How to Eat Healthy on a Budget – 22 Money Saving Tips

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Wellness Mama » Blog » Health » How to Eat Healthy on a Budget – 22 Money Saving Tips

I often hear that it isn’t possible to eat a healthy diet because it is simply too expensive. Thanks to government subsidies of many processed foods, eating healthy on a budget can certainly seem impossible when organic and natural foods can be more expensive.

This doesn’t mean that they have to break the bank though … and you can eat healthy real food on a budget!

We’ve been eating a real food diet for years, and many of those years we were on a tight budget. Along the way, I’ve discovered a few resources and money-saving tricks for stretching a budget while eating healthy foods, so I’ve compiled them in hopes that they can help you too!

Eating Healthy on a Budget: Tips and Tricks

My encouragement to you would be this …

Make real food a priority as a line item in the budget and do the best you can. But don’t stress if everything isn’t organic or perfect all the time. Get enough sleep, sunshine, and exercise (all free) and support your body nutritionally the best that you can.

Tip #1: Embrace Simple Real Food Meals

Convenience foods are almost always the priciest items to buy, and the best way to cut costs while eating real food is to give up convenience foods and learn to enjoy really simple, real food meals. If you haven’t always eaten the healthiest food (I certainly didn’t once upon a time), you may need to redefine how you think about meals.

Oven-roasted chicken, baked sweet potatoes, and a field greens salad piled high with colorful veggies and doused in a delicious homemade dressing? Yes please!

Baked spaghetti squash boats with pastured sausage, sauteed onions, and peppers? Done!

I found that once I made the switch to this type of cooking, I enjoyed not only how I felt but the ease of preparation (30 minute meals in 1 pan anyone?), fewer dishes, and most of all, the quality of the ingredients.

Tip #2: Always Meal Plan!

This alone has made the biggest difference in reducing our food budget and staying on track eating healthy foods. Meal planning allows me to make some foods ahead and have them available for lunches or to repurpose for dinners.

This tip saves not only money, but time. With meal planning, I am able to only go to the store once a week or less and can often prepare most of the food for the week in one day, which cuts down my overall food prep time. I’ve estimated that it saves me over 3 hours a week!

Use a meal-planning app:

These days, I use Real Plans for all of our meal planning, since I can do it all on my phone. I love the ability to browse new recipes, save my own, and create a shopping list at the touch of a button.

Not into meal planning on the computer or phone? For years, I planned meals by hand using a recipe card system and it worked really well too.

To make your own (non-digital) healthy meal plan system:

  1. Write down 14-28 recipes that your family likes that are healthy. If your budget is tight, pick recipes that are also inexpensive to make.
  2. On the front of a 3×5 index card, write the meal and the recipe.
  3. On the back of the index card, write how much of each ingredient is needed for this recipe for your family size. (I usually plan for leftovers for lunches)
  4. To meal plan: Once a week or once a month, pick out the number of meals you need and put them in order for the week. Turn them over, add up the total of the ingredients, and you have a shopping list! (Just cross off any ingredients you have already.)
  5. Stick the cards on the fridge or bulletin board and put them away in your recipe box as you use them.

This system can help you stick to a list, and helps ensure that you always have foods prepared or ready to prepare, which limits impulsive purchasing and eating, not to mention wasted food!

Tip #3: Prepare in Bulk

I’ve found that bulk cooking is especially helpful with regard to meat. When our budget is tightest, I prepare a large, inexpensive cut of meat and reuse it different ways throughout the week. I always keep an eye out for items like turkey, ham, brisket, etc. to go on sale for these occasions.

Some examples of how to repurpose the meats:

  • For turkey: Roll leftover meat in lettuce leaves for lunches; make into turkey enchiladas for dinner; add to omelets; put in stir-fry, etc. Use bones for broth/stock.
  • For beef (brisket, roast, etc.): Season for fajitas; put in omelets or quesadillas; warm up in barbecue sauce; throw in soups, etc. Use bones in broth/stock.
  • For ham: Serve with roasted cauliflower for “ham and potatoes” dish; put in omelets; wrap up in lettuce or put on salads for lunch; make a stir-fry with cabbage for a fast meal, etc. Use bones for broth/stock.

You can also prepare large amounts of ground beef, chicken breasts, or any other meat you have around and structure your meals for the week around this. Fish and seafood is more delicate and not as good to prepare ahead, but quality canned salmon is great in a soup or thrown on a salad, and good for you.

