Member Comments for the Article:

Eating Healthy on a Budget

Save Money Without Sacrificing Quality


10/1/2011 2:36:44 AM

When I have the time, I like to make breakfast & lunch ahead of time to save some on meals... especially during the summer, I buy 2-3 baskets of berries, melon, pineapple, and 2-3 other kinds of fruit - peaches, apricots, mandarins, mangoes, whatever's in season - cut them up as soon as I brought them home and divide the fruit salad among 7 tupperware containers. Then I'd make some sort of pasta/grain salad (pasta salad, tabbouleh, etc.) or hearty soup and divide it among 7 more containers. Usually eat the fruit salad with a banana and either oatmeal or low-fat yogurt & granola to hold me over until lunch (oats/granola are much cheaper from the bulk bins) and pair the salad/soup with a simple sandwich, wrap or leafy salad. Freezing your own fruit is super cheap when it's in season - I just got done freezing a dozen huge organic mangoes I got for a dollar each a few weeks ago, now they're already back up to $3.99! Stuff I consume on a daily basis usually come from Costco so I'm getting a deal on a case instead of getting them everyday from the store - but I have to avoid the temptation to buy the tub of chocolate caramel macadamias every time *drool*
7/27/2011 7:55:47 AM

My family eats pasta that incorporates legume flour. (A popular brand is Barilla Plus) It's much higher in protein than regular pasta and doesn't taste as different as whole wheat pasta. It's more expensive but still much less expensive than meat.
5/9/2011 8:21:49 PM

really excellent suggestions!!
4/18/2011 10:40:12 AM

CWELLS67's SparkPage
I totally hear the budget issues. Here's how I get around it - I go to the local Asian markets and buy frozen on sale. If you have one near you, Asian market produce is often cheaper and fresher than the American grocery stores, and you can try some different fruits and vegetables as well.

I am always looking on my grocery stores' websites to see what is on sale that week to consider purchasing. When there is a sale on frozen veggies, I make space in my freezer and buy what I can. I am also a huge fan of soups and casserole-type dishes so I can have leftovers for several days or put stuff in the freezer.

I hope that helps!
4/14/2011 2:51:24 PM

CAPARSLEY1's SparkPage
AJWHITTI...We sound like we're exactly in the same boat. My husband is in sales, and paychecks are either bad or really bad. Rarely are they good. Not only am I trying not to sacrifice my health by buying the processed foods, but I'm seeing weight gain in my children, and I absolutely do not want them to develop bad eating habits, like myself!! Staying away from processed foods is a MUST for me and my family. I have to make it a priority! I, personally, decided to give up my second favorite thing next to food! CABLE!! LOL This helped me make a little more room in our budget. Maybe you've tried everything and there is nothing else left to do...believe me I'm there too!! It angers and frustrates me that everyone screams, "eat fresh, eat organic" but hardly make it accessible, nor economically "friendly". This article, although great, is not really giving me any ideas I'm not already doing....but the idea here is to train your mind and your body to stop cravings, or to "feel full"and you cannot do that with processed foods. And usually, I have found that processed foods lead to higher food consumption which also is not "economically friendly". Although a bag of chips may last a week (not in my house, but maybe someone else's ;) ), so will a head of lettuce when used for sandwiches, or the occasional side salad. Which one will leave you and your family feeling full or satisfied? A bag of chips eaten, will lead to another bag of chips opened, and if you're like me, maybe in the same day. But rarely is a head of lettuce, solely consumed, going to lead to another head of lettuce opened in the same day. One thing I am working on training myself to think (and not always successful, but someday I will be) is not, "what do I FEEL like eating", because the answer will always be pizza and a Dr. Pepper, BUT instead I ask myself "what will fill me up" , or "hold me over until dinner?" The answer is NEVER anything processed! Lastly, another thing that has helped me out, is getting familiar with sites like Passion for Savings, and Hip2Save. So many great ideas for families on a budget!!
4/14/2011 12:11:23 PM

SROBERTS82's SparkPage
I saved money by learning to cut up a whole chicken. The store frequently has them on sale for 79c a pound, and I will buy a couple and cut them up and freeze the parts in dinner size packages. Then I take the backs and leftover bones and use them to make stock, which I also freeze. I use everything except the skin and fat! My freezer is always full of chicken for less than I can grow my own!
4/14/2011 11:55:34 AM

