Healthy eating on a budget?

Discussion in 'Weight Loss Forum' started by Hears The Water, Dec 11, 2005.

  1. Hears The Water

    Hears The Water Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Hey y'all. I would really appreceate any tips on how to change our eating style while being on a very restrictive budget. We are pretty restricted on how much we can spend. But to be honest, the healthier food is much more expensive than the junk food. Fresh fruits and veggies are a lot more expensive than canned which are more expensive than junk food. I am going to garden this year, but until then I would appreceate any and all suggestions.
    God bless you and yours
    Debbie
     
  2. RachAnn in NW Okla

    RachAnn in NW Okla Well-Known Member

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    Hi~

    I soooo know the feeling

    we dont have a garden either...I dont know how! :(

    pasta is soo cheap and can go sooo far and soo turns you fat faster!

    we dont care for the taste texture of veggies/fruits....I get away with potatoes (mashed, baked, fried), frozen corn, canned peas, or canned kitchen sytle green beans--these are all my family will eat :shrug:

    sorry Debbie I am no help....just wanted you to know that I am paddling in your same cant-afford-to-eat-healthy boat!

    Rachel
     

  3. ladycat

    ladycat Chicken Mafioso Staff Member

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    Cooking from scratch helps.

    Whole grain flour, brown rice, dried beans, stoneground cornmeal, and whole grain pasta are healthy, and can provide the basis for a cheap food budget.

    Those sound starchy, but the trick is to use only whole grains for your cereal/flour products, and avoid ALL processed white flour products, and avoid white rice and sugar.

    Avoid junk foods of any kind at all. The money you would use for junk foods, you can use instead for cheap fruits and veggies, like apples, oranges, bananas and carrots. Popcorn makes a nice whole grain snack (avoid soaking it in margarine).
     
  4. dlangland

    dlangland dlangland

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    Mexican food can be fairly healthy. As a veggie person, we make a lot of like bean/cheese enchiladas, bean burritos, cheese tostadas, things like that. If you watch the type of refried beans you buy in the can, the regular uses lard, the vegetarian uses vegetable shortening, but several brands offer a no-fat variation. The price is the same, though. Split pea soup with or without additional veggies an herbs is real good for you, and no fat. Most people I know put some sort of meat in it, but I don't, of course. The yellow split-peas are more flavorful, I believe then the green if you can find them. And don't forget my favor staple...grilled cheese, on wheat or rye. Deb
     
  5. mamajohnson

    mamajohnson Knitting Rocks! Supporter

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    Once you get into the habit of buying the whole grain foods and fresh fruit/veggies it wont seem so bad. I made the switch slow... And I am a mean mama... told the kids "eat it or starve" and stuck to it. Now, they grimace and growl when they are looking at rice with broccoli. But they eat it.... or go to bed hungry. My rule is - no snacks if you dont eat your meal. (for me too!!)
    Start looking at bulk buying it costs at the beginning, but will pay off.
    dried beans are great, and I make my own refried beans, just put in a hot skillet with a bit of grease and smash with a potatoe smasher... simmer a bit if they are too watery... you would be amazed but half an apple with natural peanut butter on it is fattening, but Better than a bag of chips...
    I look at it like this... the fast food folks are after my and my family's health!!! I wont let them have it!!! no way! I must defend my babies and keep us healthy. :viking: ;)
    I put food first, not last. That is a big difference also. So, we may have to stay home from an event due to no gas money, but hey, we will eat good while were at home!!!
     
  6. mammabooh

    mammabooh Metal melter Supporter

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    I agree with mamajohnson...if the junk isn't there, you can't eat it. If good food is there, you'll eat it.

    I have found that eating healthy is actually cheaper for us. Once our bodies got used to eating raw and fresh foods, it seemed that we didn't need to eat as much. I don't know if it happened because we weren't eating chemicals in the junk food that made us crave more, or what, but it happened...not right away, but it did happen.

    Once you get away from the need to be full all the time, you can focus on eating for nutrition. I'm not saying that YOU have to be full, that's just the way we were. I LOVE to have a huge mouthful of pasta in my mouth with another fork full cued up, but now I know that it will only make me hungrier in the end and that I don't get the nutrients I need when I eat that way.

    One tip I have is to eat salad (with no dressing or something homemade) before you eat the rest of your meal. Eating fresh food requires lots of chew time! I have found that, by the time I'm done with my salad, I'm not very hungry anymore. Sometimes I end up putting the plate of food (which is also good, homemade things) in the refrigerator for tomorrow's lunch. Sometimes I slip back into my old ways and shove it in anyway...then I'm uncomfortable and mad at myself.

