Does it seem like healthy eating and sticking to a budget are diametrically opposed to each other? Organic products are so much 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
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 Instant 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 Instant Pot full and then freeze the extras in 2 cup portions for future meals.
Use Your Freezer
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.
Beans and Rice
Beans and Rice frequently get a bad rap but they are such a perfect way to help you achieve healthy eating on a budget. Here is how I make beans using my Instant Pot. (One important tip about using the instant pot for beans is that you should not fill the pot more than half full, so I stick to cooking a pound of beans at a time.)
Black Beans in the Instant Pot
- Instant Pot Pressure Cooker
- 1 pound dry black beans (Or other similiar sized beans)
- 1 tbsp whey (drained from plain yogurt)
- 8 cups water
- Rinse the beans and put them in a bowl or the instant pot. Cover with warm water & add whey or lemon juice. Cover the bowl and leave overnight.
- Drain and rinse. Place in the Instant Pot with 6 cups of new water.
- Cook on the Bean/Chili setting for 10-15 minutes. (If you don’t want to soak the beans cook for 20-25 minutes.)
- Divide into desired portions, cool and bag for the freezer or use immediately.
We use these beans for beans and rice, black bean chowder, taco night, and burrito bowls.