Friday, October 31, 2008

Keeping Lean (and Green!) on a Lean Budget


Yesterday I read a slightly disturbing article on MSNBC entitled "Surprise: Lean times may actually make you fat." Basically the article was saying that during times of economic slowdowns, Americans tend to rely more on "comfort food" and low-quality food, such as "dollar-menu" fast food. Well, after reading it, I thought more about it and how by reading some wonderful blogs I have actually begun eating healthier and less expensively. Here are a few key ideas I've learned recently:
1) At the grocery store, shop mostly from the "perimeter." Think about it, most of the natural, whole foods are located around the outside walls - fruits, veggies, dairy products, fresh meats. Most of the processed, "unnatural" foods are in the middle.
2) Look for seasonal produce that is marked-down. This goes without saying, but right now in the end of October is probably not the best time to be buying tomatoes. However, apples are so cheap around here right now. Be flexible with your taste buds and try new fruit and vegetables!
3) Find a farmer's market or similar place to get really cheap produce. I always used to buy all my produce from the regular grocery store. But a good friend has been prompting me to try a local farmer's market, which I finally did. Wow! Not only were the prices good, but the quality was even better than that of the grocery store produce!
4) Check out sales and coupons for Organic products. You can find coupons for many organic products at Mambo Sprouts and Sarah at Fiddledeedee always has great organic deals posted on her blog.
5) Be creative with "comfort" foods. Just gotta have some homemade cookies? Throw some whole grains (oatmeal, flax, bran, etc.) and some fruit (raisins, cranberries, etc.) in there INSTEAD of chocolate chips. Make baked apples or grill some fresh pineapple. I have the worst sweet tooth ever - but now I am learning to satisfy it in much better ways. Better yet - don't run to food for comfort at all...crack open your Bible and pray to your Heavenly Father. He knows what we are all going through at this season.
Just because our budgets are tighter (or we are simply starting to budget!) doesn't mean we are left to Mac N Cheese and Ramen noodles! We just have to be a little creative and resourceful.
Anyone got any other tips? I'd love to hear them!
Want more Frugal Friday ideas? Head back to Biblical Womanhood.
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7 comments:

5intow said...

Some great tips. I agree, that eating healthfully can be done while being budget conscious. I buy free range eggs straight from a farmer for the same price as conventional eggs in the store.

Also, making use of my freezer to stock up on in season produce(corn, beans, strawberries, etc.) has helped cushion our budget. Working to eliminate waste has also saved lots in our food budget. I can't believe how much I would throw away after working so hard to get the best deals on it in the first place!

Thanks for sharing!
Erin

Lynn said...

Great tips.

Rose said...

Thanks!

One thing that is frustrating to me is that all blogs on saving money on food seem to be on the east coast. We don't have the same stores here on the west coast, and even less in rural towns like mine. No Publix, no CVS, no Krogers. Walmart, but they don't have the best prices :0) Do you know of any blogs for small town saving?

I'll check out mambo sprouts when they'll let me sign up though, hoping that will be something new!

The Quiet Life said...

It can be much cheaper when you cook from scratch. Just taking the time to plans out meals saves money.
Thank you for your comment! :)

The Cooking Lady said...

Don't forget thee ever popular beans and rice. ME and my daughter can make a meal out of black-eyed peas and rice with a can of tomatoes. Um um good. And with a Cuban husband we also have black beans and rice, how yummy is that?

It's good to live and eat in our home!

Sarah @ Fiddledeedee said...

Jenny,
What an encouraging, motivating, and all-around GREAT post!

Thanks for the link and for the tip about $1/1 Ziploc Peelies @ Publix! I found them today and am so excited! I'm linking to you in my Publix Super Savers post tomorrow. Have a great week ;)

Jenny M said...

Hey Rose - Let me know what stores you do have near you and I'll let you know what I find out. : )

Thanks to everyone for their input. These are great tips! We love rice and beans at our house too. : )