or savory.

Cookies, bars, etc I just do not buy, first they are expensive and way to processed to bring me anything positive. i will snack of carrot stick and make my own dip using the plain yogourt and spices it is a lot cheaper than dips.

For juices well again I dont buy, might as well take water and put a few spoons of sugar in it since it is mostly what you get. Good old free water from the tap for me.

As far as processed food.....I consumed way to much of it last year and that is the reason why I am back here with 20 more pounds to loose.
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Old 03-25-2015, 02:39 PM   #62
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It definitely sucks that healthy food is more expensive then non-healthy food.
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Old 03-25-2015, 03:19 PM   #63
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washing and reusing plastic bags

^^^^^^^

We do this but we dont use the ones that have had meat in them though.
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Old 03-30-2015, 05:09 PM   #64
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I'm quite privileged in the regard that I buy the food I want and rarely even look at the price tag. I penny pinch in other places to allow myself to do so, but I know that my grocery budget would make many jaws drop.

But I had an eye-opening experience a few years back where a miscalculation forced me to strictly budget for a week and I was blown away at how hard it was to buy fresh yet appetizing foods for one person for a week with only $40 (I lived in NYC at the time, where everything costs more. That's probably about $25-30 for people who live in normal places.) I knew intellectually that feeding a family on a budget is a challenge, but I came with major respect for the people who deal with that challenge on a daily basis and very worried about society as a whole that working families are having to cope with this.

Also, I wouldn't last long in a zombie apocalypse. The indigestion from the canned food would slow me down and I'd be lunch. I have no idea why I'm such a delicate flower.
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Old 03-30-2015, 06:33 PM   #65
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I spend tons on healthy food and most of that Violette R is canned! My most expensive runs at $14 a can (razor clams). The most expensive I could buy (but don't) is $64 a can and there is, of course, caviar beyond that.

That being said, healthy food is expensive for a number of reasons.

First, protein is expensive, especially animal-based, and to be healthy you need to be getting enough of this.

Secondly, bulk, corn-fed animal protein is cheaper because the corn is subsidized which implies that smaller production, grass-fed organics which are healthier are more expensive.

Thirdly, organic dairy and vegetables are more expensive because of the lower yields.

Note that lower calorie does not mean healthier. It's perfectly possible to lose weight on a dime yet eat like sh!t.

If you want the skinny-fat guy look that is...aka gaunt.

In fact I lost most of my weight on $3 salads. Which was great until I said goodbye to my muscle too. And then tried to exercise.

Fail.

That is when I started to eat a lot more and a lot more healthier. $$$
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Old 03-30-2015, 08:54 PM   #66
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This is something I'm starting to worry about.
Right now, I'm fine. I'm a college student who works usually around 15 hours a week. One of my two jobs is working as a prep cook in the kitchen, so this means I get free breakfast and lunch on the weekends, along with any leftovers I want to take home when there's something good (tofu scrambles, rice and bean dishes, veggie stir-fries), so I save a decent amount from this. I also am close with a lot of the kitchen staff, so I can pretty much get onions, peppers, salad greens, etc. whenever I want (I don't like abusing this ability though).
I have a small meal plan for 7 meals a week, which usually means I get lunch in the dining hall during the week days and dinner on the weekends. I also can get free breakfast every week day since the meal-checkers are really relaxed.

I've definitely been taking this for granted.
This summer, I'll be interning with a biologist and received a grant which basically pays me minimum wage. I get it in chunks after writing up reports updating the administration on my progress during my internship. A little bit more than a third of the money will go to rent and bills. The rest I need to ration on groceries, bus fare, train tickets to visit my family, rabbit supplies for the bun, and art supplies. It's going to be tough, but I definitely plan on going to the farmer's market as often as I can, maybe joining a CSA?
The past two summers, I also worked on my school's small farm, so I'm used to getting produce for free during the summer months. I'm still working through the garlic harvest! I've been so spoiled!

The grocer a town over from me has a sale rack in the back where they sell food that is about to go bad. I managed to get a pound of grapes for only 80 cents and 5 bananas for 30 cents the other day!

Potatoes are also a great way to get a nutrition-packed veggie for cheap. Obviously, there not great to eat every meal or even every day, and should be steamed, but it helps stretch the budget.

Foraging is also great if you live in a place where you can. Dandelions, clover, and plantain are all edible, nutritious, and free. If you can't spend the $4 on a bunch of kale, it's a nice way to add some dense-nutritional greens to other dishes (but wild dandelion can get pretty bitter, so it takes some force to chew it down). They should also be washed really well and shouldn't be picked if there growing near a road.

Buying in bulk always helps. I'm planning on stocking up on oats, rice, pasta, dried beans, lentils, and couscous before I move at the end of the semester.

And if there's ever something healthy on sale, buy a ton! You can always freeze berries, steam veggies to then freeze, or make a lot of a meal and store it in serving-size containers in the freezer so you have ready-made meals from on-sale groceries or things that were going bad.

I don't eat animal products, so that makes my expenses a little bit cheaper (especially since I would never eat industrially raised animal products for a variety of reasons). Cutting down on meat consumption will cut down on money. Beans are cheaper and can help stretch dollars

I hope this helps!

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Old 04-01-2015, 11:22 AM   #67
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IanG View Post
I spend tons on healthy food and most of that Violette R is canned!
Hence my comment about being a delicate flower. I know canned food can be nutritious, but it has a flavor that disagrees with my bourgeois palate and offends my upper middle class digestive system. (I'm making fun of myself, in case it's not obvious.) It's possible it's all in my head but I just really prefer fresh foods. I'd save a lot of money if I weren't so fancy.
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