A common question or comment that people make to me that that real food is a lot more expensive than processed food. I believe that the benefit out ways any negatives, plus there are lots of tips and tricks that can save you money when buying real food.
Personally I buy for a family of five and I have not noticed a huge difference in my grocery bill. I used to spend say $250.00 per week on groceries, which was broken down to $50 on fruit and vegetables, $50 on fresh meat and $150 on groceries. Now my spend looks more like $100 a week on fresh fruit and vegetables, $100 per week on fresh meat and $50 on grocery items such as dates, nuts, frozen berries & a few house hold items. Our grocery shop have shifted as we have moved to a real food diet and we literally do not buy anything in packets anymore.
Here are my top 7 tips for eating real food on a budget:
#1. Become resourceful: What I mean is getting back to the basics of cooking, making your own vegetable stock to keep in the fridge, using the bones from a roast chicken to make stock for a pot of soup, extending a Sunday roast to use for weekday dinners, learning how to make hearty stews from inexpensive cuts of meat and using up leftovers.
#2. Find you local farmers markets: Shopping at your local farmers markets is one of the cheapest ways to eat fresh. Not only that, but I find that the food that I buy from my farmers market lasts so much longer than what I buy at the supermarket or even local green grocer. It is because it is usually seasonal and it is freshly picked. Sometimes the fresh fruit and vegetables that you buy from the supermarket has been in cold storage for months so as soon as you get it home it starts rotting. Buy local and save.
#3. Plan your meals: This is essential as it will save you money and time. You can generally plan a week of meals at a time, make sure you have all ingredients necessary on hand, and then do any prep work you can ahead of time so that dinner is easy to prepare if you’re short on time in the evenings. One of the weekly meals that I make is a huge pot of mince with a tomato base. For the first night we have it on zucchini pasta as spaghetti bolognese and the second night I add some spices to the mince and serve it as a burrito bowl. It works perfectly and provides two cheap and cheerful dinners for the family.
#4. Avoid food waste: Don’t throw out your leftovers. Use you’re left overs for lunch the next day or to add to an omelette for breakfast.
#5. Do some preserving: Take a leaf out of our grandmothers book and start making some of your own fermented vegetables & preserved sauces, stocks, jams & dips. You can buy bulk fruit or vegetables that are over ripe very inexpensively. Not only does this save you money but it is also really good for you.
#6. Compare Prices: When you are buying real food dry ingredients such as bulk almonds, chia seeds, almond meal and dates make sure you check the prices. I recently went to a bulk food store and brought all sorts of these types of ingredients to stock up. I didn’t really think too much about it and just bought what I wanted. The next day I was at my local fruit and vegetable store where they also sell bags of nuts and dried fruit. The almonds were $5.99 for 500 grams. The day before I was scooping almonds out of the bulk bin for $21.00 per kilo. That is nearly double the price! Lesson learned!
#7. Get a Reality Check: You may think it is expensive buying fresh ingredients, but it is a lot more expensive being sick and unwell as you age. People don’t seem to have an issue with spending ridiculous amounts on vitamins, quick fix diets and pills, swap all of that for real food. It is more economical just to eat real food.
Now you are armed with some ideas on how to eat real food inside your budget go forth & get your health on!