The secret of cheap groceries A lot of poor people who are chubby, ill, spending megabucks on doctors, whine " what can I do? I'm poor. I eat junk food cuz it's cheap!" That is a shoddy rationale. It just won't wash. The BigMac meal is 4$ for one person. I can buy a WHOLE chicken and a bunch of raw spinach for that price. I can feed eight people at a fabulous, joyous meal, I cook up a pot of basmati rice, we split a bottle of red wine and it becomes a memorable party. YOU MISS ALL THAT when even one member of your family spends 4bucks on a BIG MAC MEAL!
Like Junk food, snacks can take a serious bite out of your life. CHIPS are extremely costly and 2$ worth of trans fats is something you don't want to pay to have in your life. Candy is costly although I find these big 8oz Hershey bars on sale for 89c and I snap them up, nurse 'em over a week.. TV DINNERS are mega costly. Good healthy FOOD is CHEAP. I'll prove it here, today, right now so keep reading.
I do understand that poor people tend to chow down on a lotta starch which creates Alzheimer's, they tell us. It's indeed cheaper than vegies, fruits or meats but you don't have to go that route. But using numbers, we'll prove that going short on the costly stuff, finding it in secret CHEAP WAYS....you can achieve a diet upgrade and even a BUDGET upgrade.
We all know 4 bucks for a box of cereal, (up to 5$ these days for Grape Nuts or Granola) is a per ounce highway robbery! Most breakfast cereals including most oats but not all, are costly and worse, clogging. We tend to get sniffles from all the gluten in 'em. Upgrade to Bible bread! It's everywhere now. (WHole grain soaked overnight, acid rinsed out,) drained, then ground into dough.) At the supermarket here in Calif we get EZEKIEL 4:9 from Nature Valley or Nature sunshine or someone. and other brands, bon marche ($3.60) at the Healthfood Store! No need to eat white bread cuz it's half the price of dark breads, when it makes you mucusy, sick and fat. Never put anything in your mouth high on calories and low in nutrition. Especially if it has toxic factors. Every chance to eat is a chance to invigorate the body. It's time to get sick of being fat, and upgrade all our usual food choices to the THINNING, healthfood version.
THERE's PLENTY you can do about being fat, sick and poor. FRUGAL healthful meals confer energy to jazz up your entire life so you can earn more money. You're only as good as the nutrients sailing around in your brain! Food upgrades are not costly; they aren't even HARD. You won't have to bust your budget or spend elbow grease to have health and frugality combined, just make some wee changes.
DITCH POTATOES AND WHITE RICE. Get brown basmati rice at the ethnic market. For a long while, my 99c store had two lbs of brown rice for 99c. Brown rice has huge amts of minerals and Vit B.
DITCH ordinary BREAD, ditch ALL FLOUR products and baked goods! (*Click on that URL, see why!) Buy whole grains like millet, brown rice, and buy healthfood store 'flourless" bible bread made entirely of whole grain (soaked, overnight, rinsed well, drained then triterated in a VITAMIX). Try making your own bread now that grain has doubled in cost in one year. Read MAKE YOUR OWN. Next, always toast your bread so it provokes saliva which is how starches are digested. Chewing starches well so they are soaked in spit, i.e. ptyalin enzyme, assures you digest grains & get all those minerals into your BRAIN! Wheat just doubled in price, In 2006, it cost 4$ a bushel, in mid 2007, it's 9$ a bushel. So never more than now is it time to leap into breadmaking. It's incredibly easy and fun. Many cooks find it the most addictive of kitchen pleasures. I have not been able to find the true FLOUR-less recipe online. Bible bread is described as a mixture of grains, legumes, and I found recipes for it, but they entail FLOUR. Perhaps you could find the grains in the recipe, hole, and use a vitamix to grind the soaked, rinsed grain to turn it into dough. Here are the recipes:
To get healthy is it necessary that we SHOP ORGANIC? NOt unless cancer runs in your family and pesticides are really dangerous! Washing produce well takes care of most of the pesticide residues. A basin of soapy water to dissolve the oils, then a rinse and a dry in rack, and into fridge when dry!
One thing I will pick up on sale at my huge Kroger Super market is CHEESE. Whereas all artisan cheeses are 7$ an lb, the Kroger jack cheese and cheddar are $3.50 a pound on their sales, which are very regular. The trick is to pick it from under the pile, in back, down, next to the fridge unit as cheese on top, exposed to the market's air --especially the jack--, has gone SOUR.
KEEPING CHEESE. Cheese left in the fridge goes bad, it dries out, it gets green fur growing on it, so freeze it. Before you do, cut off a slice for dinner, (to melt on vegies, to p ut on toast squares,) but the BIG POUND BLOCK back in the freezer, wrapped in plastic, cold as an ice cube!. An hour before you want to give someone a slice, (teaches everyone to think ahead,) thaw it, cut off what you need, refreeze. That $3.50 you spent will LAST. THROWING away food is throwing away money.
