Eating well...on a budget (Part 2)
Updated: Oct 6, 2022
Recap: We know that eating well can be an investment when compared to the mass-produced convenience foods that are readily available (and often on Sale in the standard grocery aisle). But we KNOW this investment can actually benefit your pocketbook. Welcome back to the second portion of a series where we are exploring this concept together.
Let's recap what we mean by "Eating Well":
What eating "WELL" means: Science has proven that eating: less processed foods, more whole or complex grains, grass-fed ruminant meat and pasture-raised chicken and pork (produced naturally), wild caught fish, locally produced fruits and vegetables (also produced naturally) is better for our overall health and contributes to the avoidance and even reversal of many illnesses. Locally produced foods, grown with good soil practices, are often drastically fresher and higher in nutritional value. We believe that local, raw, and grass-fed dairy, also has exceptional health benefits but mass production of these products can be unsafe: All the better reason to buy small and buy local!
Last post, we explored the health benefits of eating well, in both prevention and reversal of illness or disease. There is so much research behind the longevity, wellness, and even beauty benefits directly linked to Eating Well. One famous remarkable example is found in the town of Acciaroli, where there is found one of the densest populations of people over 100 years old, all credited to diet and an active lifestyle. This topic is one we could discuss for days and of course, because this is our passion here at Rocking 5 S Farms, we will continue to share everything we learn about these topics in the future. But let's get back to the meat and gravy of saving those dollar bills! We will finish with my top three tips, because if there is anyone who knows about good food and tight budgets... it's farmers!
Nutrient Density and Satiety
When we discuss the benefits of farm fresh foods, like pasture-raised proteins, we talk ALOT about nutrient density. Nutrient density is the measurement of how many nutrients are available per calorie of a particular food. For example, a slice of divine chocolate cake's nutrient density is rather low, providing few vitamins and minerals compared to the calories consumed, while a cup of bone broth provides many vitamins with a small caloric tag. It makes sense that nutrient dense foods give us a lot more nutritional bang for our buck, but they also provide improved satiety as well. Satiety is the feeling of satisfaction or fullness that we can obtain from a meal. Picture the way you feel following an indulgent holiday meal (But not stuffed!)
That means, eating nutritionally dense foods makes it HARDER to overeat. Rather, you feel more satisfied by smaller portions. saving those dollars on the AMOUNT of food needed for a single meal (but also your waistline with the number of calories consumed at that meal)
One of the ways that we reduce grocery costs is buying our shelf stable pantry staples in bulk. For us, this is usually things like beans, rice, flour, pastas, and even salt or chocolate chips. Buying these in bulk is often much less expensive in the long run and only requires a little adjustment to storing techniques. Plus, it's actually very convenient. When our fridge is looking a little low, we rely on dry beans to make hearty meals for cheap! In the modern world, finding time to run to the grocery store for a huge haul every week is less and less plausible. Bonus: The less you shop, the less you will spend.
Buying in bulk does not mean you have to sacrifice quality. In today's market, grocers are increasingly stocking organic, non-GMO, and local options. This is because they KNOW that our communities are looking for these products and fewer people are choosing to settle for less. Even the big guys like Costco and Amazon have options (Just cover your eyes when scrolling or strolling past those tempting convenience foods or highly processed treats) There are even some really cool newer options available for cleaner or more eco-conscious options such as Thrive market or Azure Standard. Bonus points if you buy those staples from a local farmer, trust me, they are out there and they LOVE selling in bulk.
Spreading it out
One of my favorite conversations when interacting with customers is when they tell me all of the ways they plan to use the ONE chicken they just bought. Just this last weekend at market, a young couple asked for one whole bird and proceeded to tell me how they would pull the remaining meat off for lunches and still make a broth with what was remaining. Talk about getting the most out of every dollar!
Use those bulk pantry staples to make those delicious nutrient dense foods go even farther. Instead of eating a whole chicken breast, chop it up and add it to a salad, soup, rice or pasta dish (This doesn't have to equal carb heavy meals if you get a little creative or give the internet a quick search.) Make a large pan of shakshuka with a few pasture-raised eggs and enjoy delicious hearty breakfast all week! I prefer to enjoy
this with a crusty whole wheat bread. Yum!
There is always room for a whole steak in our lives, but when eating well on a budget, we save the WHOLE steak for special occasions and chop our steak up and stick it on a blue cheese salad or Sautee it with onions and mushrooms. There is absolutely no sacrifice in those delicious meals!
We are all busy. Most of us our reaching for supermom stardom and trying to check off MANY boxes every week. Loving wife? Doting Mother? Chauffer? Businesswoman? Not to mention, the house, church obligations, calling a friend, or actually doing your hair! Getting creative or starting new habits on a whim with our busy lives is pretty close to impossible. If you can do it, I bow down, get it girl! But if you're like me, decision fatigue weighs heavily in the heat of the chaotic evening! Spend some time and plan ahead. An hour a week, a couple hours once a month, whatever works for you. Write it down and stick it someplace convenient. Maybe it's just a list of ideas that you can pull from that include those staples and your favorite farm fresh ingredients or maybe it's a schedule of the dinners you will have this week, maybe it's even a detailed plan for one day of meal prep and a whole week of convenient healthful eating. Whatever it is, I've got your back and will send you ideas for meals and even meal plans in the very near future.
Because it takes a community to live a life that is happier, healthier, and more delicious. Glad we are in it together!