frugal healthy Eating
One thing I always hear is “It costs so much to eat healthy”. This is wrong. This is very wrong. Frugal healthy eating is not hard but it does take work. I eat more food now than I did when I was over 300lbs and it costs me LESS. How? Because I stopped making excuses and started making changes. If you buy healthy perishable foods then go out to eat or eat unhealthy microwave meals, letting the perishable food rot, then YES it is going to be more expensive. If you actually eat that healthy food, rather than let it go to waste, you won’t be going out to eat or eating unhealthy cutting out a lot of food you already didn’t need. Buy it, then EAT IT! Don’t let it go to waste. Also, not all healthy food is perishable. Stop thinking only food that goes bad if not eaten and start thinking Chicken, Turkey, Frozen Vegetables, Brown Rice, Oats, and a lot more! Stop thinking about cutting calories and start thinking about cutting out processed sugar packed foods. We have created just a few steps for you to get started with your frugal healthy eating habits.
Keep up to date on your local grocery ads
Our local Price Chopper has to be one of my favorite places to go. They now know my name and even tell me about upcoming deals, a huge benefit of simply being friendly with everyone. Fruits and vegetables are always going on sale and I am always stocking up. Huge bag of broccoli for .69c, I buy all of them. Chicken has been as low as $1.19 a pound, I buy however much will fit in my deep freeze. Same with Swai filets(as low as $1.27 per lb.), and Eggs(as low as .49c a dozen). Fresh fruits and vegetables don’t last very long in our house. Our rule with the children is you never have to ask to eat fruits and vegetables if you’re hungry, have at it. Every week there is a different deal on fruits and vegetables so there is always an ever changing variety. Your local grocery store will usually send out a mailer, don’t just toss it keep a close eye for it and make lists. Our local store also prints on the receipt how much money was saved, it’s great seeing the money saved larger than the actual purchase. Watch this number grow even more by combining coupons with great sales. Always compare prices, local grocers will compete with each other for your business and usually price match as well.
Buy a Deep Freeze
Our deep freeze was one of our smartest purchases. It has saved us so much money in food that it has already paid for itself, mind you this was also a frugal purchase at $50 on a local Facebook group. We watch local grocery prices like the stock market and buy low, stocking that deep freeze to the top with great foods. Our first filling of the deep freeze was over $70 in savings and lasted nearly a month. This is a MUST for anyone wanting to start eating healthy without breaking the bank.
With the deep freeze holding an abundance of food our freezer now has a lot of room. Meal prepping our own frozen meals has been one of the most convenient ways to eat with our busy schedules, also one of the most frugal healthy eating habits of our household. We are constantly on the go with work, kids, fitness, family, farm work, and friends. Meal prepping has also given us the advantage of variety, getting discouraged with the same food everyday is an absolute diet killer. Don’t fall victim to this. Just because it’s healthy doesn’t mean it has to be the same thing everyday. The only downfall to meal prepping is you HAVE to make the time to cook multiple meals, set aside at least 2 hours on a day off and just cook. It will be worth it, I promise. Making 40-60 meals in one setting can be a task but once you are finished you will see the reward, 40-60 meals that you don’t have to worry about for quite some time! So open that cabinet, let the avalanche of Tupperware fall everywhere and start matching those lids!
One of my favorite times of year is when the Farmers Market is open. The hunt for good deals and great food is exciting! The Farmers Market Hustle(the kids and I’s name for it) has become a great experience for them as well. I talk to my children about the foods we are buying and they ask many times “What is THAT”, them asking questions opens a great dialogue about what we are buying and why we are buying it. Then I completely contradict myself and buy them cookies and myself a gooseberry pie(for my cheat day, promise) from the sweet elderly lady three tables down. I recommend avoiding the last part.
We do not have a local Farmers Coop but I have friends that live in areas with them. Fresh Fruits and Vegetables delivered to your door for a flat fee is a genius idea, and the variety is awesome. I have only heard great things and can only hope a local one starts near us.
Buy Ugly Fruits and Vegetables
1.6 billion metric tonnes of food is wasted in the world yearly. A significant portion of that number is simply because it’s ugly. It tastes the same. Has the same nutrients. Just looks different. It just doesn’t look like the food we are used to looking at. Start asking your local farmers and grocers what they do with the ugly fruits and vegetables. You may be able to get them at a largely reduced rate, making ugly food one of our top frugal healthy eating tips.
Grow your own food
This one takes some work. Having a small garden can seem easy enough but it may take some serious time to maintain, if you have the time then I would highly recommend it. It can be very therapeutic and a great learning experience for you and your children, while also providing you with great tasting healthy food you can be proud of because YOU grew it. We are starting our largest garden to date this spring and the kids couldn’t be more excited, teaching them how to grow their own food means I will never have to worry about them going hungry. These are valuable skills that every family should know. I would highly recommend at least starting a small garden and slowly expanding every year as long as you have the room to do so.
Raise your own food
Raising your own food can be both time consuming and have large upfront costs. We currently have chickens that lay some of the most delicious eggs I have ever eaten, but when I can get eggs every 3 weeks for .49c/dzn from the grocery store it seems impractical to spend so much on chicken feed. I am contemplating getting a milking goat this spring, my wife looks at me sideways every time I mention it. I drink a significant amount of goats milk from spring to fall but I am worried about the burden of having another animal. I’m leaning more towards staying with my local goat farm. I am able to get a fresh half gallon for less than $2 without having to worry about a goat getting out and jumping on our vehicles, in turn making my wife right which I will never hear the end of.
Another cost effective way is to Hunt and/or Fish for your own food, my father is an avid hunter meaning we get a lot of deer meat and fish. I am not a hunter myself but can appreciate a good cut of deer meat.
Purchase a whole butchered animal
An alternative to raising your own food is purchasing an entire butchered animal from your local butcher. Many times I get asked if I want to “go in” on a half a hog or a half a cow. This is where the deep freeze comes in handy, I would decline if we didn’t own one that is a lot of meat. The flavor of the fresh meat can’t be beat and the cost saving is amazing, this one scores high with our frugal healthy eating.
This is a simple one everyone knows about. If you are a member of a club keep an eye on the ads just as you would with your local grocer. If needed find a friend to split the cost so you don’t have an abundance of food you may not finish. And don’t forget to buy low and stock your deep freeze.
Healthy eating does not have to be expensive, use these tips and tricks to save money and continue on your path of transitioning to a healthy lifestyle! What are your favorite frugal healthy eating tips?