Monday, August 22, 2011

Doing Healthy on a Budget

The husband was telling me about a discussion he heard yesterday on the city bus. He said this lady was saying it was cheaper and easier for her to buy a meal at a burger joint than it was to buy the ingredients to make a healthier meal.  Someone argued that she was making excuses and was just lazy and would teach her kids this. He said it got pretty heated but he didn't say anything because he didn't want to get involved.

So as we are walking, he's telling me his side. He says he thinks maybe the women just didn't know how to cook and that's why she thinks it's cheaper to buy fast food. Well, he might have something there. I would be the first to argue that it's cheaper and healthier to cook all meals but I actually like to cook.  I know how to cook things I find in the produce section and if I don't, I have time to research.  But that's me.  I don't have some of the obstacles others have. I don't have kids which gives me a little more room to be experimental (though the husband is picky sometimes) and I can buy a little without breaking the bank.   So, I told him I to consider all sides. If you have the time, it is definitely cheaper to buy the ingredients and make the meal. But if you aren't the best cook, are not experimental, and don't have the time to learn, I can see where you might think the alternative is cheaper and easier. 

I believe I have an advantage to the cheaper part because I've always been a thrifty shopper. Now, I don't like to shop for clothes or shoes but I love, love, love grocery shopping.  When I see something new, I more often than not get a little to try.  This has made it very easy for me to incorporate more nutrition in my cooking.   I did some shopping today and thought I would share what I found.

Because I had to make a trip to Sprouts for the french bread anyway, I decided to stock my pantry with some extra grains for granola and other meals. Along the way I found some pretty good deals. Keep in mind that I buy grains from the bulk bins and don't necessarily purchase pounds. I'm a 'scoop of this' and a 'scoop of that' kinda girl.

Bulk Bins
Steel Cut Oats ($.99), Flax Seed ($.24), Sunflower Seeds ($.75), Chia Seeds($1.76), Whey Protein Powder ($3.20).

Cilantro ($.49), 2 Green Bell Peppers ($.98), Green Onion bunch ($.49), large bag Banana Peppers ($.99 *clearance), Red Bell Pepper ($.88), Seedless Watermelon ($1.49), 2 Sweet Potatoes ($.81).

I later visited the regular grocery for small bags of almonds and walnuts ($1.50), 2 lbs lamb shank ($3.50 **clearance), 3 lbs bone-in chicken breast ($3.50), 1lb ground turkey (1.49), strawberries ($1.76) and 2 lbs red seedless grapes($1.78). 

Add to that I got five cents off each reusable bag that I used. 

Now, I have plenty of frozen carrots, broccoli, spinach, mixed veggies, green beans and berries in the freezer. This is also a budget saver as a bag of frozen is just as nutritious yet less expensive than the fresh. Yes, it all takes a little more time and effort but it is so much better and cheaper than something you can get at the drive thru. 

 I think I did pretty good and I won't have to go shopping again for a couple of weeks. 

Quote for the Day: 'You pray for good health and a body that will be strong in old age.  Good--but your rich food block the God's answer and tie Jupiter's hands.'~Persius

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