I used to stop listening to people talk about healthy eating because I believed healthy choices were expensive. But clean eating on a dime is possible … and it’s not that difficult!
Guest post by April Lewis of An Apple A Day Wisdom
I’m going to shock a few people today. Are you ready? Clean eating can be super inexpensive. Simple as that.
It used to be that when I would hear someone talk about healthy eating, organic food, or clean eating meal plans, I automatically stopped listening to their message because I had programmed myself to believe that making healthy choices was expensive. Granted, some of those choices can be pricey depending on the stores you choose to frequent and the items you are purchasing.
But do you know what I’ve learned? It is what you make it, just as with anything in life.
Every week I have been spending around $50 to $60 on average for groceries, using Aldi for 90% of my shopping. Some weeks have been as low as $30. This week I am doing an intensive 7-day cleanse so I shopped at Kroger because they have some AMAZING produce deals this week, even on organics, and I needed items Aldi doesn’t carry.
I spent a total of $140.91. But that’s going to be produce for the cleanse for a week and probably another week’s worth of dinners when combined with quinoa and portions of chicken after the cleanse is over. Divide that out and it’s still only $70 a week for both of us to eat organic.
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Plus, my family is coming to my house for a mini staycation. I have spent another $15 at the farmers’ market to have enough produce to feed them all local and organic as well. They are supplying the meat since my house will be ground zero for a backyard camping staycation.
I have 5 tips you can use to help tame your grocery budget and make clean eating on a dime possible for your family:
1. Only cook the suggested serving size for each person eating.
I know some of you have two or more children, jobs, etc., and you’re too busy to actually cook from scratch every night. So if you are cooking extra, then put the extra servings away so no one is tempted. I started monitoring this at my house and you truly don’t realize how much extra food is being eaten and adding expense to your grocery budget.
2. Cook from scratch as much as you can.
Again, I know time can be an issue. Some ideas to help with that may be to form a cooking circle where you and four other friends each pick one recipe and make five batches of it, then swap. You will each have five dinners. But you’ll save some time because you will only shop and prepare for one dish. Or you can find a low-cost meal planning service. It does all the thinking, planning, and work for you. Then you can just tweak as needed.
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3. Plant a garden.
Hands down the best thing I do for my family each year is grow my own vegetables. I fill up the freezer and cabinets as much as I can with very low-cost, organic, heirloom food. I save seeds from year to year, swap seeds with like-minded friends, or save seeds from produce I buy as long as it’s not GMO or hybrid breeds. You can even have a bucket garden if you are in an apartment. Or, utilize your farmers’ market. I get a TON of local, organic, heirloom produce for great prices at my local farmers’ market.
4. Eat more vegetables, less meat and dairy, and no processed foods.
Some of the most expensive items in the store are meat and dairy products. Nutritionally you can get what you need by eating much less of each of those. And even though most processed foods may be cheaper, they leave you still feeling hungry. But if you eat fresh produce in the right combinations, you can avoid those unhealthy processed foods altogether, helping your health and your budget.
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5. Get creative.
Like in the staycation example, my sister and her husband will be supplying any meat or extras we need to feed everyone. She’s saving a ton of money camping in my backyard instead of having to pay a resort’s expensive nightly fees. And I’m not out the expense of having to purchase everything they need while they are here.
You’re probably rolling your eyes thinking this lady just has two people to buy for. Most families are at least double that number. And you may believe this is unrealistic for your family. Maybe.
But I’d be willing to bet if you planted a garden, shopped for deals at the farmer’s market and Aldi, ate the recommended serving size, cooked from scratch, and got creative thinking about ways to make your healthy food budget stretch, your grocery budget would drop dramatically. Give it a try! What do you have to lose?
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What tips can you share to make healthy eating possible for families? How do you make clean eating on a dime a reality?
April Lewis is a single mom, author, blogger, executive virtual assistant, and mini homesteader. That’s the “professional” description, anyway. But really she’s a simple girl from rural west Tennessee. Her goal is to teach everyone that there are small things they can change or improve about everyday life that will have enormous impact on your spiritual life, your family, your health and the world around you.