My Top Five: Tips for Clean Eating on a Budget (Part Two)
Thank you so much for the wonderful response to last week's 'My Top Five: Tips for Tip for Eating Clean on a Budget (Part One)'. Here is part two, I hope you find it just as helpful!
1.Price Per Pound is Paramount
This was such an eye opener for me and my husband when we first started to reduce our food costs. It's very easy to just look at the price on the ticket, and not what I would now consider the 'real' price, which you will usually find on the bottom left of the sticker.
This will really help you to compare prices between stores, as most products come in differing sizes, so the price per lb is your metric when it comes to working out which options, and indeed which grocery stores are cheaper.
For example, feta cheese was $ $14.84 per lb in Star Market, 9.89 per lb in Trader Joes, and just $5.70 per lb in BJ's!
2.Learn Which Cuts of Meat are the Cheapest
This is a continuation of last week's 'Convenience Cost' tip - but is vitally important when it comes to cuts of meat. For example, I can buy a whole chicken for $1.99 per pound, but if I want just the chicken breasts, neatly divided and put into individual bags, that will cost me $4.49 per lb!
Honestly, I cant say that I don't buy the prepackaged cuts, because I do, but I try to buy a selection of cuts because of cost, and because different cuts of meats contain different micronutrients (variety is key for a healthy diet).
3.Join a Wholesale Membership Club
Okay, I'll admit, I was pretty skeptical about this one myself until we tried it! We are now proud members of BJ's Wholesale Club, and I truly think this is the number onereason we have managed to reduce our grocery bill so significantly.
So what do we buy from BJ's? I estimate around 60-70% of our groceries come from BJ's. This includes (but is not limited to), organic fruit and vegetables, both fresh and frozen (look for the Wellesley Farms brand),organic and hormone free meat, both fresh and frozen (look for Harvestland or Perdue brands) and eggs, feta cheese, nuts, pasta sauce, Himalayan salt, coconut flour and all our gluten free grains (a 20lb bag works out to be just $1.20 a lb, and you can use it for square) all come from BJ's too.
Every time we shop there I see more 'clean eating' options, and their coupons also feature more healthy foods too week by week - yes, I clip coupons too!
BJ's offer a free one day membership so you can try it before you commit to a year. A year's membership usually costs $50, but I often see special offers from both BJ's and on sites such as Groupon for memberships starting at $25 a year. For more information on membership, click here.
4.Hold a Clean Eating Supper Club
This is definitely one of the more fun tips on this list! Round up a bunch of friends who also have an interest in clean eating, and once a month hold a supper club, at which you all bring a healthy, nutritious, delicious dish to share.
This option is way cheaper than eating out a restaurant, and will introduce you to new ideas and recipes for clean eating. Each guest will also bring the recipe for his/her dish, so you will leave not only having eaten a great meal, but with a bunch of new recipes to try at home too. And don't forget to bring an extra empty dish so you can take home your share of leftovers!
5.Cute Clean Eating Gadgets
Last week I highlighted some of the gadgets I use for food preparation at home, this week I will feature some of my absolute favorite money savers that I use when I'm out and about!
Mini Crock Pot
My mini crock pot has been an absolute life saver in these cold winter months in Boston! I hate eating cold food on cold days, so I found an option in which I could safely reheat my leftovers when I was at work. Enter Baby Crockpot! This mini crockpot holds up to 20 ounces of my leftovers, and gently reheats them for an hour or so, meaning I can eat a hot, nutritious, budget friendly lunch every day! Its perfect for reheating chili, soups, stews (all of the options from last week's food prep tip), and I use it for making oatmeal too.
Travel French Press
Those of you who know me personally, or are regulars know I am very particular about my coffee, and I shun the big chains such as Starbucks and Dunkin for may reasons (business ethics, price, quality of coffee). So what do I do when I want a coffee on the go? I make my own! About a month I bought my travel french press from Bodum, and I now I cant be without it!
All you do is put one scoop of freshly ground coffee in it before you leave the house, and then fill it up with freshly boiled water when you want a piping hot coffee on the go (we have a water heater at work, but most eateries will give you hot water for free, or for a nominal price)! It may seem like an investment to start, but will definitely save you money in the long term...
Water Filter Bottle
I have just switched up my old glass water bottle to this version from Brita that is not only BPA free but filters my water too. This now means I can drink safely and cleanly from any water source, saving not just money but also helping the environment too (Americans used about 50 billion plastic water bottles last year. However, the U.S.'s recycling rate for plastic is only 23 percent, which means 38 billion water bottles – more than $1 billion worth of plastic – are wasted each year).
The title of this post is 'Five Top Tips', but permit me to add in one extra, one tip that may be more important than the prior ten. This one is 'Give Back'.If clean eating is on our agenda, it means we are in a very prividliged postion to be able to pick and choose what we eat every day. In 2014 8.1 million Americans lived in food insecure households, including 32.8 million adults and 15.3 million children. In light of this fact my chosen charity, both personally and for my business is The Greater Boston Food Bank, who do amazing work for the food insecure in Boston. For every $1 they receive they provide 3 meals for those in need.
So consider donating the price of one of those Starbucks coffees a week, the money you save onto buying bottled water, or anything you can afford. If donating money is a challenge for you, consider donating food to one of the wonderful food pantries in MA, even if it is just one or two items (a list can be found here).
In the spirit of full disclosure, some of these are affiliate links, which means that I may get a commission if you decide to purchase anything. I only recommend products and services that I use and love myself, so I know you’ll be in good hands!
What am I missing? I'm sure you have your own tips, and I would love for you to share them with me and my readers!