If you’re like me, you’re working with a budget every time you step into the supermarket. Cooking at home can be healthier and save money, but sometimes it seems like buying all of those ingredients to make delicious healthy meals isn’t too economical.
“Putting good food on your family’s table on a $5-or-$6-dollar-a-day budget is tough, but it’s possible,” said co-author Dawn Undurraga, Environmental Working Group (EWG) nutritionist and registered dietitian. EWG researchers assessed nearly 1,200 foods, comparing national average food prices and 19 different nutrients in order to identify the most nutritious foods that are easy on the wallet and the planet. They factored in pesticide residue rankings and environmental impacts to help consumers lower their exposures to toxic chemicals and reduce their carbon footprints.
I combined their findings with some of my own tips:
- Raw cabbage is a top-ranked vegetable based on nutrition and price. At less than a 10 cents a serving, it’s cheaper (and less calories) than potatoes and can be served as a salad, stuffed, or used in stir-fries, stews and soups.
- Carrots, bananas, frozen broccoli, pears and watermelon receive high marks for nutrition and ring up at less than 30 cents a serving.
- Pears have more fiber, potassium and folate – and fewer pesticide residues – than apples.
- One of the most nutritious and budget friendly animal proteins is whole chicken. Cook a whole chicken at the beginning of the week and use it in various meals during the week.
- Fresh isn’t always more expensive. And canned isn’t always cheaper. Fresh carrots are cheaper than frozen. Frozen corn can be cheaper than canned. Think about that when making your shopping list.
- Love Salmon, but think you can’t afford it? Canned Salmon is always wild caught and is much cheaper than fresh. Canned salmon is great on salads and in wraps.
- Boil, bake or roast three servings of real potatoes for the same cost as a single serving of hash browns.
- Queso blanco costs less than processed American cheese…like Velveeta, YUCK! I don’t even consider that cheese.
- Boil half a dozen eggs at the beginning of the week and eat them as a snack or in salads for an extra boost of protein.
- Use meat as a side dish rather than the main course.
- Buy in bulk. Costco carries organic chicken, grass-fed beef, goat cheese, almond butter, and many other healthy products at wholesale prices.
- Shaklee180 smoothies for breakfast. $3 per meal!