- Don’t buy junk food – prepared baked goods, cold cereals, soft drinks, potato chips, fast food, etc. Though these foods are convenient and taste good, they usually cost more and are much less nourishing. Use the money to buy whole foods. Think of junk foods as putting the balance into negative – financially and nutritionally.
- A low fat diet with low fat foods is nutritionally deficient and will ultimately result in poor health and hormonal imbalances of various kinds. We need some fat, including saturated fat, in our diets. Avoid hydrogenated fats (margarine, shortening) and include a variety of natural fats in your foods.
- Buy butter. Margarine and shortening cost less but in the long term they can lead to many degenerative diseases.
- Use olive oil in place of any other vegetable oil. Commercial oils are processed with heat and chemical deodorizers to disguise the rancidity and bad flavor of the oil.
- Purchase natural peanut butter. Most peanut butter contains hydrogenated fats (trans fats), sugar, salt and other additives. Smuckers is a brand that is available in many grocery stores. Trader Joe’s own brand is less expensive than Smuckers and quite acceptable for consistency and flavor.
- Buy fresh vegetables in season. Some of the least expensive are very nourishing – cabbage, carrots, zucchini, onions, broccoli, cauliflower, chard, and kale – and they are not hard to prepare. Prepare and serve vegetables with butter for best assimilation of the minerals they contain. Consider buying bulk in season and freezing or drying the excess.
- Make soups a part of your diet. Soup stocks from meat bones have formed the basis of nourishing diets for hundreds of years. They are full of minerals and other nutrients to build bone and calm the nervous system. They cost very little and have a protein sparing effect. That means you can get by with less meat in the diet with properly made stock. Soups can also be a delicious way to use leftovers.
- Substitute brown rice for white rice and in general whole grains for refined grains. Refining the grain removes many nutrients and much of fiber. “Enriched” foods have a few synthetic vitamins added but this process cannot replace the nutrients taken out by the refining process.
- Meat, beans and rice can be prepared ahead of time and frozen in portion sizes. For example, when you need 1 pound of ground meat for a meal, cook four pounds and freeze the extra. This speeds meal preparation considerably. Alternatively, an entire extra dish can be prepared and frozen for use at another time.
- Plan for leftovers. A chicken can be roasted for dinner one evening and the bones can be used for soup the next day. Meat from making broth can be added to salad, soup, or made into sandwiches. Leftover vegetables can be added to soup or casseroles. Leftover hot cereal can be fried or used in baked goods.
- If you work full time, you might want to try planning and cooking ahead for a week in one day – or even longer if you have access to a freezer.
- A crockpot can be wonderful for a busy person. If you are going to be gone all day, take a few minutes to put your main dish into the crockpot in the morning and it will be done when you come home. You could also put the meal in the crockpot in the evening and just plug it in when you get up in the morning.
- Many fresh vegetables can be washed and cut up ahead of time and placed in the refrigerator.
- Fresh vegetables and fruit are the best tasting and have the most nutrition for your money. Most canned vegetables have too much salt and other preservatives added. Canned fruit usually has sugar added. Frozen is better. Buy in season and the cost can be reduced.
- Commercial bread, even a whole grain product, usually contains various additives that can be harmful. Sprouted grain or spelt bread is a better choice nutritionally. Consider making your own bread.
- Commercial salt can cause many problems and is missing the minerals of natural salt. Even though it is more expensive, naturally processed salt, like Celtic Sea Salt, is an investment in better health. Trader Joe’s carries a natural sea salt that is a reasonable price. Real Salt, mined in Utah, is another alternative that can be ordered online and can sometimes be found in bulk food stores and health food stores. This salt is more finely ground and so more easily used in salt shakers.
- Costs can be cut with careful meal planning. Casseroles, stir fry dishes and soups can be very cheap to make. Ground meat can be less expensive than other cuts and supplies the same quality of protein. Beans combined with whole grains supply adequate protein and are a good source of many vitamins and minerals.
- Eggs are a nutritional powerhouse. They provide protein, vitamin A, folic acid, essential fatty acids, and other nutrients. If they are pastured, they are also a source of vitamin D. Even the best quality eggs (that is organic and pastured) are a relatively inexpensive source of protein. Search out and buy the best quality that you can afford.
- Consider growing your own produce or some of it. There are many excellent websites and books, if you wish to experiment with this and have the time and space. Gardening is also free exercise!
- Start your own indoor garden! Sprouts are an excellent and inexpensive way to get good nutrition into your diet.
- Experiment with different spices. This lends excitement and variety to your cooking and gives pleasure to your family. Ethnic dishes can be nourishing and low cost. Be willing to be creative. The library has many different cookbooks to loan if you are looking for ideas. Internet searches can also be fruitful, especially if you are searching for specific recipes or ingredients.
- Don’t try to change everything at once! You are likely to be overwhelmed and give up. Try one thing at a time and then add something else. Like much of life, this is a process.
- Planning can save time, money, and frustration. Keep a weekly menu posted on your fridge and use it.