    One final thing that really changed the way we eat...get away from the idea that you have to have a main dish. A big variety of fresh things on the table is very eye-appealing and satisfying...and it doesn't have to be expensive.
     
  7. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Eggs are cheap...protien is filling too. Egg and potato salad is a meal at my house. Hard boiled eggs in the fridge for snacking or quick egg salad sandwich or just salad with egg mix scooped on top.

    I watch sales for fruits and vegies that I cannot grow or gather myself. Carrots and apples are two that I always have on hand. My kids love both and free range on them!
    Cole slaw is another fairly inexpensive/easy to make vegie dish. Store brand raisins

    Wheat bran can be added to cake or brownie mix to add fiber...I add an extra egg and a handful of wheat bran (from health food store) to muffins and cakes. Buy carrot cake instead of chocolate.

    Spaghetti sauce made with homegrown stewd tomatoes and Delmonte sauce in a can with ground turkey, chix, deer...
    Chili is a really good dish for healthy eating. Try a scoop on a salad with crushed tort.chips and hot taco sauce....
    Oatmeal is cheap and good for you....
     
  8. Melissa

    Melissa member

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    I agree with not buying any junk food at all. If you buy even a bag of chips, a pop and one pack of snackcakes, that could cost $3-5. Instead you could buy a bunch of bananas, a bag of apples, and a package of cheese. (thinking of my prices)

    If I have $50 to spend on groceries, I will try to spend about $15 in the produce dept, and that is a lot of fruits and veggies. Once you get used to it and get a stock put back it gets cheaper and cheaper. We are currently spending only about $30 a week on food and most of it is for fresh items and dairy products.
     
  9. ladycat

    ladycat Chicken Mafioso Staff Member

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    That's been my experience. Once I cut out all the junk food, fixed healthy meals based on 100% whole grains, and started buying fruit to snack on, I discovered I was just naturally eating less and less. It just doesn't take much food anymore to fill full.

    I do occasionally make cookies or brownies out of 100% whole wheat flour, but they are so filling that one batch lasts several days (I used to eat a batch of the regular kind in one day).

    It's actually cheaper to eat healthy.
     
  10. Grandmotherbear

    Grandmotherbear Well-Known Member Supporter

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    There is really nothing wrong with eating canned fruits and vegies- read the labels so you're not getting extra salt or sugar- LeSuer tastes so good because they add sugar when they can em!
    I know people THINK fressh is better, but a fruits a fruit. If the produce is way too $$$ buy applesauce or whatever is cheap canned.
     
  11. Grandmotherbear

    Grandmotherbear Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I traded in my pancake syrup years ago for molasses or fruit or apple butter, my pancakes and french toast are whole wheat with flaxseed.
     
  12. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    I use the VERY lean meats, primarily. That means chicken, very lean beef, and so forth.

    Eating large amounts of carbs at one time will make you VERY hungry later on. However, you can eat a smallish amount of pasta, or whatever, and snack on more 2 hours later with a clear concience. You will be MUCH less hungry, and you will be eating fewer calories. You can tolerate more carbs if you eat 3 light meals and 3 snacks a day.

    I try to not eat more than 4 carb exchanges at one time, but I do eat healthy snacks. (4 carb exchanges = 15 grams of carbs X 4. Read the label for how much food is in 15 grams).

    Here is a good recipe that is not expensive.

    Simmer 1 cut-up chicken and a fistfull of oregano in spagetti sauce. Serve over pasta. That will give you vegetables (Spagetti sauce), meat, and a grain product.

    EEEEEKKK!!!!

    I mean 15 gm per carb exchange! I have since fixed it!
     
  13. crystalniche

    crystalniche Well-Known Member

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    My husband is not a person who will voluntarily eat veggies~~meat and potatoes, grinders, pasta or pizza for him. I have to eat a certain way so this made for a food conflict here. I developed a recipe that he loves and it is chock full of veggies too. So simple really.

