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11 tips for eating healthy on a budget

I completely resonate with the message to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables and to buy organic whenever possible.  When I buy meat for my family and myself I now choose grass fed, ethically treated meat and organic, free range poultry.

But what is often missing from this message are ways to make those purchases work within a budget.

There are great reasons to bring organic and fresh foods into your diet:

  • Purchasing organic produce lessons the toxic burden in our bodies, on the environment, and on farm workers.
  • Choosing to eat meat from animals that are ethically treated, raised in natural settings, and free from synthetic chemicals protects animal welfare and provides us with more nutritious, less toxic food.

But as my own shopping patterns shifted toward buying more fresh produce, organic choices, and ethically-treated sources of meat, it became obvious — these choices were pricier.

Most of us need to watch food costs as we manage our budgets while still prioritizing healthy, organic and fresh foods for our family.

Here are some ways to buy healthy while staying responsible to your budget.

1. Eat less meat.

There is no way around it — purchasing grass-fed, organic, pastured, free-range, or hormone-free animal products cost more. The good news is that most Americans eat more meat than they need to. Buying higher cost, quality meats but eating less of them is an excellent way to balance the costs.

2. Emphasize grains and legumes.

Grains and legumes are inexpensive and pack a nutritional power punch. Plus, they add a heaviness to a meal that most people rely on meat for. If you are new to using grains and beans in your cooking, here are a few beginner tips to get you started:

  • All grains cook basically the same way. If you are used to cooking rice, you have all the know-how to try different grains and mix it up a bit. Great ones to branch out with are quinoa for a lighter texture, or barley for a heavier, meatier feel.
  • Soaking rice in cool water for at least seven hours helps remove the phytic acid (which can bind to important minerals during digestion). Also, rinsing quinoa is helpful to remove a natural pesticide that may taste bitter when cooked.
  • I often rely on canned beans in our household for the convenience. I like the Eden Organic brand as they cook their beans in kombu, which helps the digestibility.

3. Buy in bulk.

Buying bulk can save a lot of money. You can purchase grains, pastas, dried fruits, nuts and flours in the bulk isles of your grocery or natural foods store. You can choose the amount that works for your family (bulk doesn’t mean you need 25 pounds of rice at a time!), and bulk food sections give a lower price per quantity ratio while saving on packaging.

Photo by Sue Richards

4. Make smart choices in organic produce: dirty dozen.

Remember these twelve fruits and veggies and prioritize purchasing them organically. The Environmental Working Group has tested fruits and veggies, and found these contain the highest levels and amount of pesticides:

  1. Peaches
  2. Apples
  3. Sweet bell peppers
  4. Celery
  5. Nectarines
  6. Strawberries
  7. Cherries
  8. Pears
  9. Grapes
  10. Imported spinach
  11. Lettuce
  12. Potatoes

5. Clean non-organic produce well with pesticide washes.

For most of us, it’s not realistic to eat all organic all the time — organic options aren’t always available, and sometimes the cost is prohibitive.

When I purchase conventional fruits and vegetables, I clean them well. A quick homemade soak is equal parts water and white vinegar, or you can use a veggie wash like Environne, which removes chemicals from the surface.

Because pesticides are created to be water-resistant (they have to stay on even when it rains), just water is often not enough to get the chemicals off.

6. Buy locally.

Be sure to hit your local farmer’s market as soon as it begins in the spring. Ask the farmers how they grow their foods — sometimes foods are only minimally sprayed (or not sprayed at all), but the cost of organic certification is too high.

If there is produce you want to buy in bulk (so you can preserve it), be sure to see if local farmers will give you a discount for bulk purchases.

7. Invest in a Community Supported Agriculture program.

Check whether there is a community-supported agriculture (CSA) program in your area.

These programs allow you to regularly enjoy a share of a local farm’s harvest by receiving weekly boxes of fresh fruits and vegetables.

“You can’t get it any fresher. You’re getting it straight from the farm, sometimes picked that morning,” says Ruth Katz, executive director of Just Food in New York City. “It’s usually organic and it’s much more delicious because it’s so fresh. And you’re supporting local farms.”

Photo by McKay Savage

8. Eat seasonally.

Seasonal foods not only taste better, they are more nutritious and they don’t need to be shipped in from half a world away!

Seasonal foods will often cost less as well. Think ahead and stock up on fruits and vegetables in their natural season in order to can or freeze them for the off season.

9. Grow your own.

If you really want garden-fresh organic produce, why not plant your own? Organic and heirloom seeds are available from companies such as Seeds of Change.

Start small — carrots, radishes and beets are easy to grow. Starting a family garden is a fantastic way to engage the whole family in prioritizing healthy foods. This is an excellent post on getting started with a garden.

