Friday, October 9, 2009

Healthy Eating on a Budget, pt 2

It's hard to eat healthy and serve the family healthy meals. Especially on a budget. When I'm standing in the grocery store and I have a choice between a cheap store brand or a healthy, whole grain, organic option that costs three to four times as much, guess which one I choose? I'm on a budget! Of course I go for cheap! But at what expense to my family's health? Let's continue our discussion of healthy choices while maintaining the budget...

So, what about whole grains? Store brand bread is so cheap, but we all know that whole grains is what we're supposed to be eating. In Lincoln, I have found a bread store that carries good wholesome breads and other baked goods. I go once a month (because it's on the other side of town) and purchase the reduced bread and stick it in my freezer. I also get bagels, english muffins, and other things as I find them on the reduced shelf. In this way I can get 100% whole grain items for $1/package. That's much better than the $3 the same product will be in the store! I haven't priced the cost of making a loaf of bread in a while, but if you're home and have the time to keep on eye on rising bread dough, that's definetly another option to look into. Especially if you need to use specialty flours to avoid gluten.

I know there are many folks out there who are going organic. In our area, organic is still more costly than "regular" products. I think that the same principles of couponing and waiting for sales to stock up will apply, but the cost probably isn't going to get quite as low as with the non-organic items. I've also wondered if the produce is going to be peeled before being eaten if it's making a difference anyways. Does anyone out there know?

And meat...there's something you can't find a coupon for! I always check for the "manager's special" stickers. This means that it has a sell by date of usually today or tomorrow. I'm just going to take it home and stick it in my freezer, anyways! I recently grabbed up several 1 lb rolls of ground turkey and a couple of pork sausage for less than $1 each this way. This is also how I get roasts, pork chops, and chicken breasts. Of course, stretch your meat farther by cutting it into casseroles or stir fry rather than cooking a roast or steak. It's a lot easier to control portion sizes this way. I'm also lucky in that my husband hunts and fishes. One deer (even a small one) can almost provide a meal a week for our family for a whole year. Needless to say, I don't buy beef, anymore!

And I would tend to think that the special diet items would have a similar concept. Scour the websites and papers for coupons and hold onto them until a sale for the maximum savings. Because there's only one or two brands to choose from, it may take longer for a great deal to come your way, but be ready for them!

I had to go dairy-free when I was nursing the baby and in some ways I saved money- less ice cream and cheese. But there were other products with hidden dairy that I had to avoid- most seasoning mixes and even my non-dairy creamer! For our family, having more stir fry and fewer casseroles with creamed soups was both cheaper and healthier.

If you're looking for more frugal ideas, head over to Life as Mom for Frugal Fridays and read lots more tips!

1 comment:

  1. Great post! Sometimes having to adhere to a special diet can be a blessing in disguise. My son is allergic to dairy and soy and it has made our diet much healthier as a family.


    Stop by and visit me sometime over at Free 2 Be Frugal!