Sunday, December 4, 2011

"But it's expensive to eat healthy."

I know I said yesterday that we'd talk about sauteing with water today, but well, there's been a change of plans.  I'm much more excited to share this with you.  :)  We'll get to that post later.

So, I hear this one all the time, for some reason there seems to be a common misconception that it's so expensive to eat a healthy diet.   "Doesn't it cost a ton of money to buy all those fruits and veggies?"  I know I certainly used to think so.  In fact I often wouldn't buy "healthy" things because I thought they were so expensive.  Oh,  have my eyes been opened!  This is clearly not the case.  And I'm going to show you why I think so.  I'm excited to share with you the way we have made it work for us.  :)

How much do you spend a week for groceries?  (I feel like this might be a bit personal to share and I'm not sure why.  We all have to buy groceries, we all eat, and surely we all must spend close to the same amount.  Right?)  We have a weekly budget of $150 for groceries.  That might be high, it might be low, I'm not really sure, but for us it seems reasonable with today's inflation.  And this feeds a family of four, two adults and two young kids.  And this is the same amount of money we used to spend buying all the meats and processed foods. 

And here's how we do it.  First I'll make up my weekly meal plan.  Here is what we will be eating this week:

Sunday: Tofurky Roast, and boy was it good!  Mmmmm!!
Monday: Japanese Style Curry with rice
Tuesday: Bean burrito's
Wednesday: Mayan Black Beans
Thursday: Left Overs
Friday: Finger Food Friday Night
Saturday: Out (Christmas party)

And then I'll take a look at the weekly ads and take note of which things are on sale and at which store for that week.  Which often means that I have to go to multiple grocery stores, which is annoying, but often saves us money.  And then I'll make my list accordingly.  This is what my grocery list looks like this week:

Fruits and Veg:
Apples, LOTS!
Oranges (Clementines and juicing oranges.)
Spinach (BIG bag!)
Baby Cucumbers
Green peppers x 3
Avocado x 3
Cilantro x 2
Green Onions
Onions, red and brown
Tomatos x 4 or 5
Spaghetti squash
Green beans

Peanut butter (we go through this like it's going out of style.)
Soy Sauce
Black beans, garbanzo beans, kidney beans
Golden Curry (Japanese Curry)

Snacks for the kids (Goldfish, rice cakes, vanilla wafers.  Whatever is on sale and they pick out.)
Dried fruit (Craisins® or mangos, which ever we're out of for that week)
Nuts (roasted unsalted almonds this week)
tortilla chips (unsalted)

Smoothie fruit
Fake chicken (Quorn brand)
Dino Bites for the kids

Milk (for the kids)
Yogurt (for the kids)
Rice/soy milk (Whichever is on sale that week.)

This would be stuff like plastic wrap, baggies, paper towels, toilet paper, you know, that kind of stuff.  But we didn't need any of that this week.

And there you have it.  We buy all of that from about 3-4 different stores depending on the sales (Costco, Ralph's, Sprouts, Smart & Final, etc).  And all for $150.  We don't buy name brands, and we usually don't buy things unless they are on sale.  I've got a stock pile of all the "weird" ingredients that some vegan recipes call for like nutritional yeast, textured vegetable protein, miso, tahini, and a few other things.

So it really doesn't have to be expensive to eat healthy.  (maybe this is expensive for some, but its no more than what we were paying before we made the switch).  We've added a LOT more produce to our list and taken away from most every other section.  And it's working great for us!

You just start by making little changes.  Every week change something unhealthy for something healthy and at the end of a month or two, you'll be surprised at just how much better you are doing.  Good luck!

Tomorrow we'll talk about eating out.  With the holiday season upon us there is bound to be lots of parties and eating out and road trips so we'll discuss some healthy options.