10.  Preserve it when it’s cheap.

Depending on your storage capacity, canning, drying, and freezing fresh fruits and vegetables is an excellent way to cash in on seasonal foods that are lower in cost but higher in taste and nutrition.

In the summer when produce is plentiful, freeze fruits like fresh picked berries, nectarines, and peaches, or can tomatoes.  It’s best to freeze vegetables like green beans, corn, snap peas or spinach after they’ve been quickly blanched.

11. Forgo processed foods.

While it may seem like some processed foods are cheaper, the real steal is on the nourishment they provide.

Empty calories still leave us hungry for real food. When we spend money on real, whole, organic and fresh foods, it is essential that we shift our old ways of food shopping.

Many processed foods can be duplicated in the kitchen for much cheaper. Tsh shared cooking from scratch hacks in this post.   Things like frozen waffles, t.v. dinners, baked goods, or prepackaged kids lunches can be easily assembled in your kitchen for less. Other processed foods are simply fillers that can be weaned away, like candy, chips, and soda.

Each person and family must make financial choices that are right for them. Small shifts in the way we feed our families can help us find that sweet spot between staying responsible with our budgets, and feeding ourselves and our families healthy, organic and vital foods.

Have you found ways to save money while buying more fresh, healthy, or organic foods?

Reading Time:

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  1. Maya

    Such a great post Lisa! This is the article I should have written 🙂
    Except the community supported programs, we do all the others.

    I second the grains and legumes strongly.
    We eat no meat (mostly fish when we do) and my kids always have done great in terms of iron levels in their blood and so on. Legumes are great – pressure cook every kind, sprout them etc – the kids love it. So healthy for the whole family!

    • Lisa @ WellGrounded Life

      Hi Maya!

      I’m sure you would have much to add as well! I would love to explore cooking my own legumes more– I have a pressure cooker that is still in the box (blush!) .
      .-= Lisa @ WellGrounded Life´s last blog ..Getting Healthy Foods In On The Fly =-.

      • Maya

        I would encourage you to use the pressure cooker 🙂

        Our quickest, yummiest and healthiest foods are from our pressure cooker.
        We combine a few indian spices, vegetables and lentils and cook – less than 20 minutes later we have a delicious meal with all the nutrients. Works great with legumes too – but we soak the legumes overnight before we cook them.

        We have a “daal” party at our home coming up – where I am teaching some friends how to cook some yummy daals (lentils ) – I wish you could come !

  2. MCM

    According to the principles of the MediterrAsian Way (the most healthful diets/lifestyles are Mediterranean and Asian), meat should be an accent rather than the basis of the meal. My children are picky and like everything separate, so it’s challenging for me to cook this way, but it works fairly well with noodle dishes, soups, pizzas, etc.

    I highly recommend checking out as well as the book/cookbook which is available through Amazon.
    .-= MCM´s last blog ..MarinCountyMom: RT @simplemom: New on Simple Mom: 11 Tips For Eating Healthy On a Budget =-.

    • Lisa @ WellGrounded Life

      I couldn’t agree more!

      Perhaps I’ll put together a post soon about ways to shift into eating less meat…it is really much more realistic and enjoyable than most people may think!
      .-= Lisa @ WellGrounded Life´s last blog ..Getting Healthy Foods In On The Fly =-.

      • Tsh

        Having just moved back to the U.S. from the Mediterranean/Asian area, I can totally attest to this. I forgot how meat-based we are here. Plus, meat is crazy expensive where we were (like $20 for a little over a pound), so it just wasn’t realistic. It forced me to make meat more of an accent.

        And now, except for the occasional hamburger, I prefer to eat this way.

        • MCM

          Once in a while I need that big hunk of meat too – burger or steak or hot dog, but it tastes that much better because it’s infrequent.

        • Anna B

          I honestly don’t even like meat that much, although I like fish. However, I have trouble staying full enough (and not subbing with junk foods, etc). I live alone, which is both a challenge and a blessing, so my new plan is this: make a fresh salad before I make my main meal. Eat it and drink a glass of water. Then, I get up to cook my meal (which is usually baking fish for 10 min or maybe frying a pork chop for the same time, while microwaving veggies. Or, boiling ravioli).

          I’m hoping the brief cooking time after my salad will give my brain time to register ‘full’ a little bit, causing me to eat less of the main course! I think this will help me have a more healthy eating style. 🙂

          • dianna fenton

            I have the same problem….(I cook for 3 boys and a husband) Ive found that whole grains are essential to my feeling full…be it whole wheat pasta, wheat couscous, quinoa, wheat bread/rolls, or even a nice slice of sourdough….I MUST have these with each meal or I am a starving woman just hours later!! …oh and beans are the bee’s knee’s too!!