BREAD is the staff of life. Really spectacular Bible breads are now available at super markets. I find that if I shop at 6 a.m, the bakery gal is going thru the loaves, finding DATED ones, stacking them in a basket for the mark down shelf. On the day-old shelf, they're half price. One can buy BIBLE BREAD at Whole Foods but we've all heard the joke: Whole Foods, whole paycheck. The humor seems exaggerated, until you shop there or at some other natural foods market. I don't know about you but pouring my money into their cash register doesn't make ME healthy! KROGER chain has BIBLE bread. THANK YOU GOD!
You can go to WHOLE FOODS if you have discipline and frugal skills because if you don't know what you can get products for elsewhere, you'll spend $100 bucks on an impulse purchase of organic coffee beans when all you came in for was their bulk grains and pulse, nuts and stuff, very affordable. Or their cheap, real culture 32 oz yogurt, the great eggs which beat all other shops in price. So where is it written that we must buy their croissant, or have their pricey, artisan cheeses or organically grown coffee beans? Less pesticide and they charge more money? Go figure. I'll stick to my small list of things that actually are cheaper at the WHOLE FOODS shop. Eggs, Yogurt, bulk nuts, grains, Bible Bread, and get my fruits & vegies elsewhere and make my own egg salad and skip croissant and other flour foods altogether. CARBS give ALZHEIMERS it turns out.
So continue to shop big chain super markets. And they are the only shops to have BENT CAN shelves so I like that about them. Coffee at $1.50 a can? Beans at 39c a can? WOW! Catfood reduced to 20c? Then the coupon thing. Collect those coffee coupons in the ads for the major super markets, carry your folder with you in your shopping cart. Or in your purse, a collection of coupon envelopes, (PAPER, CAT food, HUMAN FOOD, COFEEE/ SHAMPOOS/ TOOTHPASTES, all organized.) Leave the packet in the car so you can take it in to the store with you, every time you go. When you see some brand is on sale, and you also have a coupon, snap it up. I even snap up things on the bent shelf and use coupons to get double down savings.
ALWAYS STOCK UP ON THE CHEAPEST HEALTHFOODS, Never let them run out on your shelf. If these goodies are in the fridge you will eat them
Start paring down your cravings. Where you can capture a delicious resolution to a craving by baking it yourself, do so. My neighbors tree had so many crunch apples that I have to run out and get brown sugar and flour to make a pie. As I live alone now, I cut the cooled pie into 12 slices, freeze individually. Not a jot less tasty.
Upgrade what you snack on. Sure, you could bake your own baguettes but flour is not a healthy food. So get Bible bread. Holistic Nut butters, and spread butter and your homemade low sugar jam on it, and skip the white flour with sat fats altogether. FRESHLY MADE WHOLE FAT YOGURT! YUM! Make it yourself. EZ!
Healthfood stores have Yogurt at competitive prices & Bible Bread there is also quite reasonable. But seek same at supermarkets, espec if it's with a COUPON or on the weekly sale. There's one way bread can turn up on sale, and daily too. I visit the 'half price' shelf for baked goods as usually at dawn only, my market has a few loaves of EZEKIEL 4:19 Bible bread that hit their expiration date. I freeze them immediately so there's no problem there. But then if it's full price, I freeze that too! Take slices that I need out, toast them.
But if we didn't win the lottery, what to do about that big slab of Garlic cheese we crave?. Well, I can go without SONOMA JACK GARLIC CHEESE for weeks or months on end as it is mucus forming and it tends to give seniors gout. Cheese is like wine; it should be used rarely. And kept in the freezer, tightly wrapped the rest of the time, but I wll buy it when there's a cheese coupon out there! But lately I buy any cheese on sale and smother it with smushed garlic from the press (on toast or corn tortillas.) Why pay 7$ an lb. for SONOMA JACK? I used to cuz I had to have my SONOMA GARLIC JACK which is very WOW! TRES CHERE is all. Then it hit me. How diff is the basic cheese you get elsewhere from that Artisan stuff when you can flavor it yourself with garlic or basil or the other herbs in that pricey cheese. A squeeze on the cheese is no biggie. I own a GARLIC PRESS so now I squeeze raw garlic on the 3.50 an lb KROGER market chain cheese and stick it in quesadillas, cheese melts of all kinds and it's delicious and very affordable. Garlic was made for cheese, ya know?
Today, I carried my cheese coupon to the supermarket, found all the California cheeses were 9$ a pound. My coupon was for Progresso sliced packaged cheeses, but even a COUPON didn't get me a lot of savings on packaged sliced cheese, if you calculated the ounce price. So instead, I picked a big whole pound brick of Colby CHEDDAR mixed with Jack like a ZEBRA cheese, from Minnesota, cost $3.50 a pound, vowing to take good care of this chunk of INVESTMENT CHEESE, in the FREEZER, tightly wrapped so it wouldn't dry out once opened, or absorb flavors. Went home and had two cheese quesadillas. To get that flavor of the Fancy Sonoma Jack Garlic cheese, I smashed a clove of garlic into them. A savory bellyfilling triumph and as I never touched cheese with my fingers, just used a sterile knife, and rewrapped it in a clean plastic bag and put it in Freeze as last time I bought cheese I put it in the BUTTER section of the fridge, that little door, however it did not stay pristine. In a few days I had tad of mold WHICH WOULD SPREAD. That time, I cut mold off, FROZE the sucker.) From that day forward, I freeze my cheese! (I live alone now, four kids moved on. If kids were in the house, I might freeze half, wait til they'd eaten the one in Butter section, then moved the frozen one down into it.)
