One of the biggest reasons given for falling off the nutrition and/or paleo 'wagon' is the price of food (meat/veggies)
This Article is Dedicated to all the students out there, who want to eat well but are on a very tight budget with several fixed costs (rent, tuition etc.)
A recent Article in the Toronto Star experimented with eating at Dollarama for a week, inspired by the movie 'SuperSize Me' . While Both Stories provide comic relief and insight into the options available at both businesses both end with the conclusion that, indeed, poor fuel = poor feelings.
So what are the frugal but health conscious to do?
As we would in any situation where we want to accomplish a goal we need to assess the limiters, the resources and the desired outcome. This is same process as setting out a plan to win a race, lose weight or maximize health.
Goal: Eat well, in most readers' cases, to support training and school activities
Resources: Minimal amount needed to accomplish goal
Final Outcome: achieve training goals, don't starve, minimize debt, maximize health benefit of food
Strategies I have found work for me and clients:
1) Learn how to shop by Unit Price (ie. $/kg, $/g, $/lb)
Knowing what a good price is for 'x' food and what amount of 'x' food you get compared to 'y' food is important to maximizing your money. Knowing that Liver and Kidneys are available at ~$.5/kg vs. $2/kg for chicken breast could make the choice very easy. Ground and Roasts are other cheap options typically.
2) It doesn't HAVE to be organic, free range, grassfed to get much of the benefit of whole food/paleo approach ... Don't stress, someday you will be able to be more selective.
3) Learn to cook tougher meats (stewing / slow cook / healthy home-made marinates / roasts)
4) Grow things, Herbs are possible in windows in the winter as are a few other plants, but in general a garden is a great way to save money and maximize your appreciation for the work it takes to grow food. Squash, onions, Tomatoes are usually quite easy to grow and opposed to something like potatoes are usually not super cheap in the store.
5) Shop around - Budget Grocers, like no frills, often have decent produce. Be picky but know what is worth paying more for and what is similar to these budget shops.
6) Don't fret over a few Canned / frozen Meat/Veg meals - Tuna, Sardines, Salmon are all fairly cheap and frozen spinach and other veggies can really help bridge gaps, provide veggies when too busy to shop and cut costs. Watch for sales and stock up on these items.
7) Make friends with a Hunter or become one - This is not for everyone from a moral or location standpoint but many hunters do not have a family that will eat game meat and are looking for people to share costs of butchering.
8) Learn to Love Organ Meats and Bone Broths - These are cheap and Nutritious
9) 50% off and discount items - Loss in nutrients and contamination is a concern with both meat and veggies but if you have a good eye for what is usable you can really get a discount on meats and veggies. *this was how I first got to buy organic produce. Do not forget this trick for non-perishables and frozen items.
10) Farmer's Markets - This can be a good place to pick up select items. Know your ideal price/kg and stick too it. Many have had success going later and bartering, I have never done this though ! Along the same lines look at food baskets and CSA - Farm Shares, you may be able to go in on a veggie basket or part/whole Cow at a really reasonable rate.
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What did I Miss ? Please Post your Tips to Comments for Others to Make the Most of their $ !!!
Keep me posted and Stay Healthy
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