Healthy Eating For Poor People
I once went to a class that changed my life. Well, okay, I have been to a few classes that have changed my life. The class I am going to talk about here was simply called something like Buying Food On A Budget. I had thought it might be a couponing class or something along those lines. I am not an avid couponer. I don’t care for a lot of the foods coupons are geared towards. They are usually full of preservatives or sugars or just plain are not good for you. This class was not about coupons. It was about being able to feed your family well with a minimal budget. I will go through a few of the tips from that class. This page can be expected to change as I revise or find new ideas.
- Set a budget.
- Create a menu.
- Purchase items needed for the menu. Try to go as vegetarian with your menu as you can. Meat can be expensive. Most veggies are not.
- Cut out junk food.
- NO impulse buys. Make a list and STICK TO IT.
- Stock up on non-perishable or freezable items when you find them on sale.
- Make as many of your foods as you can. Making your own crackers, bread, etc. will save a small amount per loaf/box of crackers/etc., but think about how much it will save you in the long run. You can make the amount of a box of crackers for less than $1.00 while the box will be upwards of $2 or more. I figured that the bread I make costs me about 2.50 per loaf, and that is using pretty pricey flour (flour is one of the items I am willing to spend a lot on. It does make a difference). I will also use chicken carcasses to make chicken stock, which I then freeze for later use.
- Set aside a “making day” for making up rice, crackers, breads, and anything else that takes a bit of prep. This will cut down on time needed to make dinners during the week.
Most of this is pretty self-explanatory. A tip I learned from this class is that if you do purchase meat, find out when your grocery store puts its meat on “manager’s special” or clearance. This tip has saved me a ton of $$. I even managed to purchase organic, free range, vegetarian fed chicken for less than the regular brine-soaked, living in packed quarters chicken. I usually buy it and pop it immediately into the freezer. I separate ground beef into 1 lb packs of baggies, then place a few 1 lb packs inside of a gallon freezer bag. This helps with freezer burn, but I still try to use them up within a few months.
The recipes I post here will have approximate prices. Prices DO vary from store-to-store and from state-to-state.
Items I Keep In My Pantry:
- Flour (I keep all-purpose, wheat, and bread flour)
- Sugar (if you are cutting sugar out, you can use stevia instead. Stevia is supposed to be easy to grow, which would cut your costs drastically)
- Garlic (fresh and dried – I do grow my own in my garden)
- Dried Basil
- Dried Oregano
- Rice (white and brown)
- Beans (I keep cans of black beans and chickpeas on hand. Dried would be even cheaper.)
- A few other of my favorite herbs: cayenne/red pepper, rosemary, sage, tarragon
- Eggs (I have been trading and buying eggs from friends with backyard chickens.)
- Milk (I use whole milk for making cheese and in my bread.)
- Butter (you can make your own very easily.)
- Chicken or vegetable stock/broth
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