Ever since my grocery budget plummeted to $40 a week for my family of 4, it's been a real challenge for me to make sure we eat healthy. Unhealthy, processed foods are often a lot cheaper than healthy foods. I know people always say that healthy foods are cheaper, but I have really not found that to be the case! Here are some of the ways I try to make sure we eat healthy on a tiny budget.
One way I ensure we eat healthy food, is I only buy seasonal produce. In Summer I buy a lot of tomatoes, zucchini, melons, mangoes and corn, in Fall I buy apples, pumpkins and cabbage, in Winter I buy citrus, root vegetables and winter squash and in Spring I buy lettuce, berries and peas! If I want other fruits and vegetables that aren't in season, I buy frozen (with a coupon of course!:P)
Another way to eat healthy for cheap, is to eat a lot of beans and lentils! Everyone needs protein, but meat is an expensive and fatty way to get it. Beans have no fat, lots of protein and fiber AND best of all, they cost less than a dollar a pound! Eggs are also a good source of inexpensive protein and they cost about $.79 per dozen. We eat a lot of eggs at chez Frugal Liz! Here is a great bean soup recipe:
1lb beans, rinsed and soaked for at least 4 hours
1 onion, diced
1Tbsp dried thyme
1Tbsp dried rosemary
1C diced ham (optional)
Drain the soaking water from the beans in a colander. Meanwhile, saute the onion in some oil or butter, in a large soup kettle for about 5 minutes. Add the beans and enough water to cover by 1 inch. Add the herbs, but NOT the salt. Add the optional ham, if using. Bring the beans to a boil, reduce the heat to low and partially cover the pot. Let the beans simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally and adding water as needed. Add the salt after the beans have cooked for an hour. Re-cover the pot and let the beans simmer for another hour. Dish the bean soup up into bowls and serve with hot bread, slathered with butter and honey! I like to serve bean soup with homemade beer bread rolls.
One way that I really try to ensure that all of my $40 a week are spent wisely, is I never buy soda or chips, or other totally empty junk. Junk food can be a real budget drainer and all it does is harm you! I'm not saying I never buy less than perfectly nutritious items, but I always make sure I have all of the real food FIRST. If I have any money left over, I might buy some fruit snacks, or brownie mix.(Always with a coupon!) I look on those foods as an extra treat, though, not as a guaranteed part of my shopping trip. At least the brownies contain chocolate, which is good for you...Right?:P