      • Kara

        I would love to see a post on eating less meat, Lisa. My hubby is such a “meat and potatoes” guy but for a variety of reasons I’d rather treat meat more as an accent, as Tsh said in her comment.

        Great post today – lots of good ideas and starting points 🙂
        .-= Kara´s last blog ..March’s Storytelling Day: The True Story of Fuzzy Wuzzy =-.

      • Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship

        Bone broth is such a vital and easy (and frugal!) way to eat less meat, and nutritionally it actually “extends” the meat that you do include in a meal. More here, if I may include a link:

        Great idea for a post, although if one can afford it, properly raised/fed meat is an incredibly nutrient-dense way to spend a few dollars.

        🙂 Katie

      • dell edgehill

        I am single mon and a nurse, and i run a free health clinic at my church every 1st sunday after church. this year our forcus is a healthier lifestyle. and to practice what i am preaching my daughter and i are eating healthier and exercising. This coming sunday i am lecturing on eating healthy on a budget. I will introduce your website and we will be following your tips and ideas. Thank you for your tips. would love to receive your news letters. Please reply to my email about getting letters or magazines.

  3. Kendra

    We live in California’s Central Valley, in the middle of almond, walnut, cherry, and peach orchards. We duck as the pesticides are dropped by cropdusters and their planes swoop down inches from our roof.

    One thing to know about washing your produce in hopes of removing pesticides: you can’t, really. The pesticides are there because they are systemic, and unfortunately washing the outside removes only residue.

    Until all of our farming is achieved through organic measures, we’ll all still be ingesting pesticides. Ick.
    .-= Kendra´s last blog ..I’m bored. What Can I Do? =-.

  4. Sherry

    Great post! We do a LOT of this; however, my family minus me do not like legumes/beans. 🙁 Any ideas?

    • Kika

      We love black-eyed beans cooked (don’t let them get mushy) then sauteed in olive oil with onion and garlic. So yummy as a side dish or on toast.

    • Rachel

      Sadly this is my family’s dilemma also. I LOVE beans and lentils while my husband does not. And consequentially I don’t cook them often so my 2 year old has not had much exposure. He would much rather have chicken instead of beans. But I still try and make it a priority to have vegetarian meals at least 3 times a week and get protein in with nuts or edamame,cheese or milk which my son will eat.

      Eating vegetarian 3 times a week makes my commitment to buying local grass fed meats at little easier on the budget.

    • Alissa

      We also never used to eat beans because “we didn’t like them.” I started finding recipes that combine beans in other meats and slowly shifting the ratios – that way, you’re not just trying to serve straight beans, but slowly aclimating your palatte. For example, I make White Chicken Chili – the recipe calls for 1 pound chicken and 1 can white beans. We use 1/2 pound chicken and 2 cans beans. Tastes the same, but 1/2 the meat. I do the same with any mexican dish – chicken enchilladas are now 1/3 chicken, 1/3 black bean, 1/3 refried.
      .-= Alissa´s last blog ..And Time Goes On – 5 Months! =-.

      • suse

        Thanks for the tip Alissa, I have to slowly transition not only my kids by my dh as well – he’s a meat and potatoes, and often forgets the veges and fruits. My younger boys are still willing to try new, but my 12 year old…. I keep trying!

    • Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship

      You can mash beans and lentils and “sneak” them into things like tacos, spaghetti and casseroles with little change in flavor. Blended soups are also a great way to get past the texture of beans. We eat soooo many beans at our house! I didn’t use to like them, either, but somehow they grew on me. Best of luck transitioning your family!
      🙂 Katie

  5. Micha

    We have a weekly box of organic vegetables and fruits and try to buy organic in the grocery, too. I think, it’s important to think about eating less meat, because it is related to so much negative effects for our environment.
    .-= Micha´s last blog ..Ausflug nach Köln / Cologne =-.

  6. Simple in France

    This is such a great post–I think you’ve really put together an extensive list of ways people can eat more organic fruits and vegetables without breaking the bank. I’m always sad when I see people saying they can’t afford to eat healthy food when I see them buying processed junk at the supermarket. It’s even starting to happen here in France, where you’d think people knew better.
    .-= Simple in France´s last blog ..Confessions of a Coffee Addict =-.

    • Lisa @ WellGrounded Life

      Hi Simple in France,

      I know what you mean– we have many habits around the food we eat and our purchasing patterns that most of us are not even aware of…but some simple changes (foregoing some purchases and increasing others) can bring real healthy changes in!
      .-= Lisa @ WellGrounded Life´s last blog ..Getting Healthy Foods In On The Fly =-.

