As a young mother of three beautiful children and the wife of a grad student, I have been forced back into the college budget. You know, the one where after all bills and obligations are payed you have approximately $50 to live on (small exaggeration).
The biggest differences between my current situation and the one I left 4 years ago is that:
- I now have children whom I absolutely want the best for and refuse to raise them on mac’n cheese, chips and soda.
- I myself cannot live happily on processed foods as they make me ill and fatigued.
- My husbands waistline cannot handle the typical college diet of a 20 year old (Editor’s Note: I resent that).
So I am in training to become the master of healthy living on a budget!
Cheap and healthy options for everyday diets
A few ideas to help you eat healthy on a small budget:
- Snacks: carrot sticks, all natural corn chips, Pace Salsa (all natural), celery, all natural peanut butter (no added sugar or preservatives), bananas, apples and grapes.
- Meals: Rice (brown and wild rice are best), potatoes (red and blue potatoes are best), whole wheat pasta, artichoke pasta.
- Vegetables: (frozen is usually best because it was likely picked at peak ripening time and therefore contains the most nutrients), corn, peas, zucchini, squash, and broccoli are all lower cost vegetables.
To be sure that you are getting the most food for your buck, be sure to consider the following purchase options:
- Local Food Coops: Very low cost and provide opportunity for trying out new produce options each week.
- Farmers Markets: You can find food that is far more nutritious and often sells for less than the local grocer.
- Buying in Bulk (e.g. Costco): With 5 mouths to feed the membership fee is more than worth savings. Use coupons and stock up on things that are always in need.
- Meal Planning: Experienced planners report saving of about $250 a month! There are many useful sites for easy meal planning. One of my favorites is Say Mmm.
- Double up: When planning meals, cook enough dinner for two servings so that you have lunch the next day already figured out and you save even more money.
- Vitacost: For all you health nuts out there or those looking to get started in the right direction, allow me to recommend Vitacost. It’s affordable, healthy groceries delivered right to your door with no shipping cost on orders of $50 or more (let’s be honest, how often do we spend less than $50 on a grocery run?).
I hope this is helpful for all you health conscious families out there who are trying to survive in this economy. Please post any other ideas or recommendations in the comments section.