It all looks great on paper, but before SP, I was on a budget of 70/week for a family of 5. Now I spend up to 150/WEEK, and its all the fruit and fresh veggies. I'm really not sure how much longer we can do this. It is really sad that to eat healthy you have to spend tons of money. Every time to go to the store, I get so anxious, knowing that I am spending all of our budget on fresh produce. Honestly, I know everyone is having the same problem. It is not a matter of budgeting... I budget to the point of insanity. We are a family of 5 on a single income UNDER 35,000, with a mortgage. We even cloth diaper to save on baby expenses. The poverty level in this area is so high that the income levels are still below ours for things like food stamps. It is just really depressing.
4/14/2011 11:11:11 AM

CHARTMAN1112's SparkPage
Great Article!!! I have made saving money my new hobby. I stock up at a local grocery store's meat sale twice a year. I make my own laundry detergent, which costs about $7.00 a year. Three years ago, I started growing my own organic vegetables, fruits and herbs from seed, with a compost pile and rain barrel. Initial investment was high, but this year I planted my entire 12' X 24' garden for $13.00. Eight tomatoes plants cost less than 1.5ยข each and I'll have enough spaghetti sauce for a year. Buy fruits directly from a local orchard, and can them. It is actually more fun than I thought it would be and gardening is great exercise, and if done right takes less time than you think.
4/14/2011 3:17:11 AM

TERIANA's SparkPage
HA HA--OMG, when I first read the teaser for this article I thought it said, "How to Prepare NASTY and Nutrititious Meals on a Budget"

Great money savers? Dried Beans. Nothing better than homemade turkey chili!
3/6/2011 7:42:50 AM

Unfortunately it is difficult to save any money when choosing to eliminate processed foods, sweeteners, grains, dairy, etc. I prefer organic and that stuff is never on sale, grrr. The only way I do save a buck is by shopping for meat at a warehouse store and getting huge packs of meat at one time. I find it takes only around an hour to divide everything up and put it in the freezer. The time spent is worth the $1+ a pound I save. I wish eating healthier, aka no processed foods, was more economical. I am looking into buying into a "share" this coming year.
3/2/2011 4:31:33 PM

METALCHIK1986's SparkPage
I really liked this article! Really good at having a "feel good" approach to cooking healthily on a budget. Thanks for sharing.
12/28/2010 8:33:10 AM

Very interesting article. So interesting, in fact, that I would like to share a portion of it with some non-Spark friends.

Is it ok if I extract a paragraph to repost elsewhere, as long as I give credit to SparkPeople and the article's author?
11/7/2010 2:20:25 AM

I love a freezer, pressure cooker, Costco, & buying in bulk, & I cook for just me. I don't think I could afford to eat healthfully otherwise. I have to watch sodium so many canned foods are out. I hate to cook, but if I can do it in batches & get it over with, I'm good. Great ideas!
9/27/2010 6:30:33 PM

CMFARRELL36's SparkPage
I should have said - those items in my first paragraphs are for shared facilities. 1 cooker, 1 or maybe 2 fridges, maybe 1 freezer etc - per 10 to 12 students.
And they are not allowed electrical cooking equipment in their rooms. So no personal kettle, toastie maker, whatever.
9/27/2010 6:28:03 PM

CMFARRELL36's SparkPage
I agree with all the things said, and it's all really good advice.
My one concern is that student here in the UK don't always have access to a safe fridge or freezer - or even cooker. Safe - I mean that they can go back to the fridge and still find their own yogurt that they left their 2 hours ago. Et cetera.
Halls of residence are now nearly all self-catering, but they provide only the very lowest of basic necessities - a fridge, a freezer, a cooker, a kettle - and some provide a toaster. Many don't even provide a microwave.
However, whatever cooking provisions are provided, the student still has to be able to store their food and their crockery/cutlery/ cookware whatever - plus washing-up stuff - and all without necessarily a kitchen locker that's big enough for the task, or a fridge with locker compartments.
Students can't spend time every day to shop for fresh produce or other fresh food items. And the lack of honesty, not to say downright theft, that happens is disgusting. It's no wonder that many of these young folk end up looking unhealthy by the end of their first year. The hall of residence has more than helped for this to happen.
If youngsters are to try to be healthy after they leave home for college or university - that intention really MUST be facilitated by the appropriate university department, to ensure that the students have sufficient and secure storage.

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