With Freezer Tech, I don't have to eat it all in a week! I may get another 20 meals of of it, grated on vegies, before that brick is history.
THE BEST TORTILLAS: Only Mexican super markets have the pure, yellow corn tortillas, no preservatives at all, no cellulose which unfortunately all super market tortillas have. My Mex market charges $1.99 for 3 dozen preservative free yellow corn tortillas! I separate them into 4 plastic bags, knot tightly and freeze three!) Then I make a batch of salsa verde to dollop inside of my quesadillas. Tomatillos, jalapenos and cilantro are cheap! You can't buy this stuff anywhere. They have red salsa but not the preferable green. I'd freeze it, too, if you notice spoilage, throw a chunk on hot food, it melts.
HIGH PROTEIN FISH SOUP, ORIENTAL STYLE - A feast in a bowl, and I always seem to get two bowls so one is for midnight. MY KOREAN SUPERMARKET has frozen pollock fillets at 99c, an lb, in 3 lb bags. Take a fillet a day, make my ORIENTAL SOUP with SOBA NOODLES and Broccoli, using their ORIENTAL SEASONINGS. Soba noodles are on sale there, 3 lbs for 5$ and that'll last me a month. I keep them bagged in fridge rest of time. The sesame oil and soy sauce and maybe tiny slice ginger root are the special seasonings. Tofu goes in after soup is made, in small chunks to kick up the protein gramages. As I cook chicken for cats I have tons of clarified chicken broth in fridge all the time. So noodles, fish, onions, ginger & broccoli are simmered in broth.
THE ETHNIC MARKET HABIT - Take the time to walk through this kind of barrio ethnic market vs. always the WHOLE FOODS. My barrio arab market has the great GREEK YOGURT cheaper than super markets, like $2.39 for 32 oz. I need a lot on hand as I put a honey sweetened dollop on top of Pumpkin pie, a savory dollop on enchiladas, quesadillas and I throw my home made jam in yogurt for a dessert pick up, I like my yogurt a full milk product and some cream in the mix, which GREEKS do, no skim milk at all! Same market, in Dec 08 has Walnuts shelled, a pound bag for $2.99. SUPER has it 6$. Another barrio market had fresh crop walnuts in shell $1.39, also good. I use walnuts on the semi baked pie crust before I pour my pumpkin in and rebake. Always lotta orange grated into pumpkin, some raisins too.
COPY THE YOGURT - Throw a heating pad up in cupboard, where the large dishes are. Use last few tbspons yogurt to start a new batch. SMALL BATCH or BIG BATCH
I make a great HEALTHY candy in my blender jar: Drop in seeded dates, dried fruit on hand soaked, lemon juice, lemon rind, any nuts available, roll in coconut, freeze in individ. wrapped plastic.
For these STAPLE FOODS, visit ethnic markets and WHOLE FOODS or TRADER JOES. Make a price comparison then go to the SUPER MARKET CHAIN where they offer double coupons. Don't just automatically go to the healthfood store and plonk down 9$ a lb for cheese gratuitously. A man in a recent study admitted it costs him $800 a month to purchase his groceries from Whole Foods, (WHOLE PAYCHECK he called it, I got that phrase from HIM,) and he's only buying for himself, his girlfriend and an average-sized dog that he feeds like a human. That's $200 a week between $28 and $29 a day for a man, a woman and one satisfied pet. Who can afford that? I cook for my 20 cats and they get pork at 99c, chicken 69-99c and it's a quarter of what canned cat food costs.
People are not thinking, they're just shopping and throwing food into the basket over at the healthfood store and going broke. According to recent statistics 73 percent of the U.S. population consumes organic food and beverages at least some of the time. What's more, the research shows that it's not just the stereotypical highly-educated, high-income, Caucasian female who buys organic. African Americans, Asian Americans and Latino Americans are a fast-growing segment of organic consumers.
In fact, almost as many households with an annual income of less than $50,000 are buying organic foods, as are households with incomes higher than $50,000. This means that people who earn less are still choosing more expensive organic products. But that leaves a fundamental problem: How can you eat healthy without going broke?
To find out, let's pretend we walk thru a few stores and compare prices. Our mission: To see if a single person can eat a healthy and predominantly organic or health food diet on 7$ a day. That's $50 a week, $200 a month.
This means you have $2 for breakfast, $2 for lunch, $2 for dinner, and $1 for a snack. With that reality check, we hit the aisles.
Work the Healthy Combinations - Before pricing produce, consider healthy combinations of food that help when on a tight budget. The first is balance. About a quarter of your plate should be protein, one-third veggies, and a quarter to a third starchy carbs. For the rest, fill it out with any of the three, along with a smaller amount of healthy fats.