Tip #4: Stretch Meats

Grass-fed, high quality meats and responsibly sourced quality seafood is admittedly more expensive, so stretch them by serving in stews, curries, or a stir-fry with rice. Better yet, use the leftovers to make homemade broth, one of the healthiest things you can eat!

Just use the bones of any meat you eat and leftover veggie scraps to make a healthy homemade bone broth or stock. Store in the freezer or even canned (make sure you follow instructions carefully when using any kind of meat product) to stretch them even further. (I also use this store-bought broth sometimes when I don’t have time to make my own).

Tip #5: Find Inexpensive Vegetables

Veggies can vary tremendously in price, depending on the time of year and the source. Focusing on veggies that are in season will help cut costs some.

In the winter, we use a lot of frozen vegetables since they are cheaper, and in my opinion, fresher than the “fresh” produce that has been shipped halfway around the world. We also eat a lot of seasonal greens and root veggies. Summer means summer squash, salads, peppers, and tomatoes.

Vegetables like cabbage and sweet potatoes are inexpensive year-round and can be great fillers and substitutes in recipes. I stock up on things like these when they are in season, usually buying several cases of sweet potatoes in the fall from farmers markets.

Cabbage costs just pennies a pound from farmers when in season, and can be made into sauerkraut for later use. Winter squash also stores well and we buy this in bulk too. 10 Money Saving Tips for Eating Healthy on A Budget

Tip #6: Order in Bulk

Though there is more of a cost upfront, ordering in bulk can usually save money in the long run. We order non-perishables like coconut flour, shredded coconut, olive oil, coconut oil, herbal teas, liquid castile soap, almond flour, etc. in bulk from Thrive Market at a discount.

We also order cheese in bulk 10-20 lb blocks from an organic farmer who offers raw cheese. Finding these resources in your area can be tricky, but once you find and establish a relationship with farmers, but building a personal relationship with your food source is fun and educational, not to better for you (and the animals, in most cases!).

Tip #7: Find a CSA, Farmer’s Market or Local Farmer

Websites like Local Harvest and Eat Well Guide can help you find a farmer, CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), or farmer’s market in your area. Websites like have resources for finding a local supplier of grass fed beef or other healthy animals.

Ask around too! We get most of our meats and vegetables from Amish farmers, but they don’t have listings online. Check with local health food stores — many will know places to find these items locally.

While it may cost a little more, there are also convenient produce box delivery companies. They support organic farms as well and even offer a natural produce box if organic isn’t in the budget.

Tip #8: Grow Your Own Food

Even if you live in a big city, it is often possible to grow at least some of your own food. Our garden has varied from a 25 x 40 foot garden to 4×4 square foot boxes for vegetables each year. We also have fruit trees, grape vines, and blueberry bushes in the works this year.

With food growing more expensive each year, I think it’s time we brought back Victory Gardens. These were popular during the World Wars … the ideas was that we could all contribute by growing some of our own food. Now, with easy methods like square foot gardening, there is no reason that we all can’t grow something!

Bonus: Gardening has many health benefits besides the delicious and healthy food.

Tip #9: Backyard Homestead!

This can mean many different things to different people, but is essentially the next step up from backyard gardening. Depending on where you live, having bees, livestock, or chickens is a way to cut down the food bill and potentially even have enough to share or sell for extra income.

Here are some tips to get started.

Tip #10: Preserve When Possible

Preserving is another great way to cut down a food bill. Freezing, dehydrating, and canning are all great ways to extend the harvest.

One year, I was able to can all of our tomato products for the year to cut down on BPA exposure from canned tomatoes. We’ve canned several bushels of apples into applesauce. Last year, we also canned condiments and pickles, and will do this again.

Freezing is another way to preserve foods, and our extra deep freeze in our shed has been a tremendous help for storing our 1/4 of beef and veggies from the garden.

Dehydrating is another option, though it takes a while and can be a slow process, at least with my dehydrator. If money is tight, look for dehydrators and canners at garage sales and thrift stores to save money over buying new.

Tip #11: Don’t Buy Drinks!

If you are trying to eat healthy, hopefully you’ve already cut out things like soda, canned drinks, and processed juices from your food budget. If not, do it now! This alone is a big percentage of most food bills and a big step in improving overall health.

Even “healthy” fruit juices cause a big insulin spike in the body, and are expensive without offering much nutrition. Conventional milk isn’t a healthy option either as it contains some levels of hormones, and the nutrients have been largely removed by the pasteurization process. (And we don’t need milk for the calcium, contrary to popular belief.)