    In a large skillet you put a pound of the lowest fat ground beef you can find. I like Wal-Mart's 5% the best. Cook it up until it is browned and shows no pink at all. Drain off all fat possible. Now here is the fun part~~~take about 3 or 4 cans veggies that your family likes trying to stay with the lower calorie ones like green beans, yellow beans, carrots etc, drain them and put them in the skillet, add 1 large can stewed tomatoes and a cut up cooked potato or even a small can sliced potatoes~~heat, season and eat! My husband loves this and I can get way more veggies into him than usual. I put in a can of Kidney beans and more veggies if there are more people eating for added protein and more food. I have a really big skillet but you can transfer the meat into a big saucepan after it is cooked and go from there. Also have used instant mashed potatoes as a thickener if I am out of stewed tomatoes~~~just add water and the potatos nothing more as you get a bit of fat from the meat and don't need to add the milk as you would if making them for the table. Makes a thick gravy. Leftover gravy works as well but I'd much rather use the stewed tomatoes or potatoes. When I make this I can choose to take mostly veggies when serving myself leaving the meat for others. My FIL calls this stew. My husband calls it his favorite supper and I call it healthy and good.
     
  14. ladycat

    ladycat Chicken Mafioso Staff Member

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    Bumping so it won't get pruned.
     
  15. marvella

    marvella Well-Known Member

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    i agree. it just takes some getting used to.
     
  16. Candace

    Candace Well-Known Member

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    Having 5 kids meant being more creative sometimes. Things like sweet potatoes are not expensive and most kids love them with a bit of maple syrup and cinnamon sprinkled on top. Regular baked potatoes are super good topped with salsa. We kept chips to a minimum and when we had those, it was corn chips and salsa which is better than some other options. A good hearty meal is to dice a couple of potatoes, chop up an onion or two and saute up in olive oil and a bit of water. Then when that is tender, toss in diced tomatoes, left over broccoli, whatever and heat. Take a few eggs and break over the whole pan and stir in to cook. I think one of the biggest challenges is to avoid buying heavily processed foods that contain a lot of fat. You can make your own muffins, cookies, snack cakes that are much better for your family. I would do a lot of baking on one day and freeze the extras for the week ahead. A super health food diet is very expensive but you can help stretch good-for-you food with basics and by experimenting with spices. I'm going to have a big garden this year and can my own too so that will be something to look forward to!
     
  17. susieM

    susieM Well-Known Member

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    Soup, feedstore wheatberries, soup, porridge, soup. Soup, recipes made with dried bread, soup.
     
  18. wr

    wr Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    I don't feel eating healthy is more expensive at all. I buy absolutely no junk food or prepackaged food at all and I simply stay totally away from those aisles when I shop. As others have stated, most junk food does not satisfy cravings or appetite but generally just leave you wanting more empty calories. If you have a farmers market near you, I urge you to go. I buy my fruit and veggies weekly for less than $20 and I find I have far better control over quality. Even with my kids being older, if they come for a visit, they don't bother raiding the fridge or the cupboards for junk food. My daughter was here tonight and she threw together a salad after she'd used my gym and on friday when she was here, she scrambled a couple eggs. You tend to opt not to eat out of boredom if there is preparation time involved and if you have only good food available, at least if you do overindulge, you aren't doing it on salt, fat and sugar.
     
  19. jenofthewoods

    jenofthewoods Well-Known Member

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    I'm a single mom on a small budget so I know how you feel.
    The thing that helped me the best was to stop shopping at the grocery stores. Once I started shopping at the farmers market I saved a lot on my veggies and fruits.I bought a seal a meal vacuum sealer and I buy in bulk at the farmers markets and seal the rest and freeze the rest. I also bought a used canner and learned how to can fruits and other veggies like tomato's, pears, and beans.
    I cook and prepare a lot of my meals from scratch and try to make things in containers that I can just take out and warm up easily.
    Salad greens are one of the easiest things to grow and its cheaper for seed than what you buy salad mixes at the grocery store in bags. This also allows me to pick what I want when I need it instead of buying stuff and it going bad in the fridge.
    Thanks Jen :)
     
  20. Candace

    Candace Well-Known Member

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    We only have a farmer's market available during the warm months and if I go to the health food/whole foods market I spend much more than going to a 'regular' grocery store. You pay for all organic and it isn't always practical for a large family in my experience. But I think you can eat healthy without having to do all your shopping at speciality stores and canning your own when things are in season is a good option. Even leaving out junk food, a bag of organic apples just cost me $4.99 and the 'regular' apples were $2.49. Even though that's a good price for organic, overall, I still feel like you pay a lot for foods that are labeled more natural and that it is possible to eat a healthy diet without thinking you are restricted to shopping at a health food type grocery and still not have to eat a diet overly concentrated on starchy fillers.