Combining certain foods helps complete a meal. One mainstay combination for this Healthy Eating on $7 a Day mission does not just mean beans and a grain. We can have steak, pork, chicken or eggs. (*Your veins will thank you for making meats like beef and pork occasional!) Chuck steak is $2.29 an lb. on sale. Get a big one, make little 4 oz steak-ettes which you freeze. That's how you do it. Each steak costs 50c!!!
Beans have great protein and good, complex, starchy carbs as opposed to refined starch which is useless. Rice alone is not going to banish hunger for as much time as it does when paired with beans. Add a tiny piece of viand, you will assure yourself of a whole amino acid meal but if there's no meat in the house, it's fine to combine a grain and vegetables, topped off with a plant-based protein like almonds or tofu. (Yogi Bhajan says AUROVEDIC DOCTORS skin the almonds. Soak two hrs, peel skin off, throw away , that water is astringent, now. Eating skins is bad for your gut.)
To kick up the aminos, use nuts or eggs on the salad. On the side you would either have whole grain bread, or a cup of bean soup, or hummus which is garbanzo bean dip and which costs l0c an oz, and comes in 79c cans at the Iranian or Asian market. (You add your own garlic/ lemon). Buying your own sesame butter and using bulk garbanzos brings it in even cheaper.
Pair vegetables with inexpensive fish. Tuna is 49c a can at 99c store. Meat is out, at least on a regular budgetary basis, for the $7-a-day shopper. Most meats and fine seafood are too expensive. Which brings us back to the produce aisle.
Veggies and Fruits- Eat dairy and fish once a week, meat about twice a week, but clearly, on $7 a day it's got to be much more of a plant-based diet because if we go look at the prices in the meat department and the fish department, even in smaller portions, a lot of those foods are pretty high dollar.
We suggest vegetables and rice as a breakfast choice. They are balancing, they make your brain work better, they alkalize your system, they help with stress, And they have a natural sweetness.
Vitamin- and mineral-packed organic broccoli at $2.99 per pound, or approximately 60 cents a serving is affordable but at my local ethnic market, broccoli is 50c. lb now. I load up. I could blanche and freeze it, but I bag it, use it daily. The discipline is...when you bought three lbs of broccoli, you promise yourself you will serve it daily! Lots of butter, garlic and lemon so everybody adores it, cut stems right in when I chop and season.)
In January, in CALIF at least, one can put out a lot of broccoli seedlings started in a flat on TABLE on south side of house. (GARDEN INDEX) so I expect broccoli this year for free! And free broc seeds for YOU! Read CHANGE THE WAY WEGET OUR FOOD, an article. When you shop for this costly vegie, you don't need a whole pound. Buy a single stalk and don't worry about stalks, peeled cooked with the rest, they are just as delicious as the tops. Maybe MORE SO! So use the stem. A lot of people throw the stem away. Sometimes it is too fibrous, but they skin up tender & a lot of the nutrition is in the stem.
Check the price of organic cabbage, at $1.49 per pound. Thats half the price of organic broccoli, and it gets the nod. So do carrots, at 99 cents per pound. But hit the ethnic market (Asian, Iranian, Korean, ) Carrots are 33c on sale, 50c regularly. I like the 1-lb bags as I lift a dozen to feel which is heavier and always get a bag that's 1 1/2 lbs in weight that way!
Nutrient-dense chard, spinach and kale, all are organic and more expensive at $2.49 per pound, but they're economical because a little goes a long way. Buy these items at an ethnic market, you'll pay a third of that price.
An organic head of organic red-leaf lettuce is $2.49, or approximately 62 cents per serving. 89c at an Ethnic market. l0c a serving. On sale, Romaine is 50c. Always weigh the object in your hand to get the heaviest one. Cabbage greens, carrots, chards are all fabulous cooked in broth with tofu chunks, sesame oil, chile and are popular "peasant foods" in third world villages,for that reason. We move on to root vegetables and the starchy group.
Root veggies: turnips, rutabagas, potatoes, yams (33c an lb, on sale at barrio market, now in Autumn,) and above ground we have winter squash type starches. We wouldn't compare these to broccoli. I would compare them to starches like rice, only they bring more minerals into play. Green vegetables have less calories and more antioxidants. The root vegetables grow in the dark, under the ground but have vitamins and minerals which rice does not. Have some of both daily. If you eat potatoes, be sure to eat the nutrient-rich skins otherwise they're just diabetes food.
We turn to organic fruit. Exotic fruits would seem to be out but where I live in California, some Mexican immigrants with a little start up cash, (Rumors fly on how they got it!) created a chain of supermarkets called "Vallarta". And when V. has a special on big, red papayas, 33c an lb, I run over fast and get a couple of these big guys, a dead ripe red one for the front part of week, a greener one that will ripen in five days. These big, fleshy fruits becomes a blended drink. Spoon out flesh into blender; scoop til you hit skin. Add a chunk of banana to sweeten the drink & add the juice of one lemon, to give it sour power, blend into a drink or pudding. WOW!
Sometimes you add coconut. Sometime milk, even ice cream or dates. Whizz away!
