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Eating Healthy on a Budget: Navigating Rising Food Costs


Grocery Shopping
Food Shopping on a Budget

In today's world, the rising cost of food can make it challenging to maintain a healthy diet. This is particularly true if you're raising children. Summer is almost here and that means "boredom eating." However, with some smart planning and budgeting, it is still possible to prioritize nutrition without breaking the bank. In this blog post, we'll explore some tips and strategies for eating healthy while dealing with increasing food prices.


1. Plan and Prep Meals in Advance:

One of the most effective ways to save money on food is by planning and prepping meals in advance. This not only helps you avoid impulse purchases but also allows you to make healthier choices. Set aside some time each week to plan your meals, create a shopping list, and prep ingredients ahead of time. This will help you stick to your budget and avoid wastage. A friend and colleague of mine offers an eBook titled Fast Fun Freezer Meals that I highly recommend you check out.


2. Buy in Bulk and Freeze:

Buying in bulk can be a cost-effective way to stock up on essential items like grains, beans, and frozen fruits and vegetables. Look for sales and discounts at your local grocery store, locate a salvage store or consider joining a wholesale club. Co-op buying is becoming increasingly popular and if this of interest, Azure Standard has various membership drop locations throughout the US. Divide bulk purchases into smaller portions and freeze them for later use. This can help you save money in the long run and ensure you always have healthy options on hand. If you live in a farming community, consider looking for trade or barter for cuts of beef, pork, chicken and their eggs. If you're a short drive to the country, buying direct from a farmer or joining a "share" program is another option. This is a small investment in the raising of the animal for a share of product produced.


3. Shop Seasonal and Local:

Seasonal produce is not only fresher and tastier but also more affordable. Visit farmers' markets or local produce stands to find fresh fruits and vegetables that are in season. By buying locally, you can support small businesses and reduce the possibility of eating produce that "ripened" on a truck. Naturally ripened fruits and vegetables are superior to the immaturely harvested produce that gains no more nutritional value in transit.

Additionally, consider growing your own herbs or vegetables if you have space for a small garden. This can be a rewarding and cost-effective way to incorporate fresh produce into your meals. It actually takes a very small space to have a fairly prolific garden. Check out this video on small space gardening. If you're strictly organic, farmers might not have the ability to certify their farm as it can be cost prohibitive but their practices can be considered "organic in nature." While organic can be cost prohibitive for so many, following the guidelins of the Dirty Dozen - Clean Fifteen can be helpful. We personally do what we can but we also know that we can't control everything we sip, eat and breathe so we make the best educated decision in the moment.


4. Opt for increasing Plant-Based Proteins:

Protein sources like meat and poultry can be expensive, especially if you're buying high-quality, organic options. Consider incorporating more plant-based proteins like beans, lentils, potatoes and quinoa into your diet. These options are not only budget-friendly but also packed with nutrients and fiber. Adding more plant based protein to a "one pot" meal can increase the per serving portion of that meal. Experiment with different recipes to make plant-based meals delicious and satisfying. A soup or stir fry can be easily crafted in an inexpensive manner to satisfy the taste buds and fill the belly...sometimes for days. Yes, we just had a soup we thought we may never get through but lo and behold, after 3 days, that pot was finally empty. Well, truth be told, the dog was the beneficiary of the final scoop. Add lentils to your smoothies to increase the fiber and slow the blood sugar release.


5. Limit Processed Foods:

Processed and convenience foods are often more expensive and less nutritious than whole foods. To save money and prioritize your health, limit your intake of processed snacks, sugary drinks, and pre-packaged meals. Instead, focus on whole foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and lean proteins. Cooking meals from scratch can be more affordable and allows you to control the ingredients and portion sizes. For those treats, snacks and sandwiches, baking can be not only cost saving but satisfying for both the family and the nutrient density. Homemade granola bars, oatmeal and peanut butter cookies all satisfy the sweet tooth and stick to the ribs at the same time. Sandwich bread can be made for about $1 a loaf and you eliminate the unnecessary oils and added sugars.


6. Help is Available

Should you need assistance during these times, don't hesitate to reach out to local organizations that might be able to lend a hand. Often, school summer programs can offer free lunches to children. There are a variety of programs for seniors, children and the disabled. This website can be helpful in locating assistance in your area. Whether you're looking for a food pantry or need help requesting food assistance, the Feeding America organization can provide some answers.


Eating healthy on a budget requires planning, creativity, and a willingness to prioritize nutrition over convenience. By following the tips mentioned in this blog post, you can navigate rising food costs without compromising on your health.


Remember, small changes in your shopping and eating habits can make a big difference in the long run.


Happy and healthy eating! We hope you find this blog post helpful! Let us know if you need any further assistance or if you would like us to help you plan a menu.


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