In this economic climate everyone is looking to see how they can cut their expenses and trying to eat healthy and save money at the same time takes some extra effort. Organic products are more expensive than regular grocery items especially if you buy them at the grocery store. There are no coupons to save you money and sometimes finding the items requires a trip to stores like Whole Foods or other natural food sources that aren’t known for their cheap prices. You are going to have to make choices. Your family only has so much to spend so what are the wisest choices you can make to eat the best?
First of all, pray that God will give you wisdom and the vision to see what your choices are. He will honor that request. We can not make eating healthy an idol in our lives. We should pursue good health so that we can better serve our God not so that we can have the perfect body and live without illness.
Eat seasonally. By eating seasonally you are gaining the best nutrient dense foods plus those foods are usually cheaper because they are bountiful. If you have a garden it is even easier to do this. Watch for new sources for great food. Food Co-ops like Bountiful Baskets or CSAs can offer you wonderful food for much lower prices.
Buy in bulk. I stock up on our main foods at Costco and from Azure Standard. Buying in larger quantities can save you lots of money. For example, I can buy 25 pounds of dried organic black beans for $1.00/pound, which makes about 100 cups of cooked beans. To buy one can of organic black beans it costs $1.43 for 1 ¾ cups of beans. For the cost of 1 can of prepared beans I can make over 6 cups of beans. Cooking beans is one of the easiest foods to prepare and one that my crock pot takes care of for me so it requires very little effort on my part. (See below for my recipe for cooking beans easily.) I usually fix a whole crock pot full and then freeze the extras in 2 cup portions for future meals.
Put your freezer to good use. When you are able to get a good deal on produce, preserve as much as you can for the future. I also like to buy big bags of frozen veggies from Costco for quick meals. They have more and more organic choices and for feeding the family it is much more efficient to buy the large bags for several meals then to buy the small bags at the grocery store.
Be creative in using your leftovers. I like to make soup with some of the bits and pieces left over from other meals. It is like making a meal for free when you can use the leftovers.
Make sure your meals include whole grains and beans. Not only will you get wonderful nutrients from these foods but tummies will fill up and not require so much of the more expensive foods. Make sure to soak your grains with whey or lemon juice whenever possible to make them more digestible.
Find a farmer’s market or participate in community supported agriculture. A great source to find the ones in your area is www.localharvest.org.
Be a good steward of the budget you have for food and be creative in finding ways to obtain your food and you will be able to eat healthier for a lot less. May God bless your efforts!
5 cups of black beans (or most other beans: kidney, navy, or pinto)
3 quarts Warm filtered water
4 tablespoons of whey (the clear liquid that separates from plain yogurt or raw milk) or lemon juice
Rinse the beans and put them in a bowl. Cover with warm water & add whey or lemon juice. Cover the bowl and leave overnight. Drain and rinse. Place in the crock-pot on low for 8-10 hours or high for 4-5 hours until desired consistency.
Cool and bag for the freezer.
This recipe is from Sue Gregg’s Soups and Muffins Cookbook.
Black Bean Chowder
From Soups & Muffins p. 82
Serves 8 to 10 About 14 Cups
1. Bring water to a boil with rice and potatoes; lower heat to a very gentle boil, uncovered for 30 minutes:
2 1/2 quarts water
1/4 cup brown rice, uncooked
2 medium potatoes, unpeeled or peeled, cubed
2. In a separate pan sauté vegetables in oil:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped or1/4 cup dried green pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
3. After potatoes and rice have cooked a full 30 minutes, add remaining ingredients and continue a very gentle boil about 1 hour until chowder is slightly thickened:
15 oz. can black beans, undrained (I use my cooked beans from the freezer)
15 1/4 oz. can kidney beans, undrained
16 oz can Vegetarian Beans in Tomato Sauce
1 1/2 cups frozen corn
1 teaspoon ground cumin seed
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
3 tablespoons Sue’s Kitchen Magic Seasoning
4. Remove bay leaf. Top each bowl of soup, as desired, with:
grated cheddar cheese,
chopped fresh parsley or cilantro