Save Money While Eating Healthy
One of the first places a budget can be cut is the grocery list. Eating more healthy foods can actually cost you less if you make a few simple changes.
Beans are extremely nutritious and can be prepared in many ways to add diversity to your meals. A can of beans can cost nearly a dollar in some stores, but a bag of dried beans (navy,pinto,kidney,garbanzo, etc.) costs about the same, yet one cup of dried beans will make two and a half cups when cooked. If you're concerned by the gas issue, add a tablespoon of baking soda to the soaking water. Cover the beans with about four times the water (1 cup dried beans to 4 cups of water) and soak overnight. The next day drain and rinse the beans and follow the directions on the package. You can make delicious bean soup, baked beans that are extremely healthful meals that cost very little money this way.
Soup stock. We all throw away a lot of wilted, discolored or unattractive fresh vegetables. Place them in a bag in your freezer when you clean out your produce drawer (the base of celery, the leaves, beet tops, carrot tops and peels, broccoli stems, the outside cabbage leaves, and potato peals). When you have a one-gallon bag full, place them in a soup pot with a gallon of water and simmer for about ten to twenty minutes. There will be plenty of nutrition in the soup broth that you would have thrown away. Use the broth to make soup or reconstitute canned soup. You can also do this with chicken or beef bones left from roasts.
Buy In Bulk In Season
All of the apples we buy are picked in the fall and are kept in cold storage. Go to an apple orchard (some are even organic) in October and purchase a bushel or peck of apples for what it will cost for a small bag later in the season in the grocery store. Keep them in a cold (not freezing) area like a basement.
Onions and sweet peppers are cheap and plentiful in late summer. Take a trip to a roadside stand or farmer's market. Chop the extras and freeze them to add to chili, omelette's, and other dishes later on when they expensive. Put a cup or half cup in snack size freezer bags, or freeze smaller amounts in ice cubes.
Expensive herbs are easy to grow and either dry by hanging in bunches or freeze them in ice cubes for use all year round. Basil is the most nutritious food available and is easy to add to pasta sauce, pesto, and other dishes.
Other ways to eat healthier may require a one-time investment of a juicer, dehydrator or bread machine, but they will pay for themselves over time and you will be much healthier and save money on health care. Look for these items in thrift shops, garage sales or on on-line places such as Ebay.
Consider Small Prep Appliances:
Fruit and vegetable juices are expensive to purchase and often contain harmful additives, high fructose corn syrup and even arsenic. Use the apples, grapes, carrots, celery and other produce you purchase on sale or in season to make fresh, healthy juices. Although they loose some food value during freezing, you can freeze them and still have much healthier juice in the long run. Save the pulp and use it in soups, stews, and quick breads.
Dehydrators are very easy to use and you can make dried fruits, herbs and even beef or turkey (or venison) jerky for much, much less than prepared in a factory.
A healthy multi grain loaf of bread can easily cost more than three dollars these days. Whole grain flour is very inexpensive (wheat, rye, oat) and the machine makes it very easy to prepare. Some bread machines also make jams, pasta dough and even pizza dough. If you or someone in your family is on a gluten free diet, you can save a lot of money by making your own bread.
Prepared foods are expensive and usually lacking in nutrition. A little extra time and effort will help you eat healthy food and save money as well.