I hear it all the time…..”EATING HEALTHY IS SO EXPENSIVE!” Sure it is….if you shop at speciality stores!! I learned a long time ago that there are many ways to save money, eat healthy, and help the environment.
I am a single mom and finding ways to save money is extremely important, but so is eating healthy. So I needed to find ways to combine the two. So I started to really look at what is out there and ways to save starting with growing my own vegetables, composting, and dehydrating a lot of my own foods.
I started with growing vegetables outside and then canning or freezing them to have all winter long. Although I love them, I really love fresh vegetables but they cost a fortune during winter. I then decided to grow my plants inside in cute pots that make my home adorable and cost effective by producing fresh produce! The only issues I had was waiting for the plants to sprout and grow enough to transplant, having big enough pots, always buying soil, and needing nutrients…..yeah, it sounds like a lot, I know.
So, what did I do? I bought an Aerogarden (want to learn more, check out my earlier post). This machine is the best for growing your seeds quickly. Now, it comes with nutrients, but I needed my plant to grow FAST! So I invested in Skunkwerks….Skunkwerks is one of the best growing nutrients on the market that doubles the size of plants in TEN DAYS! So this added to the Aerogarden which is a hydroponic growing system with LED bulbs that simulate natural light it is almost completely foolproof. In about six weeks I was able to transplant my plants to pots. I was able to then grow food all year round. It saved me a ton in food costs. As for soil….compost! You can buy a small composter online or make your own. They are key for cutting out the cost of soil. As for pots….ask friends if they have any they don’t want or need, check thrift stores, or buys some terra cotta pots and paint them to fit your personality! Although in the beginning there is a cost if you use the Aerogarden and buy a composter, you will earn it all back within the first year. But you can do all this with pots, and a homemade composter.
Now I have grown plants in pots in apartments and my home. It is easy to do and does save money in the long run. I am working on an avocado, lemon, lime, and cherry tree next. Which will take about a year before they will produce but will be worth it once they do.
NOW, not everyone wants to go this route or feel they don’t have the time or money. So what should you do? First, PLAN YOUR MEALS OUT! This is key to keep you from over spending! If you can plan meals out for at least two weeks at a time then you can buy in bulk, then prep the meals ahead of time. Next, knowing how to shop! This is important because most people shop the inner aisles of the store which contain a high amount of processed foods which are bad for your health. So stay to the outer edges!
Most have heard that Aldi’s is the best and in a way, I agree however, BE CAREFUL! I have gotten some bad produce but overall the produce is pretty amazing and a great price. If you are buying meat, buy in huge amounts so that you can break it up into a few different meals or even better, find a local organic farm and go in with a group of people and purchase meat that way. The meat is fresher, healthier, and costs less per pound this way. You can also see how the farms are and how they treat their animals. For me, I prefer meat alternatives and there are amazing options out there now that we didn’t have when I first started. Next, do you have a product you absolutely love? CALL THE COMPANY AND TELL THEM! Then ask for coupons lol. Most will send you coupons for money off or even for free products!
So things to remember:
1. Grow your own veggies when you can!
2. PLAN OUT YOUR MEALS! Pinterest has a lot of great recipes that will work for every person! Look for plant based or whole food recipes so that you are creating a healthy meal plan.
3. Invest in an Aerogarden, composter, pots, crock pot and I also invested in a dehydrator, and food saver.
4. Stay away from center aisles of the store as much as possible! The outside circle is where it is at! Fresh, organic, and non processed is the way to go.
5. Ask for coupons form your favorite companies ( you can message them or email if you are not one that likes to call.)
6. Start slow! When we start to make changes we tend to buy too much too quickly which can equal failure. Start with a few meals to try along with just making changes to some of your meals you already love.
7. FARMERS MARKETS are a godsend! Local, healthy, great prices and so much fun!
8. Last……..HAVE FUN! Don’t stress if you don’t eat healthy each day…you will get there!
Where to get the products I talked about: