Friday, January 17, 2014

Sticking to Budget When Buying Organic

I had a more productive week at home than I normally do and I've felt better than I have in a long time.  I’m usually very tired after work and don’t feel like cooking, but I made myself cook every night because we are eating strictly vegan and organic.  It’s hard to grab convenience foods that fall into those categories anyways.  We also have to stick to budget though.  The first week we shopped for groceries for the Daniel plan we spent double our food budget!  It’s so crazy because it’s only two of us!  I realize it’s because I did not have a plan or a menu prepared before shopping. We just simply bought a variety of foods and thought we would be so hungry we would need it all, but it turns out that we did not.

This week we stayed on budget and haven't been wanting for food.  It is possible to stay within budget while eating organic, you just have to be smart about it and plan ahead.  Knowing what things cost helps a lot too, so I jot down the date and the prices of everything we buy and keep a running list to help me plan.  Sometimes you will spend more because you have to buy staples or bulk items but it will balance out in the long run. 

I learned from last week that I can't just buy anything.  Without a plan, not only is my grocery bill is over budget, we waste a lot of food that goes bad before we can cook it.  And I hate wasting food.  I found that cheaper items like beans and quinoa are things we love, help fill us up, and really help out sticking to budget.  It stretches the other foods further.

We may only be a family of two, but even larger families can eat healthy and organic.  It just takes planning.  You may have to prioritize your budget too.  I have come to terms with setting a larger food budget so that we can buy organic and fresh foods.  It beats paying higher healthcare costs later from the consequences of eating unhealthy foods. 

We have already faced those consequences because we did not have a healthy view of food.  It turns out that if you eat for fuel and you eat nutrient rich foods, you aren’t hungry all the time.  All those fried foods, sweets, and processed junk have most, if not all of their nutrients removed with processing and have horrible additives, bad fats, and pure sugar that is not good for you in such quantities.  When you don’t eat nutrient rich foods, you will eat more because your body needs those nutrients and tells you to eat.  When you eat the good stuff, your body gets what it needs and you feel satisfied, cravings diminish, and your overall energy level is higher. 


Here are some ways you can buy healthy and stay in budget:


1)  The number one thing to start doing is to look at your budget.  Where can you “trim the fat” so you can be as healthy as you can be?  Do you have unnecessary things you spend money on?  Can you reduce those costs to add more to your grocery budget?  Even if you can’t, there are still ways to eat healthy.


2)  Make a menu plan.  Cooking from home is cheaper than eating outside the home.  Get some healthy recipes with cheaper ingredients based on your budget level.  I suggest that you stroll through the store before buying anything and make a list of the cost of each item you may need to buy so that it will help you plan and stick to budget.  I usually shop at three different stores that carry fresh foods, organic foods, and have sales!


3)  That’s the third step: watch for sales!  Even the healthy stores have them.  In fact, this week when we go grocery shopping, we’re getting some buy-one-get-one-free deals on some good foods.  Watch for ads, sign up for email ads, and refer to those when making your menu plan so you can use the sale items.


4)  Buy in season.  When you shop for fruits and vegetables, buy only what is in season.  It’s also smart to buy local if you can.  That assures you that the food is as fresh as it can be.  I made the mistake of buying strawberries in the winter!  Not only were they not very ripe but they were too expensive.  I guess I just love strawberries too much!


5)  Cut out animal products or at least portion it out.  Right now, we are eating strictly vegan for a few weeks.  We plan to incorporate meat, eggs, and dairy back into our diet BUT at smaller portions than we normally enjoyed.  Meat, especially good grass-fed and organic meat, is expensive.  If you serve it as a side dish instead of a main dish, you can still eat it but without the cost of making it the main course.  You could also stretch it by mixing it into the meal, like having tacos with a meat, beans, and corn mixture instead of just meat.  Furthermore, it is healthier to eat a smaller portion of animal products anyways due to fat content and such anyways.


6)  The final step I have for you today is to buy cheap “fillers” when all else fails.  Things like beans, lentils, brown rice, quinoa, broth for soups, and bananas are all healthy, nutrient rich foods that are filling and cheap!  If you have big eaters in your family, feed them as healthy as you can and use these items to fill in the gaps if they are still hungry.  We love food and we eat a lot, so I have incorporated more of these items into our diet so that we are never hungry but we still stay on budget.


So you see?  You can eat healthy, organic food and stay on budget.  It takes a little work and planning but it is worth it.  You will feel better, possibly lose excess weight, and have the peace of mind that you aren’t ingesting toxic chemicals or feeding them to your family.  With the rising statistics of many diseases in our culture, why chance it?  I want to know what I consume is the way God made it.  How about you?  Do you have any other tips on how to eat healthy on a budget?  Leave them in the comment section below!

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