Healthy Eating on a Budget – with Complete Food List

We’ve all been there, staring at a shelf full of strawberries.  Half of the shelf has your typical strawberries packaged and ready to sell at an affordable price and the other half of the shelf, the better half, has organic strawberries similarly packaged but costing literally twice as much.  In frustration we opt for the cheaper package because we are unable to justify the huge cost difference to ourselves.  Well, all hope is not lost.  Eating well while living on a tight budget is something that can be done.  It’s not exactly easy, but neither are most things that benefit us.  What we need is to think about what we’re trying to do with regard to our food selections and devise a strategy for eating the best foods possible while staying within our financial means.

3 simple tips to help you find organic foods at fair prices

261.  Sign-up for a local organic farmer’s co-op.  These are literally everywhere and are an amazing resource for organic foods at fair prices.  Essentially, you pay a price, usually $100-$500 up front, which the farmer then uses to grow the crop and make a living.  This fee entitles you to a predetermined amount of organic food from the farmer’s yield during the growing seasons.  What’s great about this is you tend to get a box of fresh, organic food every week or two and because its organic and local, you get a wide variety of foods depending on the season.  In the end, it’s worth every penny and you won’t regret your decision.  The only thing to check out is the farmer himself/herself and their farming practices and business reliability.  Check out your local farmer’s markets to find the co-op that’s best for you.

2.  Attend local farmer’s markets.  The organic and natural foods sold at farmer’s markets have to be sold or it will spoil.  So, if you are buying food for the entire week, you can usually haggle a little with the farmers and get the price you need while still getting some quality foods.  Most farmer’s markets are held on weekends and tend to draw a pretty wide variety of natural and organic growers so give it a try.

243.  Make friends at the grocery store.  If you take the time to ask some questions at your local grocery store, you will very quickly get to know the workers there.  Introduce yourself to some of the employees at the store and ask them when the store usually reduces prices on the types of food you like in order to get them sold to bring in new products.  I do this with the workers in my grocery store’s meat department.  Workers tend to be very helpful and if you’re not too picky about the items you’re wanting to get, you can usually discover really great values on the types of things you want.  This sounds strange, but I do it all the time and the employees tend to enjoy “hooking you up” with the great deals when you shower them with the gratitude they truly deserve.  I have one lady in particular who always notifies me ahead of time when her store has too much of a particular types of meat.  She knows they will be slashing prices and I have her set some items aside for me until I can get to the store.  She gets a birthday and Christmas present from me every year!  She saves me hundreds, maybe as much as a thousand dollars every year and the gifts I present her with are the least I can do to show her my appreciation.  This tip is actually the simplest of all of the ones I’ve listed and it’ll pay off big time.

My Authorized Food List

Of course this chart has a ton of great foods, all having different costs for various reasons.  If you take about two minutes to think about it you can easily identify the foods on the list that fit within your budget.

Grain, Flour & Primary Carbohydrate Meat & Primary Protein Vegetable Dairy Dairy Substitute Fruit Nuts, Seeds, Oils, Fats, Spices & Sweeteners
Amaranth Chicken Asparagus Butter Almond Milk Apple Almonds
Beans Beef  Broccoli Cottage Cheese Coconut Milk Banana  Avocado*
Buckwheat Buffalo Cabbage Feta Cheese Hazelnut Milk Berries  Flax Seed
Ezekiel Bread Duck  Cauliflower Greek Yogurt Hemp Milk Cherry Coconut Oil
Lentils Eggs/Whites* Celery Kefir Soy Milk Grapefruit Fish Oil
Millet Fish  Green Beans Havarti Cheese Oat Milk Kiwi Fruit Herbs
Oatmeal  Lamb Kale Mozzarella Cheese Rice Milk Lemon Honey (local or raw)
Quinoa Quail  Onions Parmesan Cheese —– Lime Salt
Sweet Potato Tofu    Peppers Ricotta Cheese —– Melons Spices
Teff Turkey Spinach Skim Milk —– Orange Walnuts
Wild Rice Whey Protein* Tomatoes* Whole Milk —–  Pear      Walnut Oil

*indicates a food that is technically found in another category but that tends to be used like foods in the category listed

Here are a few of the most cost-effective foods I recommend to my clients:

CARBOHYDRATES

Sweet potato              Black bean                 Red bean               Oatmeal          Brown rice

Ezekiel Bread              Lentils                        Buckwheat            Quinoa            -buy carbs in bulk

Fruits: kiwi, berries, apples, oranges, plums, grapefruit, melons

Vegetables: broccoli, squash, celery, carrots (buy frozen when fresh is too expensive)

PROTEINS

Fish (in season)           Eggs                           Chicken                   Lean Beef         Turkey

Lean pork                     Whey protein            – buy proteins in bulk and freeze unused portions

FATS

Walnuts                        Almonds                    Olive oil                  Coconut oil       Peanut Butter

25So there you have it.  Tons of ways to find quality food choices that fall within your budget and a large list of great foods that will support your fitness goals without breaking the bank.  There is one major component to this equation that I have not discussed and that is desire.  Yes desire!  More specifically, your desire.  I can point you in the right direction, I can tell you all the great foods to buy cheaply and I can tell you how and where to find them.  You can have all of this information but if you don’t apply it, use it and capitalize on it, it’s of no use whatsoever.  Be well my friends, be healthy and experience the great benefits that come with eating quality foods each and every day.

I hope you’ll use the information I’ve supplied you and provide me and the others reading this article with an idea of how you applied the information.  You may also have other methods of eating well on a budget in which case I invite you to post that as a comment to this article.  So until next time, eat well, train hard and continue to get better every single day!

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