My Top 5 Tips to Eat Clean on a Budget

I love to follow other health-conscious foodies on Instagram and their blogs, but sometimes the foods and products they choose for their organic, healthy recipes can be pretty expensive or have ingredients that you rarely use on a weekly basis. I try to keep my family’s meals affordable and easy with the 5 tips below to eat healthy and clean on a budget:

1. DIY on some of the expensive store stuff. My favorite DIYs are below and they save me quite a bit of money – not to mention that they don’t have any preservatives in them!

  1. Nut Butters (Walnut, Almond, Sun-butter). All you have to do is put the nuts in a food processor and push start!  I have found if the nuts are roasted beforehand for 10-15 minutes (or bought roasted), they form a nut butter faster in the food processor. Patience, this can take 8-10 minutes but it is SO worth it!  Add a little Himalayan sea salt if you want a little extra flavor.
  2. Almond Milk (Check out my new recipe!)
  3. Home-made Mayo (I put this on everything!)
  4. Nut Balls – We call these cookies in my house and freeze them right away for a nice treat. Kids LOVE them!
  5. Bone Broth – great source of protein and so easy if you can find some bones from your local farmer or butcher!

2. Buy frozen & packaged organic items from your bulk stores (Sam’s or Costco) 

I’m lucky to have a Costco close by and they’ve done a great job bringing a big variety of organic items into their store over the last year. My top 10 frozen items I buy and freeze are:

  • Wild Caught Alaskan Salmon
  • Organic Chicken Thighs (3 individual packages I freeze)
  • Organic Grass Fed Beef (3 individual packages I freeze) – I did this before I had a CSA that delivered amazing meat
  • Frozen chopped spinach
  • Frozen Broccoli
  • Frozen Organic Mixed Berries (Raspberries, Blueberries, Strawberries)
  • Wild Planet Tuna in Cans
  • Wild Caught Alaskan Salmon in Cans (for my sweet potato salmon cakes!)
  • 8 Pack of canned organic black beans
  • 2 pack glass jar organic marinara sauce

3. Go meatless (but not protein-less) 1-2 times a week for dinner

Protein doesn’t always have to come from an animal! When it does, it can be quite expensive, especially since all the animal protein I buy is organic. There are plenty of plant-based meals that can leave you feeling satisfied! My top 3 go-to meatless meals are:

  1. Vegan Falafel Salad
  2. Eggplant Pizza
  3. Frittata (You can throw anything in here!)

These are my favorite two bloggers to get plant based recipes:

  1. Minimalist Baker
  2. Detoxinista

4. Shop for local produce while it is in season (both in your grocery & at your local Farmer’s Market)

  • Produce is usually cheaper when it is in season because there is a greater supply of it.  Use this link to find out what is in season in your area! Usually the local farmer’s markets will have an abundance of fresh organic produce for prices similar to your grocery store, not to mention you lessen the carbon footprint of your food by buying and supporting local farmers. The food from the farmers market is picked at its peak ripeness, so you also get the tastiest food because it doesn’t have to sit on a truck and go through transport from a different country, region.
  • Grocery stores lately are doing a great job of supporting local farms in the area and have an area with produce grown in your region. Most of the time these items are fresh and priced well!
  • Do you always have to buy organic? I love the dirty dozen list (it changes so stay up to date with this link!) Each year the foods with the highest pesticides are put on here so you can make sure to buy organic for these items. It also gives you tips on other items where you might not necessarily have to go organic and can save some money.

5. Make a list of what you need before you go to the store. Keep in mind you can make new meals out of your leftovers so you can double up to make it easy on yourself!

If you are anything like me, you’ll get to the store and wonder if you already have something in your pantry, and then just end up buying it anyway…aaaand that’s how I end up with 5 cans of chick peas and coconut milk (not a bad thing, but I could eliminate the excess!)  Take 10 minutes to get on my website (or others you like) to get some ideas on what you already have on hand that you can make during the week and what you need to pick up to make it happen. You may end up only having 15 items on your list for the whole week after you figure out your meals.

I like to plan to make 4 dinners during the week and use leftovers from those meals to re-create a new meal or two. For example, if you are planning on making the Falafel salad, then you have the ingredients to whip up the Mediterranean Stuffed Sweet Potatoes too! I also love the idea of putting leftover chili or taco meat over a big ol’ salad to use up leftovers and excess veggies in in the fridge.

Some of these tips are no-brainers and just require a little extra planning before we head out to the store.  But a small reminder can inspire us along the way and help us save! Please share with me on our FB page or below in the comments your favorite ways to stay within budget!

Xoxo

Chelsea

 

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