Fruit is expensive --especially organic apples. Fruit is a luxury. You can find a bargain when you buy bagged apples, pre-packaged in plastic bags, the organic ones at $2.50 for a pound and a half, or 25 cents each, and pears for about the same price. But want a real bargain? Hit the 99c store or the ethnic market which has 3 lbs of fujis or braeburns for 99c. Can't beat a dime an apple, same price as in the DEPRESSION!
Bananas are a good choice at 99c store, too: three pounds for 99c. I always feel the various bundles, pick the heaviest. Do that with all pckgs of carrots, bags of tortillas.
JUICES in bottles are costly. They aren't quite REAL, either. They're pasteurized, and loaded with CORN SYRUP so I have a trick. I buy them only if there's a hefty coupon and then I cut the juice with real grapefruit juice. My bumper sticker says "I brake for garage sales," but I also brake for grapefruit trees around my California barrio which strew fruit on lawns. Every time I return from market I've got a dozen graepfruits or lemons bouncing around the front seat. I juice them quick and throw this sour power juice into my Strawberry/kiwi/ concord type juice bottles. Like a California dope dealer, I 'cut' the juice. It's way tastier, way more alive and I feel holier than if I were drinking straight supermarket juice. Not to mention the cash I save!
FLAVORINGS/ SPICES - Garlic and onions are my fave food spices. I eat them in everything savory. Scrambled eggs, refried beans. The 99c Store gives us 3 lbs of onions for 99c. Sometimes the Arab, Iranian, Mexican or Korean supermarket has onions for 25c. an lb. These markets send me technicolor circulars weekly. I keep those in my purse or coupon holder or on floor in car. There I shop the specials. Maybe I'll buy bags of six garlic heads for 99c. If any start to sprout, they get planted immediately. All your usual cooking spices are bonmarche at the 99c store. Why pay 8$ a jar at supermarket? The red savory mixture is of course something you make yourself: cayenne/ paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, celery seeds, tumeric, thyme.
Chile sesame oil is my fave flavor in stews, soups, salad dressings. It is cheap at the Asian market. My local Korean market is huge, full of fabulous things. There's an Asian market a few miles from here that has a wall of fish swimming! They fly it in to California from CHINA in tanks of sea water!
At Healthfood store, Avocados are costly ($2 each), my Iranian market has them for 50c each. Pre-mixed salads
($5.99 per pound) are over my head. The concept is bewildering. How hard is it to wash new heads of salad in the sink, drain and bag? Since the SPINACH poisoning case, that wonderful, high mineral green stuff is 50c a bunch at the little markets. I always pick the biggest, heaviest bunches, weighing one after the next in my hand. My ethnic super market has green peppers at 59c, an lb, ($3.99 per pound at WHOLE FOODS). I wash pepper carefully, get all poisons off. AND always, garden with your food. How? YOU CAN GROW the center part of SPINACH in your garden! Fingernail clip off all outer leaves and plant the center with its little red root and your garden will be full of spinach! Same with onions, garlic. We use the mother plant as a bulb or cutting! Same with berries. Get the ruined boxes out on the dumpster, squish them in water, and "plant" the squished berries in potting soil in flats. You get thousands of berry plants! Squish a tomato into a glass of water. Next day, take those seeds and strain, air dry.
You could go broke at WHOLE FOODS eating Tomatoes ($1 for one). Sales at ethnic markets procure them for 59c, an lb but this week, our local Mexican market chain, "Vallarta" has 'em 33c an lb. Don't fridge the little gems. Arrange in a bowl in sight. They are meant to sweeten up at room temps! Rot in the cold! And why buy organic canned tomato sauce at $1.69 for 14 ounces? I buy the tomatoes for 33c an lb, fry in real olive wi. real garlic, onion and get a pound can of organic sauce 16 oz for 40c!
Oranges, at WHOLE FOODS PAYCHECK are $3 a pound, this doesn't make sense to me. I drive a mile to market on back streets, sight citrus trees scattering fruit, find lemons, grapefruits, tangarines, oranges all over the ground. I've memorized where the trees are. You can't do that in MINNESOTA I'll admit but you may have an ethnic supermarket where you get a fair shake.
Seafood, Dairy and Meats- FERGAWDSAKES, Don't buy fish at WHOLE FOODS. Just check the prices as you breeze by the seafood section toward the dairy section (where FRESH YOGURT with 4 cultures is cheaper than anywhere else, even an Iranian market, 32 oz costing $1.99). At WHOLE FOODS, Wild salmon is $18 per pound. If you have that kind of money, use it to buy stock in the 99c store! Tilapia, is $7.99, even at SuperMarket Chains it's soared 8 times to that price now. Fish is out, unless you
1) hit the ORIENTAL market. Asians demand fresh fish be flown in. Many stores have huge aquariums on teh walls, and they catch it live! My market has fabulous frozen fish. I buy a bag of fillets for $1.59 an lb, POLLOCK is the cheapest of all the fish they offer. DELICIOUS.
2.) VALLARTA Mex market chain has whole TILAPIA on sale at 69c an LB. I buy ten fish, a pound each, freeze 9. Fry them whole, eat the skin and pull the tiny bones out of my mouth. I don't fillet the little guys!
