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Weight Loss, Fitness & Health Weight Loss, Fitness & Health

Healthy eating budget

Posted by on Dec. 6, 2012 at 5:37 PM
  • 11 Replies

If you all don't mind....

im on a Very tight budget and I'm becoming more and more concerned about being able to eat healthy while on said budget, so I am looking for any suggestions or advice you all have.

i need to feed 5, I want to do paleo for health reasons, husband and kids are in good health now and eat well. This month I have about 300$ and next month will be about 600 maybe. Please tell me I can still eat healthy on that low of an amount.

thanks!

by on Dec. 6, 2012 at 5:37 PM
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Replies (1-10):
eema.gray
by on Dec. 6, 2012 at 6:10 PM
1 mom liked this

If you can get a good deal on produce, that will help your budget considerably.  Also, you may get better value for your dollar at a butcher or game processor rather than the super market.  Buy meats with bones in them, you can turn the bones into stock which will double the value you get from your meats, poultry, and fish.  

Prioritize high quality fats first, then proteins, and produce last.  This makes for awkward trips through the grocery since it feels like you're literally going against the gran but you won't experience the frustration of getting to the oils last and not having room in your budget for them.  For things like coconut oil, buy on line.  You'll get a MUCH better deal, even working shipping and handling into the equation.  As far as the nutrtion found in produce, if you make stocks from your bones and eat organs once a week, you will get everything you would find in produce.  It's totally unconventional to eat this way and most Americans will think you are completely stark raving mad, but you can get proper nutrition that way if produce is out of the reach of your budget.  

ZennMomma
by on Dec. 6, 2012 at 6:12 PM

Thank you so much, I hadn't thought of that, and yeah produce is the hardest to get, hopefully we will start to grow our own!

MamaKarrot
by on Dec. 6, 2012 at 10:26 PM
1 mom liked this

I do a lot of meatless meals when I cook at home to save money.  Dry goods (although they require a lot more work) will save your budget.  I have giant bags of every kind of bean and a big bag of dry brown rice.  I use them for everything: soups, chilies, enchiladas, etc.  It's a really good (and healthy!) way to bulk up meals for less money.  Whatever produce and meats are on sale I buy and supplement with my dry goods at home.  I also cook fresh herbs I like to use, basil, cilantro, rosemary, and grow root veggies every winter.  I live in AZ, so that's possible here, lol. If produce is about to go bad, I cook it into a meal and freeze it.  Like this week my bananas are overipe and mushy so tomorrow I will mash them up into whole wheat pancake batter, make pancakes and freeze them for the kids to reheat in the morning.  I feed a family of four for about $250 a month or less.

I know a lot of people do meal planning and that's really smart IMO, but it just doesn't work for us when every day is so different with our schedules.  But that might be something you'd want to look into also. :)

ZennMomma
by on Dec. 7, 2012 at 3:28 AM

Thank you. I do meal planning and it helps a lot, my dilemma was to make meals without using hardly any carb foods, I have insulin resistance and it just reaks havoc on my body and mental state, but I think brown rice is lower glycemic index so ill look into that :)

darbyakeep45
by Darby on Dec. 7, 2012 at 5:12 AM

Wow...your budget is great for all 4 of you!  I'm ashamed of mine now that I look at yours:)  LOL!

Quoting MamaKarrot:

I do a lot of meatless meals when I cook at home to save money.  Dry goods (although they require a lot more work) will save your budget.  I have giant bags of every kind of bean and a big bag of dry brown rice.  I use them for everything: soups, chilies, enchiladas, etc.  It's a really good (and healthy!) way to bulk up meals for less money.  Whatever produce and meats are on sale I buy and supplement with my dry goods at home.  I also cook fresh herbs I like to use, basil, cilantro, rosemary, and grow root veggies every winter.  I live in AZ, so that's possible here, lol. If produce is about to go bad, I cook it into a meal and freeze it.  Like this week my bananas are overipe and mushy so tomorrow I will mash them up into whole wheat pancake batter, make pancakes and freeze them for the kids to reheat in the morning.  I feed a family of four for about $250 a month or less.

I know a lot of people do meal planning and that's really smart IMO, but it just doesn't work for us when every day is so different with our schedules.  But that might be something you'd want to look into also. :)


michiganmom116
by Rhonda on Dec. 7, 2012 at 6:48 AM
1 mom liked this

You can do it.  I do.  I feed 5 adult appetites on $300 to $400 a month, AT MOST.  I've done it for as little as $60 a month for everything but meat.

Once you get rid of the grains, you'll find that you're spending less.  You won't be buying the things you need to make grain foods palatable:  milk (for cereal), sauce for pasta, spreads for bread, etc.  Your bellies will be full longer, so you likely won't need many snacks -- and I know that used to be a fairly good sized part of our grocery costs.

Meal planning is important, IMO.  Portion size is key.  Cook a large roast (3 1/2 lb.) and you'll be able to make quite a few meals with it.  Serve as roast the first night, a thick veggie/beef stew on another night, and cook up the last of it, bones/juices/all to make a soup.  With chicken, you can roast it & serve proper portions, then use leftovers to make chicken & gravy over paleo biscuits, more leftovers to make a chicken & mushroom skillet meal, and use the carcass and little bits of meat off that to make a broth/soup.

I agree to look for coconut oil and other products online.  I've found Amazon to be pretty good with their prices for oil, almond meal, and coconut flour. 

