Part 3 of a 4 part series about eating the Frugalest Diet and Healthy too.
Part 1: Frugal-est Meals and Healthy Too!
Part 2: Getting Your Family to Accept a Healthier Diet
In our last 2 posts, we talked about how it is possible to eat frugal and healthy. In this post I will share tips to buy and cook healthy meals that don’t cost a fortune.
In the American culture we often see a rich diet as a healthy diet, and a frugal diet as a poor diet. Funny thing is if you really look at the costs you find the frugal and healthy don?t have to exist in separate sentences, or social classes. The key to keeping things frugal AND healthy is to keep things simple. Here are some tips to do just that.
1) Processed Foods Are Out: This really should be a no brainer, but many people justify that if it is on sale, or they have a coupon that makes it better. The problem is, that processed foods are nutritional vacuums. Why waste any money on food that is not doing the job it is supposed to be doing, which is nourishing your body.That is simply not frugal.
2) Buy foods in their Natural form only: Stay away from packaged foods, if at all possible, chances are good you paying for that packaging. Don’t buy your mashed potatoes already mashed, and your chili already made, why pay for some one else to do the work for you? Plus you are paying for additives, and preservatives designed to make it look and taste better when you can do that at home without the chemicals for free!
3) Base your meals on low cost Vegetables, beans, grains and fruits: We all need some variety from time to time, but if you base the majority of your meals on low cost items, you can build around that. Start with potatoes, root vegetables, greens, oatmeal and other grains, dried beans, rice, apples, bananas, and oranges.
4) Add a few Items that are in season: Seasonal buying is a great way to save money and add variety. When in season, foods are at their prime, and are usually at their cheapest. And an added bonus is fresher, local, in season produce is normally higher in nutrients.
5) Buy extra and save for later: When produce is in season, buy extra and freeze. Freezing preserves nutrients,you save money and add variety to your diet at a time when these items are at a higher price. We buy blueberries in July, freeze them, and have them thru the winter.
6) Eliminate or limit expensive Dairy and meat products. Face it, the majority of high fat items are animal based, or processed junk foods. If you need to give your kids milk, that is fine, but most kids get way more dairy in a day than they need. Once you figure in the milk, cheese, yogurt, and ice cream it is not hard to go way over the recommended amounts. Acquaint yourself with the daily recommendations and try to stick to them. Meat should be used as a condiment, not a main course and should never be fed more than once a day. It has taken on an over important role in our diets, and needs to be put back in perspective. It is only a small fraction of our daily calories at best, and can be cut back to a few days a week with not ill effects.
7) Be prepared to cook: Ok so yes you need to learn to cook. Is that so bad if the results is a much lower food bill and a much healthier and productive family? Are you willing to trade cavities, obesity, and diabetes for greater health, behavior and happiness?
I know you are wondering where to find all these great recipes? In the last part of my series I will share a few tried and true recipes, sites and ideas that will help you on your path to frugal eating and greater health.