Cutting those items from the food budget will often free up a lot of cash for healthier options. Filtered water is a great option (obviously!) but if you aren’t a fan of drinking only water for the rest of time … there are still some healthier and cheaper options for nutritious drinks.

  • Water Kefir or Kombucha – These two beverages can be made at home for pennies and are great sources of nutrients and probiotics. Both are made with different types of reusable colonies of healthy bacteria and once you have these, they take only sugar and water to make again and again. They are so easy to make with these starter kits. Added benefit: water kefir gets carbonated like soda, so it is a naturally satisfying sub for one of the most unhealthy drinks available!
  • Herbal Teas – To help my kids get vitamins in, I make herbal teas and keep them in a large pitcher in the fridge. It works out to under a dollar a gallon, usually much less. The kids love it, and I love that they are getting vitamins.
  • Homemade Milk Substitutes –  Almond milk and coconut milk are inexpensive and easy to make at home and save a lot over store brands. I’ve found that making coconut and almond milk is much cheaper and healthier than buying them. It also lets me sneak in extra vitamins and good fats! Or try my favorite, pecan milk.

Tip #12: Use Cash for Grocery Shopping (& Eating Out)

One of the surest ways to become aware of spending is to use cash. The grocery store is full of impulse buys (and designed to be that way). When you really have to count your pennies, decide upfront what you have to spend on groceries for the month (don’t forget to take online sources and purchases into account) and take that — and only that — shopping each week.

Cutting down on spontaneous purchases doesn’t always feed good in the morning, but when the budget comes in on target and you still served your family healthy meals — it’s gold!

Tip #13: Be Flexible

Be willing to adjust the meal plan based on what is on sale in the store. Sometimes this means refiguring the list right in the aisle, but if it means I can buy a little extra of what’s on sale it helps me stock a real food pantry and put the money-saving power of cooking in bulk to work.

At the same time, challenge yourself to improvise instead of running to the store to buy extra things for dinner. Some great new dishes have come about from repurposing leftovers or modifying a recipe on the fly, and even the “disasters” have been perfectly edible … and healthy!

Tip #14: Don’t Eat Out (Much)

I admit, I love eating out. Not because the food is good (it usually isn’t) but because I don’t have to cook or clean for one whole meal. This is a big deal when you cook three meals from scratch a day and then have to do the dishes. That being said, eating out even once a month can use up a lot of the food budget at once.

Saving the money from eating out lets me provide healthier options for my family at home, and none of us miss eating out much. (The one exception here is t my husband and I go out on a “real date” once a month when have a sitter.)

Full disclosure: I also order from The Good Kitchen sometimes and these are my go-to meals when I don’t feel like cooking. They are real food, delicious and still cheaper than eating out.

Tip #15: Make Expensive Items at Home

In the past, I’ve saved money by making my own natural homemade baby wipes, baby food, and using cloth diapers. All of these items are expensive in stores and healthier when made at home.

Which leads me to Tip 16 …

Tip #16: Make Your Own Natural Beauty and Cleaning Products

This is another area to save money and get healthier options. Try using some homemade substitutes for conventional beauty products or making your own deodorant and toothpaste.

Tip #17: Make Your Own Cleaning Products

This one is so easy and saves a lot of money. If you aren’t doing this already, try it and you’ll be amazed how easy it is. You probably even already have the ingredients at home! Try these recipes to make the switch easier:

Homemade Laundry DetergentTen money saving tips eat healthy on a budget by meal planning, buying in bulk, eating in season, growing some of your food and more.
All-Purpose Cleaner
Natural Oven Cleaning
Homemade Glass Cleaner
Homemade Scouring Powder
Floor and Tile Cleaner

Tip #18: Cut Back on Supplements

While quality supplements are necessary for certain conditions, chances are you can back off of some supplements when you start eating healthier. You can also get vitamins, minerals, and probiotics much more inexpensively by making herbal teas, bone broths, and kefir or kombucha. (Back to Tip 11 for those recipes!)

In general, it is better to have healthy food options than to pop pills.

Tip #19: Exercise at Home or With Your Kids

Chances are you already have running shoes (or exercise barefoot… the trend is growing). If you are paying for a gym membership, consider using this money for real food instead. Do some sprints outside or learn how to do pushups at home. Make exercise fun without being a gym-rat by playing a game of soccer with the kids.

Added bonus: you are keeping your kids active too!

