Monday, April 14, 2014

5 Ways to Eat Healthy on a Budget

Here are some ways to eat an inexpensive and well-balanced diet consisting of many nutritious whole foods.

Dried kidney beans in bowl

Are you on a shoestring budget and wondering how on earth you can possibly afford to eat healthy? This is a common concern. Here are some ways to eat an inexpensive and well-balanced diet consisting of many nutritious whole foods:

  1. Buy in bulk: Purchase items such as dried legumes, whole grains, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, cereal, olive oil, honey, maple syrup, nut butter, herbs, and spices. Also, consider buying beef or lamb in bulk (quarter, half, or whole) directly from a local farmer.
  2. Cook in quantity: Package leftovers in portable mason jars for meals and snacks away from home. Being caught hungry while you are on the go is a frequent budget-buster, since prepared foods are much more expensive than those that are homemade. Yes, that even includes taco trucks!
  3. Make your own food: Save your veggie and meat scraps for preparing your own stocks and sauces. Make your own bread, crackers, tortillas, granola, hummus, condiments, and soy or almond milk. In addition to canning and pickling at home, fermenting your own foods such as yogurt, kombucha and kimchee is a great way to get probiotics into your diet.
  4. Grow your own produce: Even if you don’t have a yard, you can join a community garden or grow a bounty of food in pots such as tomatoes, lettuce, peas, carrots, beans, beets and potatoes.
  5. Join a CSA: Splitting a share with a friend will further cut down on the cost. Or ask about a work-trade agreement with participating farms. Enjoy an array of produce, meats, eggs, honey, and fresh herbs with community supported agriculture (CSA).

To find a community garden in your area visit Communitygarden.org. To learn more about joining a CSA visit Localharvest.org/csa.

By Katherine Kopfler, MSN ('13), dietetic intern, and Debra Boutin, MS, RD, chair and dietetic internship director, Department of Nutrition and Exercise Science at Bastyr University.

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