  7. Susan

    Great post! Thanks for the washing tip, I’ve only been doing a good water rinse on the non-organic produce I sometimes buy. Yikes! I started doing the “eating less meat” thing after reading one of your previous posts, and my family really hasn’t noticed! We live in Europe and the country we live in labels organic food as “bio” and I try to buy it for everything that is possible. As a family of “meat lovers,” we were a bit disappointed with the taste of some grass-fed bio beef we bought. I think maybe because we are so used to the taste of corn-fed….We will be moving back to the states (hopefully this year!) and I haven’t lived there in over six years and was hoping you could share tips on which labels to trust (especially on meats). Also, if you have any information on canning/freezing (maybe in a previous post, or a good link?) I’m a bit afraid that when we move back to the US, it will be too easy to fall back into bad eating habits, and that is the last thing I want for my family. Thanks for the great info and please keep it coming!

    • Tsh

      I know that Simple Bites will be covering canning this summer, so be looking for that! 🙂

      • Susan

        Super! I’m looking forward to it!

  8. Sarah Clachar

    Great rundown!

    If you’re looking for a cheaper way to get natural/organic meat – buy directly from farmer – perhaps half a pig or a quarter cow if you have freezer space. We raise our own meat and sell some too and it’s a good way to save money on healthy meat.

    Plus, with beans, I’ve found that by sprouting them before I cook them, they are easier to digest and cook faster. Just soak them for 8 hours and then keep them in a colander, rinsing them 2X/day for a couple days until little white sprouts appear. Then it takes less than 1/2 hour to cook and they are so much tastier!

    • Lisa @ WellGrounded Life

      Hi Sarah,

      Yes, excellent suggestion to purchase a share of an animal– works especially well if you have a deep freezer! (you do need some room for the bulk meat).
      .-= Lisa @ WellGrounded Life´s last blog ..Getting Healthy Foods In On The Fly =-.

    • Lisa @ WellGrounded Life

      Yes– another excellent way to support local independent farmers and get high quality meats is to purchase a share of an animal– you’ll need some extra freezer space, though, for the bulk.
      .-= Lisa @ WellGrounded Life´s last blog ..Getting Healthy Foods In On The Fly =-.

  9. Mrs. Money

    We try to eat organic whenever possible. It gets so expensive! This summer we are planning a huge garden and hoping we can eat out of that for a few months, and do some more canning this year!
    .-= Mrs. Money´s last blog ..Who Handles Your Finances? =-.

  10. renee @ FIMBY

    I do all of these, except the wash thing – can pesticides really be washed off that that or aren’t they are part of the soil and therefore a part of the food?? but I’ve still found we have to increase the food budget. Good food costs money. I’m ok with that.

    • Danielle

      I totally agree!

      I refuse to sacrifice on what goes into my body. I’d much rather cut other corners – no car or tv, cooking from scratch, entertaining in rather than going out, etc. What goes into our mouths should be the highest priority.
      .-= Danielle´s last blog ..My Child is NOT a Rotting Vegetable =-.

  11. Jennifer

    A great post that covers all that we have started in the last two months.

    Making the switch (in all those ways) was something I’d dreamed of for several years but, to be quite frank, without the buy-in of my husband… it simply wasn’t happening.

    Enter Food, Inc.

    Since watching that movie, he has come on board 100% and we’ve made major changes to the way we shop (for everything) and eat. It also means more work for me in the kitchen… but I don’t mind. My daughter and I learned to make tortillas from scratch this week – what a treat for us all!

    It’s more expensive, true, but we’re doing it on an income of less than $40K a year with three children and while living outside of Seattle (expensive here!) It’s worth the financial “sacrifice” in other areas.

    • Tsh

      I was going to encourage readers to watch that movie, too. So good…. in a disturbing yet encouraging way. Head here for more info about it.

      • Lisa @ WellGrounded Life

        Oh yes! What a fantastic film. I’m finding it is helping people make the leap from knowing or suspecting things should shift in their diet to finally saying THAT’S ENOUGH– I’m ready to make the change!
        .-= Lisa @ WellGrounded Life´s last blog ..Getting Healthy Foods In On The Fly =-.

        • Susan

          I was having the SAME problem with my husband! I had been doing a lot of reading, finally educating myself of the things I was too afraid to know! We watched the movie together and now he is totally on board! We still have a looong way to go, but at least we are headed in the right direction. Another good movie to watch is “Fast Food Nation” a good one if you don’t really get into documentaries. I have learned more about the food that my family eats in the last year, than probably most of my life! And quite frankly, what I’m learning scares the #!?% out of me! Thanks to everyone for their input and knowledge-it is appreciated!

        • Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship

          I’ve found some conflicting information about Food, Inc. – everything has a touch (or more than a touch) of propaganda these days, and it’s so hard to know who to trust. I’m exploring more about all that the first week of May at Kitchen Stewardship, if you’re interested in joining the conversation.

          That said – we get our meat and milk straight from the farm. So there.

          🙂 Katie

  12. Monica

    Thank you for all of these suggestions- we find the easiest way to eat healthy is to grow our own. We know where it came from and it’s exciting to eat stuff you grow.

    I would love to do #2 more often- Emphasize grains and legumes but my husband is a picky eater and I’m nervous to experiment with new recipes. Any “sure fire” recipes or meals anyone would like to suggest?

  13. Stacey

    These are the ways we eat less meat:
    1. Monday night is pasta night — my kids love it and it is easy to make with less or no meat.
    2. Tuesday night is fruit and vegetable night. If you combine a variety of fruits or vegetables (and always include muffins), no one misses the meat. Our favorite veggie night foods are baked or “roasty” potatoes, zucchini pancakes (a good recipe:, roasted asparagus with parmesan crust, sweet potato fries, pumpkin muffins, applesauce (homemade, using a food mill), fresh veggies or salad, and peas or broccoli.
    3. Wednesday night is soup night. I use a lot of leftovers and always make twice what I need and freeze the rest. If I add grilled cheese sandwiches on nice high-fiber bread, we got a filling meal that doesn’t use a lot (or any) meat.

  14. Kristen

    Thanks for the washing tip. I never stopped to think about that.
    I had an interesting discussion with my mother, who doesn’t eat the healthiest, about food costs once. The year my daughter started eating solids, banana prices went up dramatically, but bananas were such an easy and healthy finger food for babies I didn’t even hesitate. My mother hotly claimed she’d never buy bananas at that price. I went to her cabinent and grabbed a box of poptarts. The cost for one snack of poptarts was significantly more than one banana. The nutritional value is obvious. She really started looking at the cost of produce differently then.

    • heike

      I agree so much with this comment. Non healthy foods are about as expensive per serving as fruits and vegetables. Same with processed foods. You can indeed make the same meal at home and you know exactly what is in the food you eat. It has also not been over processed eliminating much of the food value

  15. Laura

    I agree with most of what you said. I would like to emphasize shopping locally. We purchase a half a steer each year which is almost completely grassfed. We also hit the U-pick farms some of which do not spray. In addition, we have noticed that most of the time organic apples are the same price as regular apples. Sometimes the scratch and dent stores and similar will have organic food on sale. We of course think that gardening and growing own and are working up to that although now it is mostly growing a garden and raising chickens. We don’t eat a lot of grains in our house at all.
    .-= Laura´s last blog ..The Garden is Growing =-.

  16. Tsh

    Excellent post, Lisa, as always! One other thing to recommend is the book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life, which we read in our Book Club last year. It’s become one of my all-time favorite books, one I think I’ll read annually.

    • Rachel

      That is such an inspiring book! I was so motivated after reading it. Although I think it would have been better to read it in the spring rather than the beginning of winter, as I did. The impact of it has worn off a little since then. Maybe I will have to make it an annual spring read to give me a jump start!

  17. soultravelers3

    These are fabulous tips and really easier to do than most people realize. We even do many of these things as we travel the world on 23 dollars a day because it keeps us healthy and able to live large on little.

    I wrote about how to eat healthy and cheap in Europe, in case anyone is interested in finding ways to do it on the road too:

    We even do our own mini organic garden in the winter here in Spain. Great food ( some that can not be found here) and great homeschool learning project in one. 😉
    .-= soultravelers3´s last blog ..Funniest Kids! Soultravelers3 Family Travel =-.

  18. Jennifer

    Your Dirty Dozen list is a little out of date. They updated it in the last couple months or so. The updated list is:

    Bell Pepper
    Grapes (Imported)

    Check their website. They also have an iPhone app now which is helpful when you’re in the grocery store.
    .-= Jennifer´s last blog ..Weekly shopping & meal planning =-.

  19. Tina @ Ride On Toys

    Thanks for the dirty dozen info and for the update on that Jennifer. I’m trying to be more conscious of purchasing organic foods but they can get very pricey. I love that I’m starting to see more local farmers in my area becoming more organic conscious. Thanks so much for all the tips!
    .-= Tina @ Ride On Toys´s last blog ..The Brum Pedal Car =-.