3.) KROGER foods was once a meat wholesaler before they bought West of Rockies' biggest super market chain. They bring 2 lb bags of fish in by the hundred. Fairly inexpensively, too. 2$ an lb, bagged whiting fillets! HALIBUT is not that cheap though. WHITING is fabulous, though.
4.) Canned sardines are not pricey at the 99c store. Sardines are a great way to get omega 3 oils, of the essential fatty acids needed in your diet. They're also high in calcium as bones are consumed. Whole Foods has 'em at double the price, offering a tin for $1.79. But that's 89-cent for two servings. I am incapable of eating a sardine --however I appreciate anchovies as a seasoning agent. You grind an anchovy into pizza sauce or olive salad dressing, it tastes double good and nobody knows you even used a fish. That's what ANCHOVY PASTE is for. I distrust the tin element in the tube form they sell so I'd advise: buy your anchoves fresh or salted at Asian market, tight wrap them in plastic, freeze the whole bunch like cigarettes. Take out one fishie for a new blender jar of salad dressing, grind into the mix, or mortar/pestle it into paste and slowly add olive oil if you're making a jar of dressing. NOBODY will know why your salad dressing tastes so amazingly good. HINT: Never let a child under age of 13 see you do it! If they knew little fishes were ground into .......too weird!
In the dairy area of WHOLE PAYCHECK, we discover that organic milk costs 50 cents per cup, but flavored milk that is packaged in single servings, sweetened and marketed to children costs $1.29 per cup. At 99c store, price drops to a dime a cup for homogenized, full fat milk. We find plain organic yogurt less expensive than sweetened yogurt, and after much searching, $1.99 a 32 oz container. You'll find an 8-ounce package of mild cheddar cheese for $2.99, or approximately 37-to-50 cents per serving. As we leave, we price tofu at $1.90 for 19 ounces, or 47 cents per serving. I wouldn't live on tofu, but you can have one to two meals of it a week, in soup.
MEAT: There are no organic meats within our price range. So who cares what the animal ate during his lifetime? He's dead. What does it matter? We poor folks eat meat so very occasionally, we can dare to BUY NON-ORGANIC MEAT! Small fryers are on sale a WHOLE FOODS for $1.59 per pound. At those high prices, what you're paying for the bone is exhorbitant. (Although My neighbor's dog Blinky Ramirez is a veritable garbage disposal and triterates chicken bones of their knobs, spitting out shafts which are dangerous.) By steering away from RED meat, I get my protein cheap. I go to the KOREAN market and pollock is $1.59 a lb, delicious fish! The only cheap one they offer. And at Vallarta ethnic markets Pollo is often 49c. an lb, and when it is, I walk out with 20-lbs. I rewrap these chicken leg quarters in small plastic bags and freeze 2 or 3 quarters thigh/legs to a bag. Bones don't bother me when they cost me 49 an lb. Anyway, Blinky is the garbage disposal dog who comes in under the fence to beg. He gets the bones, chews them up and digests them like an Insinkerator with four legs and a waggy tail!
Want to eat beef bottom roast at $5 a lb over at WHOLE CHECK? Beef is $1.49 at the ethnic super market. I will fry it lightly in garlic, add water and stew it at low temp with tons of vegies, curry powder, garlic, cilantro and serve on rice or simmer it with vegies for soup to stretch it out. Buy several pounds of whatever viand is on sale and freeze it in small pckgs for later.. Ground turkey thigh at WHOLE PAYCHECK is no deal at $2.99 per pound. At the supermarket I pay 99c for a plastic bullet of triterated turkey burger weighing a pound. Great in chili or meatloaf or enchiladas or --if you like work, -- in CHILE RELLENOS w. onions/ raisins (called picadillo.) Very tasty stuff. I cook it with carrots and give it to the cats, too. POULTRY fat is not nearly as hard-tallow as beef, so is kinder to your veins.
Forget WHOLE FOODS for meat. You are better off shopping the specials at Major SuperMarket chains. When liver goes down to 89c, and Chicken quarters to 59c, and blade cut steak is $1.29 and pork shoulder is 79c, buy a lot. Cut into smaller pckgs, freeze them.
On this diet, you don't need to worry about overeating carbs because you are not going to be able to afford to. Chips are way too costly and they've toxic, oversalted, full of harmful canola oil. But if you must chip, add dip. You can get yourself into CHIP trouble if you don't put protein with your starch meal. Read ENTER THE ZONE. *clickable URL. The Zone books are summarized there. They suggest a balance that is important. Never let carbs dominate. What is going to be tricky is getting adequate protein because the protein sources are the most expensive, but that's where you are going to get your minerals.
LAST, MINERALIZE THE WHOLE BUSINESS. Get good sea salts. Hit Oriental grocery and get seaweed to add to your meals a couple of times a week to improve your mineral intake. Dulse and kelp, are expensive at WHOLE FOODS, (dulse, for example, is $4.99 per bag) a sprinkle of seaweed over a stir-fry could amount to only 31 cents. But hit the big ASIAN market, you find these items for pennies. Along with oyster flavored soy sauce (for tofu in brown sauce, with shitake mushrooms.) the dried shitakes, real aged tamari soy sauce and other goodies like fresh fish! And dashi (bonito flakes,) absolutely necessary for oriental soups. And chile sesame oil, totally needed for any meat or fish dish!
