Saturday, January 14, 2012

Eating Healthy on a Budget, Part 3

"Doesn't it cost you a lot of money to eat nutritarian?"

This is a question I get asked frequently. Yes, I do spend more money on produce than my S.A.D. counterparts. BUT, I save a heap on meat and dairy, not to mention fast food! Overall, I think it costs me less to eat this way than when I was eating from the FDA food pyramid.

Since fruits can be the lion's share of the grocery bill, today's post focuses on ways to save at this level of the food pyramid.

Only buying fruits in season in my first technique. But when they are at their peak, I load up! This means freezing or drying what I cannot use immediately. Frozen fruits are great for smoothies, dressings, syrups and some dishes if they are served still frosty. Dried fruits can be rehydrated for recipes and sauces or used for snacking.

For bananas that are on sale: throw them in the freezer, peel and all! When you are ready to use one, drop it in a pan or bowl of hot water for about two minutes. The skin will thaw, but not the fruit. Slit open the bottom end of the banana and squeeze! The banana will slide right out.

I get fruits for free by offering to pick surplus fruit from neighbors, friends and elderly people. In a bumper year, many people have more than they can use and are happy to have someone take the extra. Even fruits that seem too small to bother with are great juiced, pureed, frozen or dried. When the word gets out that you are an avid fruit-picker, you can obtain summer jobs garden- and orchard-watching for families who are on vacation. Most people will let you keep whatever fruits ripen during their absence.

Buying in bulk can offer substantial discounts. For example, when a small box of berries is $4 at the grocery store, I can purchase a case for roughly $2.50 per pound. Bithell Farms is one of my favorite places to get fruit this way. A group of us order enough to send a truckload our way and we get the benefit of nearly-wholesale prices.

Coops and farmer's markets are another way to get less-than-retail prices. In my area, Bountiful Baskets offers roughly 30 lbs of produce each week for an order amount of just $15. Even though I can't order specific fruits (they obtain whatever is available at the best prices each week), the quality and quantity are fair enough to take my chances. I have been introduced to many new fruits this way, such as persimmons.

I get great satisfaction out of growing fruit. Last summer my raspberries produced so prolifically, that I was able to freeze twice as many as we ate, and we have been enjoying them all winter long. We also grew our own peaches, apples and strawberries. This year I am planting goji berries.

Finally, buying fruits and investing in your health is still cheaper than paying the doctor when your health fails from poor diet.

To your health and happiness,
Hailey

6 comments:

  1. I love bountiful baskets! I was so excited to get a watermelon AND a pineapple this week. I am thrilled to start a garden this year. We are moving into our own house this week, and I already have some heirloom seeds for spring! I would love to hear about your gardening tips, I'm definitely a beginner!

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  2. Halley,this is a great article! So was your post over on Wendy's site: http://healthygirlskitchen.blogspot.com/ Regarding your life in a house of Omnivores. It really resonated with me. I'm a Healthy Vegan (Nutritarian) in a house with one Vegan teen, 3 Omnivorous boys, and One die-hard Carnivore Hubby. :) Like you, I find that living by example is the best way to make a difference in their lives. It's good to know I'm not alone! Please feel free to stop by and check out my blog at: http://findingthecouragetoheal.blogspot.com/

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  3. By The way, I just followed your blog, and wanted you to know that VeganRican is me, TanyaS. :)

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  4. I have come to hear about Bountiful Basket before and it actually is incorporated with eating healthy on a budget. :)

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  5. I love this post! It’s amazing how many people say they can not afford to eat healthy when they actually spend so much and junk that has no nutritional value.

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