  20. ChristineG

    Fabulous post with excellent tips! I was very excited to see the photo with ‘Fourfold Farm’. The photo is my local farmer’s market in Guelph, Ontario, where my dh and I buy our groceries EVERY week!! I almost feel famous, now.
    .-= ChristineG´s last blog ..A Beautiful Sound =-.

  21. Nikki Moore

    Great tips! I wrote a very similar blog a while back: “eating healthy + saving money.” It is true, and sad, that healthy food tends to be more expensive. But thankfully my husband is totally on board with spending a little extra for quality food.

    We’ve also stopped eating lots of meat. I still use it, but usually buy the good stuff. The high price of organic/grass fed meat is fairly prohibitive, which ends up being a good thing, because we eat less of it. We don’t miss it, and having it from time to time lessens the challenge. I use small pieces probably 75% of the time (like bits of bacon in soups, meat spaghetti sauce, etc.)

    My biggest tip for healthy eating: cook from scratch! Here’s the full post with a few more tips.
    .-= Nikki Moore´s last blog ..everyone’s afraid of something…or several things =-.

  22. jeana

    I love this post, it’s crammed full of great info! I could’ve written what Jennifer wrote, (I have been wanting to do this for years and hubby wasn’t on board….until Food Inc). Needless to say we buy everything organic. It’s a lot of work, but I really enjoy planning, buying, and making healthy food for our family. It feels so incredible that we are eating the way we were meant to, with the freshest ingredients available!
    .-= jeana´s last blog ..A Thankful Heart =-.

  23. Megan

    FANTASTIC article, Lisa! Love this. And the discussion here has been so helpful and informative as well.

  24. Anjali

    Great post.

    And I’ll add one more tip == find your local ethnic food store. They often sell brown rice and produce far cheaper than the grocery store (although there’s usually not organic produce). Still, if your on a tight budget, dry beans and rice from these stores are usually a steal!
    .-= Anjali´s last blog ..Eat, Fray, Gov. (Giving a Crap about Crap School Lunches) =-.

  25. Jenny

    Great article! I’m not a big meat-eater myself, but out here in the boondocks, lots of people buy their meat directly from local farmers–you know the animals were treated ethically and had a healthy diet, it supports the local farmers, and often it doesn’t cost any more than you’d pay for factory-farm meat in a supermarket.

    Some people do buy a half cow or pig and just stick it in their freezer, but many people pool their money with friends or family members and divvy up the meat. If they still have more meat than they can consume, they just sell it off to less committed friends.

  26. Paula@Motherhood Outloud

    Great suggestions! My family follows most of these and we have seen only a modest increase in our grocery budget with a huge increase in healthy eating! One of my favorites is buying locally- whether it is produce at the Farmer’s Market or milk at a local dairy. I totally agree with you about asking them about their farming practices. Many follow organic practices but don’t want to pay the big bucks for the label. I’d usually rather buy local than brand-name organic!
    .-= Paula@Motherhood Outloud´s last blog ..Great Expectations =-.

  27. Summmer

    Awesome post! Unfortunately, I am allergic to many fruits. But this is a good idea. We always buy in bulk, strange because Trader Joe’s organic apples were much cheaper than the Chinese Supermarket near my house.

    I agree with Jenny. I think the local farmer’s meat is much better, the animals have a healthier diet, therefore won’t taste like a McDonald’s Cheeseburger.

  28. Bryony Boxer

    LOVE this post. So much talk about how people are overweight becuase they can’t afford to eat healthy – it’s important to discuss how healthy eating CAN be affordable.
    .-= Bryony Boxer´s last blog ..Kids Crafts: Food Dye Easter Eggs =-.

  29. Heather

    Thank you so much for this post. It has answered so many of my questions. I’m eager to get started on my little garden.

    I recently watched the movie, Food, Inc. ( Very informative and relates to most of the things listed in this post.

    I’m going to refer this so several friends.


  30. Joanie

    I love local… and am fortunate enough to have a local farm for pork/beef/poultry, and my garden. I do, however, have to give a thumbs up to Costco. If you have one nearby, you really should give them a try. They carry MANY organics, and I’m all for supporting that … I buy organic baby spinach and apples there regularly… and if you have the freezer room, terrific buys on frozen organic blueberries, corn, green beans… you name it. Lately, I’ve also bought organic ketchup, tortilla chips, spaghetti, milk, eggs, chicken broth… at GREAT prices. Who knew?! With some planning.. I save ALOT of money.

  31. Kitchen Monki Dan

    Fantastic post… my wife and I joined a CSA for this upcoming season and are super excited to see what’s in our box each week! Thanks for the tips (I’m sharing this post with our FB fans, cheers!)

