Eating Cheap- Eating Healthy

Good Eats

Last night I got a call from a friend who lives some distance away. We do not see each other often but email, Facebook, and phone calls help us keep in touch. She had a bad health experience recently and was seeking advice.

Her doctor had advised here to change her eating habits and so she was looking for food ideas. When she said, “What I need is food that I can enjoy, otherwise I'll go back to my old eating habits, do you have any suggestions?”

I had been reading Michael Pollan’s “In Defense of Food: An eater’s manifesto” shortly before her call and his words:” Eat food, not too much and mostly plants.” Immediately came to mind.

I did not repeat that to her but said eat what you enjoy but reduce the amount of salt and fat you use for starters. If it comes in a package, leave it on the grocery store shelf and if the label has a list of ingredients three paragraphs long or one that is filled with words you can’t even pronounce do not buy it.

We talked for a bit and I said I‘d get back to her with more ideas. She has limited funds so that is another factor to consider.

Let’s go back to the Pollan quote.” Eat food, not too much, mostly plants”. This does not mean do not eat any meat but use it as a side dish as a flavouring and not the main course. This will also help you save money.

Fresh vegetables, fruit, and beans for example are not excessively packed and labeled. When it comes to vegetables I make two recommendations, eat what is in season, it is usually cheaper and embrace root vegetables, beets, potatoes, carrots, turnips and parsnips to name some.

You can sue them in many dishes from home fries to stews and they can be purchased in bulk. In season I can buy a ten pound bag of carrots or beets for about $4.00. This is a lot of food for two people. If you have a cool dark spot that is where you keep them along with the potatoes and pickled beets are delicious.

Beans, peas and lentils are inexpensive whether canned or dried. I buy both because I do not always remember or have the time to soak the beans overnight and with canned once I have rinsed them I am all set.

Buy your dried beans in bulk and invest in some dry storage containers for them. They will keep for a very long time.

Also when it comes to cans buy them when they are on sale. I try and pick up a dozen cans at a time when the store puts them out.

Another essential food is canned tomatoes and tomato paste. I buy both diced tomatoes and crushed tomatoes in quantity when on sale and that way I have them when I want to make a tomato sauce, chili or add tomatoes to a stew or soup.

When it comes to adding flavour onions, celery, garlic and crushed chilies are basic. Onions can be bought in bulk and crushed chilies as well. If you find celery too expensive or if like me the celery that is available in the off season is not that tasty buy some celery seed and use it to flavour soups and stews.

When it comes to meat I buy a bulk pack of stewing beef which cost ten dollars and makes us about ten meals each. I also buy when meat is on sale and freeze what I can.

Be sure to make a list before you go shopping and do a food inventory while making the list.

It is possible to keep your food budget down and eat well at the same time.

Gotta Have Them

I buy these in bulk when on sale, Photo Bob Ewing
I buy these in bulk when on sale, Photo Bob Ewing

Essential Tools

two essential cooking tools, blender and slow cooker, Bob Ewing Photo
two essential cooking tools, blender and slow cooker, Bob Ewing Photo

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Comments 9 comments

RiaMorrison profile image

RiaMorrison 8 years ago from Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada

Good tips, and ones that I should try and remember to use more often. The biggest problem with me is that there aren't actually many vegetables that I like the taste of, so finding ways to add them to my diet more often can require some very creative cooking!

Katherine Baldwin profile image

Katherine Baldwin 8 years ago from South Carolina

Great ideas, Bob. One thing to be careful about regarding storing potatoes - never store them with onions. When the two are kept together, they produce gases that cause them to rot. I even keep my shallots away from the potatoes. It is beyond me why most grocery stores display these two items side by side most of the time. Duh.


Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick Author

Thanks for the reminder Katherine re onions and potatoes. Ria creativity and cooking are companiosn. thank you both for stoppingby.

profile image

newsworthy 8 years ago

I like the way you eat. I prefer vegetables and fruit over meat any day but have never tried lentils. Have seen them cooked plenty on food network. Giada uses a ton of vegetables in her dishes, including lentils. She adds chicken stock to a lentil and rice salad that loooooks really good.

Cheers to good eats!

PeacefulWmn9 profile image

PeacefulWmn9 8 years ago from Michigan

These are all great ideas. Being on a strict budget and having chronic health issues myself, I have learned many ways of eating well for health on a budget.

Another money saver is to use a crock pot if you have one. Less electricity, and it cooks cheaper cuts of meat in stews and soups to perfection. I always make extra when doing a one-pot dish, for a meal of leftovers a few days later. Good for busy people with large families, or singles with smaller appetites.


bgpappa profile image

bgpappa 8 years ago from Sacramento, California

Crock Pots are great. Stewed Tomatoes, Beans and the cheaper cuts of meat make a great chili that is cheap, tasty and inexpensive. Add some cornbread and you can eat for days.

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick Author

I love my crock pot. thanks for stopping by.

eatlikenoone profile image

eatlikenoone 5 years ago from Saline, MI

I agree with you on eating what's in season. It something I promote a lot myself. It's saves money as well as you are getting the best of that particular produce.

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 5 years ago from New Brunswick Author

When it come to food, loal and seasonal is the best, thanks for dropping by.

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