6 Steps to Healthy Food on a Tight Budget

Think again if you assume you can’t eat healthfully if you’re broke. Just use a little creativity, planning, shopping smarts and ingenuity and you’ll see that you don’t need to sacrifice the healthy choices just because money’s tight.

Here are some suggestions:

1. Use one food multiple times

No, we’re not talking leftovers, but an entirely new recipe made from a leftover.
For instance, some leftover soup may make a nourishing breakfast, especially for those cold, rainy mornings. Add some raw nuts and berries to brown rice to make a pilaf or salad. Cook leftover quinoa in rice milk, add some raw nuts and fruit and you have a “rice pudding.”


You get the picture!

2. Decrease your supplements

To be clear, no one’s telling you to go completely without them, but let’s also be honest. Do you use supplements to bridge the nutrition gap, or do you use them as a substitute for food? Sometimes we do go a little overboard, and that can add up to one big price tag. Dr. Oz recommends 3 key supplements: 1) a good multivitamin 2) an omega 3 fish oil and 3) calcium with magnesium.

3.Buy from local farmers

Locally grown produce is almost always less expensive, and it’s always in season. You might even look into joining a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). When you join a CSA, you’re actually buying “shares” at a local farm, and a box of fresh produce will be delivered to your door, or some other convenient location, for a set amount of time. 

Since the farmer is virtually guaranteed to sell everything he or she has, the price of produce can be less expensive. Besides, it’s good karma — local farmers tend to be a dying breed, so you’ll be helping an industry out.

4. Grow it yourself!

Live in a fifth floor walk-up, and you think you don’t have the space for a garden? Create your own little paradise with container or verticle gardens!

5. Buy frozen

I know, I know, fresh is often best. But what if the produce is all brown, wilted and yucky from all the water some supermarkets spray on it? Where’s the nutrition? Chances are you’ll still pay that high cost. Just be sure your frozen only contains water and no chemicals.

6. Be creative!

Sometimes those little loose pieces that you find at the bottom of the bag can still be used. I once had a client tell me she made a cereal from rice cake crumbs; she added some fruit and almond milk and it was a big hit! I know someone else who makes vegan “ice cream” from old mushy bananas that would normally be thrown out. 

She freezes and blends them, then adds fruit or sauce and nuts to make a “sundae.” Don’t throw out those overripe avocados! Instead, use them as a spread instead of mayo.

By Irene Ross, Mindbodygreen;