  32. Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship

    I’m perhaps jumping in on too much in these comments, but this is definitely my niche and passion! I was going to alert you of the outdated EWG list, too, but someone did already. Here’s the link to the March 2009 update:

    Also, I did a little mad scientist testing of some produce washes, including the homemade version you cited, and found incredibly fascinating results:

    Thanks for letting me chime in! You’re getting some great stuff out there!
    🙂 Katie

  33. Ben

    You have to be careful buying in bulk on a budget. Even though it will save money in the long run its important to purchase bulk items that will not go bad. Otherwise you will end up wasting money on food you didn’t eat. That is unless you have a lot of people to feed and you know you will eat it all up.

    For singles and couples bulk purchases need to be done wisely.

  34. Matt Czarnek

    Meat doesn’t seem to be that expensive.

    I’d say the number one way to eat healthy on a budget is to stop eating out and start cooking.. people don’t realize how quickly eating out can build up.

  35. Daryl

    Hey Lisa! I couldn’t agree more with what you are saying. I used to be a heavy meat eater because I used to indulge in a lot of weight training however now I am older and my emphasis is on health and fitness I have worked hard to change my eating habits and pay close attention to what my body likes. ~My diet now consists of mainly cold water fish such as salmon, mackerel and trout and a whole load of leafy green salads. My basis for meals starts with salads and a virgin olive oil dressing and I build my protein needs around that instead of the other way around. After I cut out sugar and caffeine my energy levels have gone through the roof and I feel great inside and out, so much so that I am now training for my first ultra marathon!

    I am also very careful about the way I cook foods I am going to eat, you could say my diet is accustomed to Mediterranean traditions. One things for sure, if any one needs a good starting place for healthy eating, your article is great! Many thanks for your share.

    Live without limits,


  36. Alan

    You body doesn’t need very much if any meat. We eat meat once a week and are healthier for it. I didn’t know about the vinegar recipe wash for removing pesticides. I always just used warm water and a towel.


  37. Sophie

    Thank you for the great article, i stumbled upon it while looking for ‘eating healthy on a budget’. I never really understood the importance of organic food until reading your article. Thanks 🙂

  38. Pam

    Just stopped by for a break from work and found this. I am following Dr. Fuhrman’s plan t his month. These are great pointers and much like his philosophy.


  39. Patty

    I like your blog and your ideas of eating healthy. Remember too, a healthy home aids in the health of your family! We recommend Atmosair filters with a direct link here: Also, don’t forget your vitamins for your health!

  40. Angela McKnight

    Great post, just love it. You have hit major points. Thanks for sharing…

  41. Dan - BankVibe

    Very nice suggestions Lisa! We grow much of our own produce in a shared community lot and we have saved bundles (esp in the summer!). The only thing I would recommend considering would be if you plan on building a garden on your own property be sure to factor in the costs of doing this. If you end up with a lot of overhead then it might be better to join up with some nearby community lot if possible 🙂

  42. Brittany

    I love this post: I read it aloud to My Boyfriend who is a huge health nut. Both of us have had an incredible weight loss journey, (he lost 40 lbs, and I am not far behind at 35lbs lost.) We were so blessed to find good articles on healthy living and lifestyles, and lost most of the weight from changing our diet. Now of course we exercise to keep it off, but every so often I need to be inspired again.

    Thank you for posting this, and hopefully it stumbles into the hands of someone waiting to make a change in their lives.

  43. Michelle DeMarco

    With the price of food going up and up, it is getting harder for families to make good choices within the budget. These are great tips and I will certainly make use of them!

  44. alex d

    Healthy eating means maintaining a nutritious diet. I believe it to be important to every one. I stress a healthy life to my family and friends and I try to show them the benefits to it. I think the greatest benefit most of all is that it makes you feel and lool great. If your not eating healthy, then you are not helping your body. You are filling it with what it does not want, instead, help your body out and eat healthy. The turn out is awesome. I have been eating healthy for years and I have never felt better in my life.

  45. alex d

    Healthy eating means maintaining a nutritious diet. I believe it to be important to every one. I stress a healthy life to my family and friends and I try to show them the benefits to it. I think the greatest benefit most of all is that it makes you feel and look great. If your not eating healthy, then you are not helping your body. You are filling it with what it does not want, instead, help your body out and eat healthy. The turn out is awesome. I have been eating healthy for years and I have never felt better in my life.

  46. Sarah

    Wow, I don’t think I’d have ever thought of a few of these tips on my own. Especially that third one, that’s really smart!. I’m going to have to start doing some of these!

    Thank you!

  47. Jess H

    Well done, i stumbled upon it while looking for ‘eating healthy on a budget’. I never really understood the importance of organic food until reading your article. Thank you for the great article.