The All-Important Bulk Aisle- WHOLE FOODS always had a bulk aisle, the backbone of affordable food shopping. Here you get nuts at lower prices than big supermarket chains, organic almonds and cashews at an unheard of low price, $3.99 per pound. I find walnuts, shelled, at an Iranian market for $3.65 a pound, nibble them with dates instead of candy.
Check out the flax, sesame and sunflower seeds. These are used to make vegie burgers grinding them a bit then adding onion, celery, mushroom, bell pepper. Moderation is the key to eating nuts affordably. You have to find them for a good price and use them n your snack and meat dishes along with other things.. Dont just grind away at the bag of nuts as if it were popcorn. It's ten times the calories! One meal you might say I need two tablespoons of nuts to help fancy up things. Stringbeans amandine. Vegieburgers based on almonds and toasted sesame seeds.. Cookies with walnuts in the batter.
Price out bulk organic brown rice ($1.39 per pound), remembering that at the 99c store it's 50c an lb Buying basmati at an Arab market you'll pay 70c an lb for that buttery, nutty variety of rice. A l0 lb bag is about 6.99 right now. At WHOLE FOODS, whole wheat pasta ($1.99 per pound), is pricey but probably better for you than the refined pastas available at other shops.
Oats while high in gluten, are useful if you make your own cookies or keep fresh cream and cinnamon in the house for steaming hot breakfasts. (89 cents per pound) Cornmeal (59 cents per pound) helps you throw together healthy pancakes, muffins. We see dried beans that translate to 30 cents per cup once cooked, and lentils at 22 cents per cup. After some searching, we find whole grain or multi-grain bread that costs 20 cents per slice. Brown rice and pasta are about the same if you buy bulk versus prepackaged, but bulk oatmeal and cornmeal are much cheaper.
Splurge Suggestions- CANDY ANYONE? Get dried fruit, on sale at ethnic markets, dried figs, dates. Get HEALTHFOOD store unsulphured apricots, cherries. Throw a mix of these fruits into blender or food processor with some lemon juice and lemon rind, coconut meat, (cut out of a real whole coconut, a buck each at ethnic markets). You get a pasty candy dough. You can add walnuts, chopped almonds toasted for one flavor, blanched for another...Roll finished ball in coconut flakes which you make yourself with food processor. Wrap in candy papers, or wrap in plastic. Tissue paper. Store in glass jar. Call them pinatas. Make a rule, no more than two a day and none in the two hours before dinner!
Have an ice cream maker? - Make a custard, with milk, eggs, little salt, some sugar. Cool it down. Then add a carton of real cream, whiz it up with some fresh nectarines. Throw into those FREEZER-containers with the little SPIN WHEEL as you have to keep spinning it as it freezes to keep it creamy, non granular. Press finished ice cream into a carton, keep in freezer ready to go. Kosher salt required for chipped ice if it's an old fashioned churn means a trip to the store! CHIPPED ice hard to find, too!
Tip for Healthy Family Eating on a Budget- To feed a family of four, stretch out the protein by making chopped meat into soups, stews and chili. Try a WHITE CHILI one night to make things interesting. Chopped turkey with yellow jalapenos for heat. White beans and double douse the recipe with millet all of which will cook up white. Try meat loaf another week. Then steam peel chiles, stuff them and try Egg batter (chile rellenos). Serve fried beans,corn tortillas with that.
The Budget-Breakers: Foods to Avoid- Which foods should you avoid no matter how much you want to spend? Crackers, chips, sweetened drinks, convenience bars and juice (if you don't cut it with real grapefruit,) is like pouring money down a hole. All cost a lot and are barely nutritional. If I have a coupon, I will buy 64 oz of juice but I rationalize, I can easily juice citrus and add that juice to each glass. Lemon and grapefruit really perk up JUICY JUICE and bring the cost down. And so do coupons. I never go near juice without a coupon.
NEVER buy Crackers; they price out at $1 per ounce! Instead, take a cup of your whole grain flour, throw some melted ghee and sea salt into it, a little vegie water, a few tbspns of sesame seeds, a 1/3 tsp of SESAME OIL, roll into a ball. Fridge a half hour. ROLL THIN, throw on a baking pan in hot oven. QUELLE CRACKER. A few pennies an ounce. Store in big jar wi. tight lid! (Thrift store has 'em) And this cracker has ReAL TASTE!
~^~^~^~^~~^~^~^~^~~^~^~^~ TYPICAL WEEK ~^~^~^~^~~^~^~^~^~^~^~
Tofu (20 cents), veggies (pennies), brown rice (20 cents)
or Oats (30c) cream, (25c) honey. (pennies)
or 2 Eggs (18c if from 99C store) and hashed brown potatoes (30 cents) Homemade sausage done with 79c. an lb pork shoulder you mince with a knife (Don't want pig in MY blender!)....seasoned salt, fresh sage.