Tip #20: Do a Media Detox

If you’ve made the above changes and money is still tight, consider doing a media detox and cutting back on entertainment related expenses. Face it — the news is usually depressing and it doesn’t seem to be getting much better. Consider getting rid of the cable, newspaper subscription, news radio, etc. to have money to put in healthier areas of your life.

Our kids don’t get video games either (oh, the horror!), and they don’t care… they have this great entertainment called the backyard!

Tip #21: Count Your Savings in Medical Bills

When eating healthy on a budget feels hard, remember the biggest advantage to eating a real food diet: saving on doctor bills! I guess this is largely anecdotal, but with six kids and almost 12 years of parenting, we’ve only had to go to the doctor for two broken bones. I truly believe that our nutrient-dense diet has saved us from the ear infections and constant colds that so many children have.

Tip #22: Don’t Give Up!

Ultimately, we as parents are responsible for the food we bring into our homes. It’s hard to work against the tide but we do have the power to change the food climate and vote with our dollars for better food, at better prices! I’m confident changes are happening for the better and we’re creating a healthier future for our kids.

How do you eat healthy on a budget? Have any additional tips to share?

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


55 responses to “How to Eat Healthy on a Budget – 22 Money Saving Tips”

  1. Deborah Avatar

    I used to enjoy gardening until neighbors trees grew larger and our sunny yard is a thing of the past. I keep forgetting to go to the weekly farmer’s market. But, I did stop buying produce at Aldi, even though their prices are low. The quality {and I’m assuming the nutrition level} were low. So now I pay more for better stuff and our budget is too high. thanks for these tips to lower it. I know we spend too much for non-food items. Wow. I used to make so many things. My son recently commented that I made EVERYTHING when he was a kid! I guess I need to start doing it again!

  2. Jeannine Avatar

    Hey! I just wanted to thank you for this website. I enjoy reading!
    I’m a university student struggling to stay healthy while living in dorm …I come from a health nut family where we grow EVERYTHING we consume from the grains in our sourdough bread, to the steak, pork, lamb and turkey on the barbecue, so … school is rough. But there are a few tips I recommend for students who may not have all their meals on campus, and no budget AT ALL (like me).
    Get a big tub of coconut oil. You can use it on your skin, eat a spoonful of it here and there, and it’ll last all year in a dark, cool place (sounds like a dorm room doesn’t it?) Also, get a large bottle of apple cider vinegar. Again, skincare and internal use that lasts all year! I also spend my weekly cash on carrots. They’re a great replacement for chips, or anything you eat while studying.
    School doesn’t allow for a lot of creativity when it comes to healthy solutions, but there are little things you can do. I’m proud and pleased that my three-fold method to survive (coconut oil, apple cider vinegar, and carrots) have kept me from being sick all year! I’m looking forward to starting a family of my own so I can try all the tips on this website!

  3. Pam Thursfield Avatar
    Pam Thursfield

    I save money by prepping veggies in advance. I buy veggies on Friday depending on sales, prep enough for everyone’s lunches for the week at some point during the weekend, take stock of remaining items, plan meals for the week being specific about veggies to use first. I freeze any scraps for making veggie/chicken stock for only the cost of the stove working….. since I no longer need to add additional veggies, plus also freeze the liquid from cooking veggies (except potatoes due to starch content) for the water to add additional flavour and nutrients. I then use any remaining veggies from the week to either make a freezer pot pie or slow cooker stew on Friday. Less waste and keeps my costs down when purchasing compost bags and garbage bags (now only have 1 little compost bag a week and a little garbage bag a week that has only non-recyclables from meat or plastics that I have not been able to avoid). I could always use a newspaper instead of the compost bag too to save money, but that is my little splurge. I make my own cosmetics, cleaning supplies, and can/freeze/dry anything possible. It was a long road to get to where I am, but each little change I have made along the way has been rewarding and encouraged me to keep going. Pick even 1 suggestion to start with, and go from there, you will find your groove and do great things for you, your family, and your environment.

  4. June Avatar

    I struggled with the cost of healthy meats e.g. grass fed, no antibiotics then I compared prices with Kroger and our local grocery that sells local farmers grass fed beef and the cleanest pork I’ve ever seen. The price difference was very small if any. Even whole foods is not that much more than Kroger. Easy decision….

  5. Sam Avatar

    I have also learned that if you live in a city like I do with multiple farmer’s markets, you can find better prices on produce in the less affluent parts of town. I live in the wealthiest part of Providence, RI and our market subsidizes the markets in the rest of the city so the prices are quite a bit higher. For me to feed our vegetarian family of five local and organic food within our budget, I can’t shop solely at my neighborhood market.

