I've seen this floating around Facebook lately, accompanied by his image. It's an important thought to consider: Is it worth spending more on food now to live a healthier life later? Ideally, the answer is absolutely yes. However, sometimes making healthier or more natural food choices can be expensive (but not always). What do you do if you are on a budget but want to eat better?
In our house, we started by prioritizing. Several years ago, we cancelled our cable. Instead, we paid for Netflix and Hulu+, and took advantage of Amazon Prime's video service. Our cable money went towards our grocery budget. Then, once we get to the grocery store, we have to prioritize. Buying all organic ingredients all the time is just not an option for us right now. Organic milk and eggs are at the top of the list. We consume a lot of milk and eggs, and you can't just wash them clean. Organic meat is a high priority for the same reason. Then we focus on the so-called "Dirty Dozen." The Dirty Dozen is a list of fruits and vegetables with the most pesticide residue.
- Sweet Bell Peppers
We might buy conventional items if they are on the list of least contaminated produce.
- Frozen Sweet Corn
- Frozen Sweet Peas
- Kiwi Fruit
We also choose to shop at Farmers' Markets as frequently as possible. Eating seasonally helps keep costs down. Sometimes items at Farmers' Markets are more expensive, but more and more are accepting food stamps. Some items may be cheaper. For example, organic strawberries at our grocery store run about $4 per pound. A quart of strawberries at our market costs five dollars and weighs about a pound and a half. Organic certification is expensive and many small farmers can't afford it, so that quart of strawberries might not be certified organic. However, buying directly from the farmer allows you to ask questions. You may find that many or all of their practices are organic.
During the warm months, we also grow some of our own food: herbs, tomatoes, strawberries, peppers, potatoes, and carrots. You don't have to have a huge yard to have a garden! We live in a townhouse and have just a couple of beds. Growing up, my dad grew cantaloupe, tomatoes, and herbs in containers on our deck.
Finally, we eat vegetarian meals frequently. Meat, especially organic meat, is expensive. Minimally or unprocessed vegetarian options are healthy and environmentally friendly. Try giving up meat for one dinner a week and see how it goes!
How do you balance budget and healthy eating in your family?