  48. kiran chikkala

    Thank you for share this wonderful article. Really good stuff.

  49. sadie

    I’m not soo sure how this helped me while keeping my budget in tack, other than buying in bulk, eating seasonally, and growing my own. So that’s 3 tips. My husband and I don’t have kids and we live in a condo, any tips for us?

  50. Brian

    Love your article Lisa! We love buying foods locally when possible and buying in bulk when necessary. I like the emphasis on produce because it can be very expensive especially if you try to buy organic only. You are also spot on with processed foods. If you want something quick or even frozen dinners…make them yourself…it’s cheaper and a lot healthier! Thanks again for the wonderful info!!

  51. Marissa P.

    I enjoyed your post very very much! It is so nice to find someone who shares my thoughts and concerns. I used to be a big couponer however over the past year and half my family and I have shifted our eating habits to almost exactly what you have written about. I have been contemplated for quite some time about a blog to help reach others about how very possible it is to achieve this lifestyle and be able to fit it into their income. I completely understand that anyone would think it wouldn’t be affordable, however, I have applied couponing strategies, buy ahead principles, stock piling fresh fruits and veggies by freezing them myself, and even time saving time by freezer cooking for those busy nights when you don’t want to cook. I could go on and on. And what I found was that I wasn’t spending that much more money, especially if you consider how much the average American wastes on junk food. I’ve just stumbled on to your blog and I can’t wait to read what else you have to say!

  52. Natalie

    Great tips! I actually became a vegetarian because I realized it was a lot cheaper than having to buy high quality meat. I have a ton of healthy veggie recipes for people on a budget on my blog. You should check it out!

    GREAT post!

  53. low cholesterol tips

    These tips are excellent especially the first one. Fish is better than most meat types because it contains unsaturated fats. So if i have to eat meat i would pick fish. Nice article by the way.

  54. WP @ The Conscious Life

    I was looking for health eating tips on a budget and I landed here. Glad I did! Well-covered and comprehensive, though some of them don’t apply to me because where I stay, there’s hardly any agricultural lands left for farming. So Community Supported Agriculture program and trying to buy local are near impossible. But the rest are very useful. Thanks!

  55. Jeff Goins

    This is good. I’m taking notes.

  56. Driscoll Ford

    It’s no secret that fruits and vegetables are good for you, but the price of fresh produce isn’t nearly as good for your budget. To stretch your shopping dollars, look for a reduced rack at the grocery store.

  57. Aimee

    Very interesting! We joined a CSA and it has changed the way I cook. I look forward to the seasons as they bring different produce – right now I am salivating over the prospect of soon receiving weeks and weeks of fresh leeks! I have become more creative in what I cook and I managed to make eggplant that my husband ENJOYED. I would never have purchased it at the market because I know he isn’t a fan, but since it was included in our weekly box, I had to figure out a way to incorporate it into our weekly meals. We will continue to support our local CSA mostly because of the flavor of the food. I enjoy the fruit so much more and fell in love with savoy spinach. The best thing is the excitement on my 3 year old son’s face every time we open our weekly box to see what surprises the farm has sent us. (I know what to expect since I get an email, but my son doesn’t).
    Thanks for the great tips!

  58. crystal

    I like to eat healthy on a budget by precooking meals and cooking meals with similar veggies so I can reuse chopped veggies and meat.

    I also swap out one meal (or two if I am doing small meals day) with on the go – superfood meals. It saves me TONS of money and my family can eat organic for those meals for about 3.00 per person…. Msg me if you want info on that.. 🙂

  59. Diane Brown

    Love your site and your information. I will be including a link on today’s post about eating healthy frugally. Thanks for all you do!

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  61. Stacey

    Great post! Healthy eating is affordable, you just have to know how to go about it. Awesome tips! I’ll be back to check out the rest of your website.

  62. VeroWigo

    Enjoyed reading this post! Healthy eating can be affordable Healthy eating is affordable, you just have to be informed. You have to know where to buy and what to buy. Eating less meat makes food less expensive. I like trying Meatless Mondays 🙂

    Great website.

  63. Best Simple Recipes

    I agree with buy locally and use seasonal foods. You almost all advise are viable and should be implemented to be healthy and fit. I have started ignoring junk food, oily dishes and meat.

  64. Em

    Great article and some really useful tips! I’m veggie so I luckily don’t have to worry about eating less meat, although I do need to eat more nuts and pulses to get more nutrients I must admit. I just read an article on eating healthily on the go, which was quite useful:

  65. Stargazer

    “Lessens” the toxins, not “Lessons”! Are you kidding?!

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