The other thing to keep in mind is that, yes, there are ingredients that you don't have in your kitchen now, once you buy them and start using them they won't be exotic at all. It's easy to start small, choosing a couple recipes that use the same ingredient and sticking to the things you are familiar with for the rest of the week. After a few weeks your cabinets are filled with the ingredients you need instead of the stuff that wasn't good for you.
current weight: 249.4
Fitness Minutes: (44,090) Posts: 196 1/13/12 11:32 A
I agree with everyone's comments. Sales, coupons and seasonal stuff will save you money. Also buying in bulk stuff you will use is very helpful. I buy meat (chicken, fish), frozen veggies and fruits (both mostly used for smoothies and protein shakes), oil, whole wheat pasta and stuff like that in bulk. I also love visiting our local Aldi because they really have some good products in their Fit & Active line and they are always much cheaper than other stores. I also have a backyard garden in spring/summer with lots of veggies and ton of strawberries. This saves us so much doing the season. For stuff we don't grow ourselves, we usually get at the local farmers market!
I understand your dilemma. I will be a certified Personal Chef after May. I have had to make changes as well and if you are new to fresh foods and how to prepare them, it might be intimidating.
I agree with all the comments below. Everyone has contributed very good pieces of advice and there isn't much I can add. But the tops rules I follow are: 1.) Eat in season- Even though our supermarkets have pretty much all the fruits and vegetables all year round, doesn't mean they have the same taste. Also, buying in season costs a lot less. I can't always make it to the Farmers' Market, but I keep to this rule in the supermarket. 2.) Keep the essentials- Every time I go to the store I have to make sure I get the essentials, even if I am not out. Olive oil, garlic, onions, and chicken stock are the four things that are always in my pantry. I know that cooking lighter and healthier can cause a lack in flavor, so I want to make up for that flavor without adding a lot of extra calories. *********Chicken Stock- My secret weapon when it comes to potatoes, rice, peas, etc. Anything that is boiled or cooked in water, you can add stock and it gives it a boost of flavor. Or even using half stock and half water helps. By the way, the only difference between stock and broth is very minimal and since broth is cheaper, you can always exchange it, except if you are making a master sauce. Stock- bones and Broth- meat and bones ************* 3.) Closer to the ground- The closer you get to the actual raw form of a product, the better it is for you, and in most cases the cheapest. Our bodies weren't made for all the highly processed, high preserved stuff that we consume. I am not saying you have to buy Organic. I am saying, instead of buying those canned vegetables, buy frozen or even fresh if they are in season; less sodium and less preservatives. Instead of that frozen General Tso's Chicken, make it. Buy chicken breasts or tenders OR EVEN A WHOLE CHICKEN, you can always fabricate it and have chicken for another recipe or two later that week. If you cook that General Tso's Chicken yourself, you don't have to deep-fry it and put it in a MSG filled sauce. You can put a tablespoon of canola oil in a pan and cut your chicken into cubes and roll them in a little cornstarch and salt and saute them. And you make your sauce and boom- There is your quicker than take out General Tso's Chicken. And it's much healthier for you.
I am sorry for the length, but the points are there.
Your freezer is really your best friend. Build your staples and meat stockpiles slowly when they're on sale. Portion control hits your budget harder than you think. I can make 1 package of whole wheat pasta, 1 jar of spaghetti sauce, and some fresh, relatively shelf stable, produce last two nights for a family of four by baking a loaf of bread and chopping up a head of lettuce and a few veggies for garlic bread and a side salad. You don't need a bread machine to make great bread, just some flour, yeast, and water for the most basic of loaf breads. Soups are a budget saver also, store your leftover veggies and freeze them then boil them up with some spices, a bit of leftover meat, and something like oddments of pasta or a quarter cup of rice and you have a filling and nutritious dinner for pennies per serving. Consider also that by pre-planning your meals and sticking to your menu you'll eat out less often which will yield HUGE savings on the budget. So, while it seems that your grocery costs go up, your actual food expenditures go down.
You can do it,I have been cooking healthier for almost a year due to finding out I had a heart condition and what I started to do was buy fresh produce when it is in season, for the first time in years I have frozen fresh veggies like corn and green beans to have when they are no longer in season. Also I avoid pre packaged foods and make more meals from scratch, like avoid the meal kits like hamburger helper, instant rices and pasta mixes they are convenient but have so much sodium in them.
I have found that when I shop smart and plan ahead it has not cost me more at all.
I find it less expensive too. The comments about pre-packaged and junk food are spot on: expensive and unhealthy. I found one of the biggest savings was in meat. We now eat half of what we used to and meat has got to be the most expensive thing in the store at least in the quantity that we need.
A healthy substitution is to use more non-meat protein like beans or at least use them as an extender like in chili. High in nutrients and fibre and dirt cheap if you cook them yourself. The same is true for eggs now that the RDs realize that dietary cholesterol is not a large problem just limit them to about 1 per day. It's the sat fat that is the problem along with little exercise, ...