  6. Emily Avatar

    I would love to see an article on the nutrition changes when dehydrating foods, if you have any information on that topic!

  7. Holly Doidge Avatar
    Holly Doidge

    Hello Kate,
    I have enjoyed reading your tips on healthy eating for the family on a budget. I am also interested in this subject. The idea of writing down the top family favourite recipes onto cards and choosing 5 to 7 of them each week really helps with the planning of the shopping trip and budget. I am located in Australia. I noticed that you are in America but your advice can be replicated here. I love the idea of growing your own food. I have not yet tackled this area and would love to research it further. I wonder if the climate where you are is similar to Melbourne, Australia. Square foot gardening sounds inspiring. Unfortunately, my family is not in a position chicken or cow. We are on a small parcel of land in inner Melbourne and the council does not allow any animals other than cats or dogs. My little family would love to have a couple of chickens laying fresh eggs. I think your tips towards making your own cleaning products without all of the nasty chemicals throughout them is informative. Baking soda has so many uses for many different home cleaning products. And saves money for the family. Winning!

  8. Miranda Shipley Gonzales Avatar
    Miranda Shipley Gonzales

    Hi! This website continues to be a phenomenal resource for myself and friends I know across the country and locally. I appreciate your links for finding local resources. I want to let you know, in many towns and cities internationally, there are Weston A. Price Foundation chapters, with the main purpose being to maintain a resource list of local farmers, farmers markets, herd shares, CSAs, and restaurants and care providers upholding these real food standards. Just click on your state and see what town is closest to you, and the chapter leader will respond with the working list!

  9. George Choy Avatar
    George Choy

    I absolutely agree with Tip #6: Grow your own food – it’s a great way to improve our health and save money, without pesticides. It’s fun too.

    If you don’t have much space (or a suitable garden), there are still plenty of plants you can grow in pots, or vertical planters.

  10. Jane Avatar

    I love tips above – and completely agree, especially with #6! I started my own garden less than a year ago and it’s easier that I thought. Growing food is the ultimate way to get almost free, organic produce!

  11. Rachel Finn Avatar
    Rachel Finn

    Looking at this can be really overwhelming. But even just taking a few of these ideas could be really great.

  12. Lindsey Avatar

    This is a really great article, I mostly live off of veggies and while I prefer fresh, I’ll buy frozen for cooking if it’s cheaper… especially in colder weather when i like warm curries and sautees, or wilted salads with roasted veggies. For instance, I went to buy cauliflower and almost had a heart attack because it was about 5$ for a head and I reallllllllllly wanted some nummy cauliflower mash, so I walked over to the frozen section, saw cauliflower for 2 bags for $3 and greedily man handle-scooped them into my basket and ran away like Gollum. lol When I find dicounted bulk veggie bundles, I’ll get them and either freeze or do a quick icebox pickle(depending on the item)if it’s more than i know I’m going to get around to using right away since I’m just cooking for myself. Not only do I prefer icebox pickled things for that fresh crunch, but it’s cheaper than buying peemade and I get to cut out all that extra sodium that even my most prized favorite Clausen pickles have. I also try to use as much of the plants I consume as possible, even thibgs normal people throw away, like the leaves from the head of cauliflower, they are great roasted, they are very fibrous though so simetimws I’ll put them in my pressure cooker and make a lovely soup or braised warm veggies like carrots, cellery, snap peas, and some tumeric, thyme, and herbs or asian style wirh bock choy, miso, ginger, liquid aminos. I also save orange and citris peels to candy, or I dry them and save them for cooking instead of buying roasted orange or lemon zest… and even fresh, so good in salads and even manderin orange zest in a stirfry?! Heaven.

    I also try to grow my own herbs or at least get living ones but I can chew through an entire basil or mint plant so quickly with a pesto and tbh, I love cilantro so much that I can eat a cilantro salad. lol Anyone have tips on how to use herbs with out killing the plant so quickly?

    If one thing is for certain, living freshly is not cheap, I just moved to a new city and still can’t figure out how to best eat for cheap because it’s quite a drive to get to any natural stores and I’m going to be super angry if they don’t have everything I need. lol I hate going from store to store… to store. I feel like what I spent in gas and time.. xc

  13. Audrina Avatar

    Hi Katie,

    I loveeeee your blog! What do you think of the food saver? I know you said that you dont use plastic but i thought that plastic is only bad if it was heated.