I do things a bit differently when shopping because I already have quite a large stock of meat at home (I buy beef once a year and we raise our own chickens for meat during the summer.)  I hit the produce aisles first for fresh salad greens, a bag of apples, bag of grapefruit, fresh tomatoes/cucumbers/carrots/celery/mushrooms/cauliflower.  It's nice to get organic, but I believe it's better to get conventionally grown produce if you can't afford organic than to get no produce at all.  I get eggs (good cheap source of healthy protein...if you can't afford beef this month, then eggs/canned salmon or tuna/chicken it is), then frozen veggies such as broccoli and spinach.  Then I'll get the rest of what I need.

Here's an example of my weekly grocery list:

  • 4 dozen eggs
  • 1 pkg. smoked bacon
  • bag of apples (every other week)
  • bag of grapefruit
  • 3 bunches of salad greens
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 3 fresh tomatoes
  • 3 lb. bag of carrots
  • 1 bunch celery
  • 16 oz. sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 3 bags frozen broccoli
  • 1 bag frozen spinach
  • 1 bag frozen California mix veggies
  • 2 - 4 cans diced tomatoes
  • 2 cans tomato sauce
  • 2 to 4 cans of tuna/salmon
  • coconut milk (1 to 2 cans a week at most)
  • sunflower seeds (we snack on these)
  • 1 bottle olive oil
  • 2 bottles veggie juice
  • any necessary spices

I don't know how much that would cost in your area, but in my area it's around $50 - $55/week.  I spend the rest of my budget on nuts/nut flours, maybe some seasonal fruit or a bag of lemons (I put lemon wedges in water to drink), coconut oil when I need it.

If you need recipes or meal ideas, just ask.  I've spent almost 2 years compiling a collection of paleo/primal/low carb recipes and meals that fit into our food budget.


siren77
by on Dec. 7, 2012 at 9:11 AM

I so want to be able to do this!!!!!  I get so angry when all our money goes to groceries every month.  I know I spend at least $500 on food alone for 3 people...I can't even count my husband in that 3 because he eats out 2 meals a day usually!!!!  That is insane!!!!!!  Thank you for the good ideas :)

Quoting MamaKarrot:

I do a lot of meatless meals when I cook at home to save money.  Dry goods (although they require a lot more work) will save your budget.  I have giant bags of every kind of bean and a big bag of dry brown rice.  I use them for everything: soups, chilies, enchiladas, etc.  It's a really good (and healthy!) way to bulk up meals for less money.  Whatever produce and meats are on sale I buy and supplement with my dry goods at home.  I also cook fresh herbs I like to use, basil, cilantro, rosemary, and grow root veggies every winter.  I live in AZ, so that's possible here, lol. If produce is about to go bad, I cook it into a meal and freeze it.  Like this week my bananas are overipe and mushy so tomorrow I will mash them up into whole wheat pancake batter, make pancakes and freeze them for the kids to reheat in the morning.  I feed a family of four for about $250 a month or less.

I know a lot of people do meal planning and that's really smart IMO, but it just doesn't work for us when every day is so different with our schedules.  But that might be something you'd want to look into also. :)


Stefanie83
by Ruby Member on Dec. 7, 2012 at 10:12 AM

I think it varies a lot by location but I know where we live, $300 is tight for just food for a month for us 4.  $600 is certainly enough and that's about how much a month I spend on groceries and household stuff like toilet paper, light bulbs, laundry soap and other random stuff....  I think for FOOD, I spend about $400-500 per month.  Then about another $100 on other household stuff

For me a list might look like this

Chicken $10
Beef $10
Eggs $5
Cheese $10 (not sure you will include this in your paleo diet)
Peppers $6
Onions $4
Green Beans $4
Celery $2
Carrots $3
Frozen Peas $1
Frozen Corn $1
Lettuce $4
Grapes $6
Bananas $3
Apples $5


I think that comes to $74 for a week.  Non paleo stuff I get would be bread, triscuits, protein bars, english muffins, cereal, the occasional bottle of annie's ranch. And of course sometimes there will be other veggies like avocados, mushrooms, etc.  So that adds an additional $25ish dollars.  I have to get some stuff just about once a month like flour, oil, butter, peanut butter, Mrs. Dash, etc. so that adds to the monthly budget. 

Good luck!!!!!

Stefanie83
by Ruby Member on Dec. 7, 2012 at 10:20 AM
1 mom liked this

My secret for not having mushy bananas is eating 3 bananas a day lmbo!

Quoting MamaKarrot:

I do a lot of meatless meals when I cook at home to save money.  Dry goods (although they require a lot more work) will save your budget.  I have giant bags of every kind of bean and a big bag of dry brown rice.  I use them for everything: soups, chilies, enchiladas, etc.  It's a really good (and healthy!) way to bulk up meals for less money.  Whatever produce and meats are on sale I buy and supplement with my dry goods at home.  I also cook fresh herbs I like to use, basil, cilantro, rosemary, and grow root veggies every winter.  I live in AZ, so that's possible here, lol. If produce is about to go bad, I cook it into a meal and freeze it.  Like this week my bananas are overipe and mushy so tomorrow I will mash them up into whole wheat pancake batter, make pancakes and freeze them for the kids to reheat in the morning.  I feed a family of four for about $250 a month or less.

I know a lot of people do meal planning and that's really smart IMO, but it just doesn't work for us when every day is so different with our schedules.  But that might be something you'd want to look into also. :)


MamaKarrot
by on Dec. 7, 2012 at 11:16 AM
1 mom liked this

I should also add that our grocery bill is so low because I depend on scholarship money (yay good grades) to buy crazy amounts of stuff in bulk once a year or so.  I literally will take my school money and spend $500 at the store in beans, rice, frozen veggies, meats, etc, and store it in my secondhand garage freezer.  That saves us throughout the year for now until I'm done with school and can go back to work.  So I never have to spend a lot every month, I just get enough to supplement what we already have.

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