10 Ways to Build a Whole Food Kitchen on a Budget

We all know the health benefits of whole foods, but with the ever-increasing cost of fresh food, how can we make it happen? Here are a few realistic tips that you can try. You may not be able to make every one of the changes, but for each positive change you are taking steps towards better health!

10 Ways to Build a Whole Food Kitchen on a Budget

Buy localIdeally, you never need to set foot in a grocery store.  Change your shopping habits and buy from local farmers, either directly from their farm or from a farmer’s market.  You will get fresh produce right from the source, and you can also directly ask about the farmer’s practices.

Grow as much as you can in the space you have.  
Plant a sunny windowsill with salad veggies and herbs, grow a container garden on a balcony, or turn your yard into a mini-farm. 

Buy produce that is in-season. Purchasing food that is in season is not only cheaper, but it is nutritionally beneficial too.  Buying strawberries in January and asparagus in October requires the produce to be prematurely picked, and the produce begins to decompose and lose nutrients the second it is separated from the plant.  Avoid the high cost of transporting your “fresh” Christmas berries and melons and stick to the items that nature is currently providing in your area.

Join a food co-op. This is win-win, because it helps out the farmers and it helps out your family. You can even register ahead of time and then receive a box of fresh produce from your own area.  You will get to try lots of new things at a fraction of the price!

Drink water. Water is cheaper and healthier.  Beverages that you make yourself like coffee and tea are far less expensive than the soda pop and energy drinks that fill most modern refrigerators, not to mention, relatively free of the toxic chemicals that overflow the store-bought drinks.

Don’t buy anything with an ingredients list greater than 5 items. The more items on the ingredients list, the more likely you are to be consuming someone’s chemistry project.  Even things that sound relatively innocuous, like “natural flavorings” can be, at best, unappetizing, and at worst, harmful.

Buy staples in bulk. Organic grains like brown rice, wheat berries, cornmeal, barley and oatmeal can be purchased in bulk quantities.  This reduces the price to lower than or equivalent to the smaller conventional packages that are offered in your local grocery store.

Brown bag your lunches.

Too many people eat out every single day at restaurants that offer “healthy” food.  The thing is, the price of that presumably healthy food can be 4-6 times higher than the healthy food that you bring from home.

Cook from scratch. Cooking from scratch doesn’t have to be as time-consuming as you might expect.  I don’t spend hours each day slaving in the kitchen. Spend a weekend afternoon prepping your food for the week ahead and you can have weekday dinners on the table in less than half an hour.

Eat leftovers
.  The act of eating leftovers is almost unheard of, it seems.  But if you put aside small amounts of leftovers in a freezer container, you can make “soup” for a meal that is basically free because it came from items that would have otherwise been discarded.  Use larger amounts of leftovers for lunch boxes or a “buffet-style” meal for the family.

If you’re ready to make a change to a whole foods lifestyle, don’t let your budget hold you back!  Take a long hard look at what you are spending on take-out coffees and lattes, fast food, delivered pizza, microwave meals, and frozen dinners that you shove into the oven. Look at the beverage budget you spend at the grocery store every week, and keep track of how many soda pops you buy from the vending machine at work. You might be pleasantly surprised when your budget goes down, instead of up!

Jamie Silk, RMT 


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