  14. colleen Avatar

    Great article. I really liked all the links for homemade recipes. Thank you!

  15. Audrey G Avatar
    Audrey G

    We have a very tight budget (400$ month for our family of four) so I have to prioritize making healthier choices in what we eat the most of. I want to try many of these techniques- my question is: how do you find time to make eerything at home while managing a day with five kids? What does your daily schedule look like? Do you plan a day once a month to make most things (like soaps, cleaners, etc) and a day for preserving foods? I feel like I can barely keep up with toddlers and get the dishes done and dinner made in a day! (I’m also 16 weeks pregnant so that will hopefully change my energy levels once te baby is here).

  16. Tracy Avatar

    I have a question about drinks. It is over.100 degrees F for roughly 5 months if the year here. Replacing salts and electrolytes is essential. Do you have any suggestions for making this myself ? The ones I have made so far have tasted too salty.

  17. Linda Sharkey Avatar
    Linda Sharkey

    While I agree many of these tips can be helpful, I think it’s important to point out that they are not always practical for families on very tight budgets, those with both parents having jobs outside the home, or those without much storage space. Not that many years ago, I lived in a tiny apartment with only a 3/4 size fridge/freezer, and hardly any cabinet space – it made it hard to buy in bulk or purchase extra of anything on sale. Again, not saying you don’t have great ideas, just noting for the record they don’t work for all.

    1. Ashley Avatar

      I was feeling this heavily myself as I read on… I am about to start a new chapter in my life – having my first child, and becoming step-parent to other my significant other’s children. I suddenly have an entire family to worry about feeding, and both of us work full time and have little time to dedicate to food preparation. We live in a small space with a high cost of living. The budget will be incredibly tight. Until now, I’ve been able to afford to eat very clean, because I only had to worry about myself. I had fewer bills to pay and didn’t have to worry about what anyone else might want to eat. Living in an apartment we have limited freezer/storage space. There is a farmer’s market that only runs for maybe 3 months out of the year, with an extremely limited selection. To drive to any local farm, the gas money spent would negate any money I’d save buying direct. I don’t have the money or space to buy much in bulk. It takes a little extra planning and some sacrifice for me to eat well on a budget.

      What I’ve gathered so far, from other advice I’ve come across and my own experience… buy cheap staple items, then plan your meals around what’s on sale that week. Buy larger cuts of meat on sale, and use them for multiple dishes. Eat less meat, and more eggs. Use less meat in dishes that you can supplement with beans. I also put mushrooms in my salads instead of meat. If you see an amazing deal on a large quantity of meat, buy it, then wrap and freeze portions for future use. Purchase only produce in season and/or what’s on sale (including frozen). Certain things are worth it in bulk. I will be getting a Costco membership again, but only for very specific items like organic frozen veggies, cooking oils, coconut milk, nuts, etc. that I’ve found cheapest there. Dried beans, oatmeal, rice, etc. are great to buy in bulk if any local grocery store has bulk dried goods, they are incredibly cheap and keep for a long time. Keep your dishes simple (this one was big for me) – if you season a dish well, it doesn’t need many ingredients to be truly satisfying. Soups are great for stretching ingredients and using leftover meat. I also try to make extra dinner portions to eat for lunch the next day.

      I end up sacrificing in the meat department. I rarely eat steak or seafood. Bacon is a rare treat since I avoid nitrates/nitrites and that means super pricey bacon. I tend to buy whole chickens or thighs and roast them. If I find grass fed beef on clearance, I buy it and freeze it when I get home (the clearance meat is usually reaching it’s sell by date). I don’t buy everything organic, but I try to make the better choice when I can’t make the best choice. For example, the dairy I buy isn’t organic, but it is free of antibiotics and hormones and other additives. This actually makes a big difference in how I feel, as milk that is treated (or any product from such milk) gives me terrible indigestion. I was blaming lactose for the longest time, but lactose hardly bothers me at all these days.

      Oh, another big one – I only drink water, other than my morning cup of coffee (and I get that for free at work). Now to break everyone else of their soda and juice habits….

      I know I could be eating so much better than I am. On the other hand, I eat better than most most anyone I know. Even the changes I can afford in my diet make a huge difference in how I feel day to day. Someday far in the future I’ll have a house and a garden and chickens and a chest freezer and all that good stuff. For now, I do the best I can, and refuse to feel guilty for not doing more.

      I’m sorry for the long long post, but I’ve been giving this a lot of thought, and writing it all out helped me immensely. I hope it helps someone else, too!!! 🙂

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