With prices on everything on the rise, money for food are stretched. As you know, price for fruit and vegetables also has been affected from where we come to the question, how to eat well on a budget.
Whole plant-based diet is perfect for our overall health, but many people nowadays can really afford it. As you know, fresh fruit and vegetables, especially organic ones, are pretty expensive so many of us are wondering how to shop all these groceries and how those prices not to strain our wallets.
To live on a strict budget is not very easy nowadays and it requires advance planning.
How To Eat Well On a Budget
Selecting Budget-Friendly Ingredients
Consider eating plant-based on a budget in two ways. First one is how to get the most nutrition for your money and second is how to get more good quality products for those money. Ask yourself which foods are full with micronutrients per calorie and per pound and which foods will help you create more healthiest meals. Answer to these questions is found in a meal made with both greens and starches. Greens provide the most nutrients per calories, so they are ideal addition to any meal and starches will sustain you for a long time. So focus on the basics.
How to Budget and Shop Smart
Everything starts from your shopping list. Once you’ve got your list with grocery items you are ready to go. Keep in mind to organise your list.
Aim to spend around 50% of your food budget on both vegetables and fruits. Shop smart, you don’t to buy everything from one store, if your local market has cheaper price on certain items, buy them from there, the rest of the items you can get from some mega market where prices are lower.
When you buy fruit and vegetables, aim to select ones that looks enticing, colorful and delicious.
Cabbage, collard greens, mustard greens, carrots, cauliflower, brussels sprouts are considered as cheap vegetables so add them more. From Leafy greens best are collard greens, kale and swiss chard. Don’t forget celery, carrots, garlic and onions for your soups and stews.
Don’t forget to grab bigger bag when it comes to potatoes. Varieties are endless, sweet potatoes, Japanese sweet potatoes, russets, Fingerling potato etc.
From fruit aim for quality and value, cheap are apples, bananas, pears, oranges.
20% of items from your list need to be staples, like grains such as oats and corn and legumes such as beans, peas and lentils for example. This way you will have nice supply at least for a while.
20% for small amounts of seeds, nuts, dried fruit and herbs and spices for your recipes. Growing herbs at home can be very good idea too.
The rest 10% are reserved for tofu and non dairy milks such as almond milk, coconut milk, cashew milk, oat milk, rice milk etc.
Turning Your Healthy Ingredients Into Satisfying Meals
Starches like whole grains and starchy vegetables are both health-promoting, extremely satisfying and perfect for tasty combination. This kind of meal is big source of nutrients and energy.
Make sure to stock up with affordable food like lentils, rice, quinoa, beans, potatoes, oats, sweet peas, corn etc. They are perfect to keep your pennies into your wallet while you enjoy in delicious meals.
Tips For Stretching Your Grocery Dollars
Frozen Foods Section. Choosing frozen vegetables and fruits is one way to build meals on a budget. For those who are wondering for the nutritional value, it’s almost same as in fresh ones. What is good with frozen vegetables is that trimming, washing and chopping is done for you and also there is no waste. Of course, fresh is always better, but keep in mind, here we talk for eating on a budget. Keep a variety of these vegetable combinations, such as broccoli, corn, peas, carrots etc. as they are perfect for soups and stews.
From fruit frozen unsweetened berries and other fruits are perfect for your breakfast oatmeal or when you bake muffins.
More Ways to Save
1. Generic vs. Brand-name
Many times brand is just a name so start looking for the best values. Feel free to compare ingredients with more expensive brand so you can see that sometimes there is no difference except the price tag.
Join a CSA (community supported agriculture) so you will receive very freshest locally grown fruits and vegetables all year long for decent price.
3. Say NO To Impulse Shopping
Stop buying groceries when you are hungry and before adding anything to your cart simple think twice. Remember that wasn’t on your list.
4. Carry Your Own Water
Feel free to carry water from home, rather than buying everytime you want a drink. Buy some nice Thermos and after a while you will notice the difference.