Fruit & veggies in winter are pricey but overall the bill is still lower.
Fitness Minutes: (50,532) Posts: 4,487 8/8/11 4:22 P
I agree with the other posts so far, especially about making things fresh and yes there is an initial investment and time but in the long run, you will be paying less.
Growing your own herbs can be helpful because they are so expensive in the stores but inexpensive to grow and harvest. Fresh herbs add so much flavor to foods. All you need is a little windowsill or some sunny patch of yard plus the seeds and compost. We make our own compost with our scraps.
Brandyn--San Antonio, Tx
“Did you ever stop to think, and forget to start again?” A. A. Milne
In a grocery store, shop the whole perimeter, FIRST, and don't get distracted by head of the aisle sales, don't get distracted by walking down the aisle to get just one thing. Wait til you finish the whole perimeter.
Do you have a list, Make it for the store you shop at, Produce, Pastries (slide past) Meats, Cheese (glide thru), Eggs, Yogurts, Cottage Cheese, Milks Juices. Follow your list, Have menu ideas written down and what you really need written down.
Also, if you have a printer available to you, there are coupons you can get and use, example (if you buy 2 jars of spaghetti sauce you can have two coupons for a certain amount off, same with pasta, some veggies and some fruits)
I agree aldi's is great on produce prices, but there is a lot of temptation in that store, before you get to the produce, so if that is a problem??? think before heading in (and they are in the perimeter of the store in most cases.
I live in the EST, posted for need of challenge leaders.
Ohio is the state I was born in, raised in, and lived in all my life!
I actually found that eating healthy is costing me a lot less! In order to eat healthier I have done away with the majority of pre-packaged foods (including diet ones!) and try to make it t home. The diet food industry knows people trying to lose weight will pay almost anything if we think it is even slightly better for us! Most items that are supposed to be healthy can acutally be made even healthier when you make it at home, you skip the preservatives and other additives. I think it is in how you think of it. Take a pizza for instance-most people will pay between $10 and $15 to have a large pizza sent to their house, and between $6 and $8 for a good frozen one. You can make the same darn thing for a few dollars and make it healthier too! The difficulty, I think, is with the "change over" from un-healthy to healthy shopping. There is an initial investment in pantry staples that does make it seem more expensive. If you have never made your own home baked goods then the $4 for flour and the $5 for shortening seems outrageous, but when you get down to it you can make a loaf of bread from those items (plus a few more) for some loose change! Now, bread and pizza isn't the healthiest of items, but they are just a few examples. I shop my local farmers markets for the best deals on fresh produce, and use an actual butcher shop for my meat. Not only is the butcher shop often less expensive, it is fresher and they will trim the fat and skin off for no extra charge! Maybe the thing to do for you is to not completely toss your tried and true recipes you love, but to find out how to make them better for you!
Just for giggles here is an interesting link about the cost of making things at home vs. store bought
First: Welcome to SparkPeople! Cooking nutrition meals can be expensive. Here are a few things that will help you. Plan your menus out for the week or maybe two. Buy in bulk. When on sale, I will buy a tray (about 5 pounds) of boned, skinned chicken breast and grill them. Then I freeze them in meal size packages. Our grocery store has boxes of produce that are less than perfect. I need to use them within a few days, but it does cut down on costs. I really like "The Healthy Cooking Magazine." On line is your best subscription price. The magazine has a lot of good recipes that don't use a lot of fancy or expensive items. They also take recipes that might be high in calories and give you a pared down version. My latest healthy find is whole wheat pasta, rather than use white pasta. Don't be afraid to try ingredients that you might have never tried. Some you will say "where have you been all my life?" others you will put in the category of "if I ever eat that again it will be too soon!" Good luck in your adventure of healthy eating. Sharon
I don't know if you have Aldi stores where you live. Their produce is almost always much lower prices than anywhere else. Whole wheat pasta is.99 A jar of sauce is less than $2. Fresh spinach is 1.69, reduced calorie salad dressing is 1.29. I think their 9 grain bread is 1.69. With some non stick olive oil spray & garlic cloves, you can whip up Spaghetti, Salad, and garlic bread pretty cheap, and very tasty.
Fitness Minutes: (0) Posts: 2 8/8/11 11:37 A
One of my major issues in the kitchen is that good eating has always been so expensive. In addition to that you get out a "healthy" cook book and they name 5 things right off the bat that "MOST" people don't keep handy in the kitchen and you don't use on a normal basis... so when you are cooking on a budget... it's not plausible to go get these items... Any suggestions on healthy... reasonable meals?
SparkPeople, SparkCoach, SparkPages, SparkPoints, SparkDiet, SparkAmerica, SparkRecipes, DailySpark, and other marks are trademarks of SparkPeople, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
SPARKPEOPLE is a registered trademark of SparkPeople, Inc. in the United States, European Union, Canada, and Australia. All rights reserved.