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Tips to Buying Affordable, Healthy Food

Eating healthy doesn’t have to break the bank. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) created the guide Good Food on a Tight Budget to help families purchase healthy options without overspending. Download a copy of the guide for yourself here: https://www.ewg.org/goodfood/

 

Read below for a few of our favorite tips and the EWG’s guide to fruits and veggies that pack the most nutrition for the lowest cost.

 

 

 

 

Top 5 Takeaways-

  • One serving of oatmeal is about half the cost of a bowl of sugary cereal.

  • Parsley packs a nutritional punch as potent as kale for a quarter of the cost.

  • Brown rice costs as little as oatmeal and has twice as much fiber as white rice.

  • Fresh isn't always more expensive. And canned isn't always cheaper. Fresh carrots are cheaper than frozen. Frozen corn can be cheaper than canned.

  • Carrots, bananas, frozen broccoli, pears and watermelon receive high marks for nutrition and ring up at less than 30 cents a serving.

 

Make your own broths and stocks at home for almost nothing!

You can use leftover bones from chicken and leftover veggie scraps to make your own vegetable or chicken stocks. Simply throw veggie scraps and chicken bones (or omit to make vegetable stock) into a large stock pot, add water, and simmer for a few hours until all of the flavors have been absorbed in the stock. See our blog post from a few weeks ago about rethinking leftovers for some tips on making homemade stock: Rethink Leftovers

 

Choose Low Cost Proteins

  • Black beans, black eyed peas, chickpeas, eggs, lentils, pinto beans, red kidney beans

    • Soak and cook dried beans to save money

  • Turkey and chicken

    • Buy whole and freeze to use later, The whole animal options are more economical than buying proteins with the bone removed

  • Peanuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts

    • Raw nuts are cheaper, and you can roast them at home. You can also keep them in the freezer to use later

Buy now and use later

  • Buy fresh fruits when they are in season or on sale and freeze to use later. If you have some fruit that is beginning to over ripen, you can also freeze them before they go bad. Use frozen fruit for smoothies, oatmeal, and yogurt. Freeze in a single layer first, then transfer to a container or bag to prevent clumping

  • Make large batches of meals and freeze for later. Frozen home cooked meals are great to have when you don't feel like cooking a full meal or are in a hurry. You will reduce food waste by freezing extras and save money that might have been spent eating out.

Plan before you shop

You are more likely to buy too much food if you do not have a grocery list to follow. Plan your meals for the week ahead of time, that way you don't waste unused food.

  • Find new ways to use leftovers, or freeze to avoid wasted food and money

  • Choose fruits and veggies that are in season as they are more likely to be affordable (plus they taste better when in season)

  • Using plant based proteins like beans and lentils a few times as week to cut down on costs that can be associated with meats

 

 

 

Shop for Bulk Foods

It seems so easy and convenient to have individual packages of foods such as oatmeal and snack packs, but these actually end up being much more expensive. Instead, buy in bulk to lower the cost of foods such as oatmeal, rices, beans, and grains.

You can even buy spices in bulk to avoid waste. Instead of buying a large bottle, buy in smaller amounts and only the amount you need. This also avoids spices from going stale or having to buy a whole bottle just for one recipe.

 

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