Snack: Two dates (5 cents), 12 almonds (22 cents)
Lunch: Raw spinach salad, home made garlicky olive oil, 20c, two corn tortillas, (5c)
Dinner: Fryer chicken ($1), veggies ($1), brown rice (20 cents)
Breakfast: Oatmeal (20 cents), 12 nuts (22 cents), raisins (22 cents), dates, cinnamon. REAL CREAM
or WHIZZY Milk (50 cents), protein powder (20 cents) and some banana
Or Eggs (39 cents) and veggies ($1) Bacon has gone sky high. So grind up sausage from a single chop of pork.
Lunch: blade steak 4 oz (60c on sale) Spinach salad, 20c.
Snack: One organic apple (25 cents), dollop of organic peanut butter (14
Dinner: Turkey chili ($1), lentils (22 cents), veggies ($1), stock from
fryer chicken (50 cents), whole wheat berries (5 cents)
DESSERT: ICE CREAM
Breakfast: Cornmeal (14 cents), tasty pumpkin/ sunflower seeds (30c), nuts (22 cents), real, raw honey (10cents) Make it into a corn batter, heat butter in a heavy skillet, fry up their breakfast.
BAG Lunch: Chili beans from last night, inside your salad roulades, with cream chese inside. (50c.)
Snack: Veggies (20c), homemade hummus (90 cents) as a dip.
Dinner: Salad (62 cents) with chicken ($1), veggies ($1),
dressing lemon/garlic your homemade seasoning salts and olive oil ($1)
Breakfast: One egg (39 cents if organic, 10c if from 99c store), whole grain toast (20 cents), piece of
fruit (25 cents)
AT HOME Lunch: Beans (30 cents), rice (20 cents), veggies (50c)
Snack: Carrots,(pennies) cheese piece (50 cents) Wrap cheese in romaine or spinach which was buttered lightly with your homemade ranch dressing. YUM!
Dinner: Half can sardines (89 cents), pasta (49 cents), tomato sauce (16
Breakfast: Veggies (90 cents), brown rice (20 cents), sliced cashews (22
cents), sprinkle of cheese (50 cents)
Lunch: Hummus (90 cents), whole wheat bread (20 cents), lettuce leaf (30
Snack: Banana (50 cents) and peanut butter (14 cents)
Dinner: Whole wheat pasta (49 cents), veggies ($1), beans (30 cents), nuts
(22 cents), brewerâ€ôs yeast (20 cents)
Breakfast: Brown rice (20 cents), red beans (30 cents), miso (15 cents),
Lunch: Lettuce and veggies ($1), second half of sardine can (89 cents)
Snack: Sliced pears and apples (50 cents), cheese (50 cents)
Dinner: Brown rice (20 cents), veggies ($1), tofu (47 cents), sesame seeds
Breakfast: Plain yogurt (60 cents), sliced apple (25 cents), coconut,
sunflower seeds or ground flax seeds ($1)
Lunch: Kale (pennies), chard, (pennies) rice (20 cents), onions (5 cents)
Kick up the protein with tofu
Snack: Roasted yam (30 cents) with butter, chopped onion 12 cashews (22 cents)
Dinner: Soup from chicken stock ($1), lentils (22 cents) veggies ($50c), grains (20 cents), one slice whole wheat bread (20 cents)
Healthy Investment on Eating for Less
If you're committed to eating on $7 a days, you may want to invest in some assistance:
PASTA MAKER- Italian versions are the best. 40$
Rice cooker, as low as $27 on www.veryasia.com
Wok, between $25 and $40 on www.amazon.com
Glass jars for bulk items, $23 for 36 8-ounce ball canning jars
at www.freundcontainer.com but a jar is a jar. EASY to collect thousands, free.
Extra freezer, if you get serious, $234 for a chest freezer that will hold 10 pounds of frozen food, www.appliancesworld.com
Supermarket vs. Whole Foods
You might not have a Whole Foods or comparable natural grocery near you. Here is a side-by-side comparison for many of the items covered in this Eating Healthy and Organic on Pennies a Day story:
Safeway Whole Foods 99c store
Organic brown rice .50c lb
$1.29 per pound $1.39-$1.49 per pound
Brown Basmati rice Ethnic market 79c lb.
COSTLY cheaper not basmati but brown, 3 lbs 99c
Organic bulk beans (lentils)
$1.79 per pound $1.39 per pound 25c lb
$1.99 for 19 ounces 99c w. coupon n/a
$1.90 for 19 ounces
$9.99 per pound $3.99 per pound (BULK) n/a
$ 7.19 per pound $3.99 per pound n/a
$1.50 per pound $2.99 per pound 99c big bunch
50c lb on sale occas.
Bulk organic oats
$1.19 per pound 89 cents per pound 99c a cannister
Bulk organic corn meal cheap n/a
69 cents per pound
59 cents per pound
$1.40 per pound, bagged 2 lbs 99c
$1.67 per pound, bagged not organic tho, WASHEM!
Organic peanut butter Cannot be found at 99c store. GRIND
$2.99 for 18 ounces your own with VITAMIX and organic
$2.99 for 18 ounces peanuts. 99c store pnut butter has lard.
Use Coupon at Sup Mark. for Scudders
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