Monday, May 10, 2010

Frugal Food

My journey toward simple living includes eating more whole foods, especially a wide variety of organic fruits, veggies and naturally raised animals. This can be a pricey venture, but it need not break the bank. I've come up with 5 changes in routine that will help me afford my new eating habits.

1. Join a CSA. This way I am getting a large variety of fruits and veggies in season and delivered right to my door. I love that the CSA accepts cash, since using cash is an important part of my frugal living strategy. I know for certain that $50 of my $100/wk grocery budget will be spent Thursday at 6pm and this helps me plan the rest of my spending accordingly, centering my meals around the produce.

2. Eat less meat. I simply cannot afford naturally raised meat at every meal. It helps that I quite like many vegetarian options. As for getting enough protein, simply mix a grain with a legume and voila: complete protein. Rice and black beans, hummus with pita, and veggie omelets are a few of my favorite vegetarian options.

3. Buy meat directly from a local producer, in larger quantities. A friend of mine is considering ordering a side of beef directly from a local producer. This sounds intimidating to me, but many people have done so and swear by the system. Personally, I'm not a big fan of beef, so I'm currently researching local lamb, chicken and pork producers. More on this in the future.

4. Cut out convenience foods. It's amazing how quickly the cost of a few snacks like chips, chocolate bars or convenience foods can add up. By omitting convenience foods from my cart, I can spend my hard earned dollars on real foods, without going over budget.

5. Process foods yourself. I used to buy a container of hummus from the supermarket every week. That's a weekly cost of $6. This weekend, I made a huge batch from scratch and froze it in 2 cup containers. My new weekly cost for hummus is $2. Chicken broth is another good option to make yourself. My weekly cost for chicken broth used to be $4. By using a leftover chicken carcass and ends of vegetables, I've reduced this cost to almost $0. Habits like making coffee at home and bringing lunch to work also help quite a bit with reducing food costs. $100 a week on food doesn't go far at a restaurant.

By creating these new habits, I can follow my simple eating philosophy while still living frugally. Are there any habits you would add to this list?

Take Care,

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