Eating Green While Saving Green $$$
“Healthy eating is expensive”, “I don’t know how to eat any more veggies than I already do”, “I don’t like that”, “My kids absolutely won’t touch that,” “Take out is quicker and less mess!” — we’ve all been there, heard it all, and said it all ourselves.
One of the things that usually gets me is cost / time. Every so often, I revisit my food budget as it always seems to start creeping up halfway through the year…I kind of get lazy and start visiting the Whole Foods salad bar more often or frequenting Rooted Juicery for a “quick” morning smoothie. There’s obviously nothing wrong with treating yourself, but this usually also coincides with vacation szn, wedding szn, and travel time (aka, all of my fundz do not need to be shuttled into these sources).
Re-enter: Mint. Budgeting app. Friendly push-notification that you’ve “exceeded your budget for coffee shops” and it’s only week 2…you feel me? When this time comes around, I also start revisiting some of my favorite spots for finding “discount” meal prep items: Aldi (ok this is always on the rotation), Walmart (don’t hate), and Home Goods (or TJ Maxx…you know those back clearance racks are where it’s at for chia seeds and local delicious granola!!!).
So you’ve got the budget, you know what stores to hit up, now what to buy? I always say “make your grocery cart look exactly how you want your plate to appear” — half fruits/veggies, quarter protein, quarter starch, and a splash of dairy and a little bit of fun. I usually aim to grab 2 protein picks, a random assortment of seasonal produce and those I know will last longer in the fridge (more on this soon), a new grain to add to the mix, and cottage cheese + milk & eggs. The last three get their own call-out because they are that important and are never missed.
As far as other non-negotiables, I’ve been known to sneak greens into everything I consume (there’s a reason people call me Kale and it’s not just because my name rhymes…). Why do I do this?
greens are super high in vitamin C, more than bananas, and I’ve been chronically sick and keeping this intake up, helps me avoid coughs/colds/etc
fiber! more and more, i’m reading and seeing patients with chronic IBD, IBS, diverticulitis, and increased risk of diseases and certain cancers later in life, so the more preventative we can be, the better!
super-nutrient dense. some will argue spinach is a “super food”. I won’t argue against it. it does contain a ton of antioxidants and nutrients, some of which, are known to help SKIN, HAIR, NAILS, aid in digestion, cellular repair and rebuilding …in no particular order ;) take it or leave it. a cup or more a day keeps the doc away.
…enough on the why, here’s how & average cost per item:
“groats” green oats. $.38 per serving ($2.50 for container or whole rolled oats / 30 servings = $.08 + $.30 for add-ins).
to make, blend 1 cup milk with large handful of spinach. mix with 2-1/2 cup scoops of rolled oats and stir in optional add-ins (protein powder, chia/flax seeds, dried fruit and nuts) + top with fruit or yogurt in the morning.
celery chips - $.34 per serving vs veggie chips $3.99 bag
inspired by fellow food friend and IG-er Katie Wells of @sunflower_inthecity, I decided to give air-fried celery a shot. I don’t normally loooove celery, so I figured this might give it a unique twist that gets me excited to pull it out of the fridge. it also has a nice crisp bite and ZERO added junk like other conventional store-bought chips. pair with homemade hummus, below, and it’s a keeper.
homemade hummus with spinach - <$.50. / most store-bought $3.99
food process: 1 (15oz) can chickpeas, 1-6oz container greek yogurt, 1 ripe avocados, peeled, 3 tbsp olive or avocado oil, 1/4 cup lemon juice, 1/4-1/2 cup greens, 2 tablespoons cilantro, dash of hot sauce, 2 tbsp water (more if needed), salt and pepper to taste // optional: cauliflower!
green pancakes - $.10 per serving (sometimes you find super great deals on sale so you buy the gluten-free box mix for $2.99!! + <$.50 cents per other add-ins …can’t be #homemade everything!)
prepare box mix per instructions and when asked for milk, blend 1 cup milk with large handful of greens
…one final thing. I get asked a lot if I buy organic vs conventional …when it comes down to it (and still keeping price in mind!), I usually always put the preference to finding items that are local and thoughtfully sourced/prepared. this ensures they’re traveling less & retaining more nutrients overall. one product I specifically love and standby in this category is BrightFarms produce. check em! more on this awesome company and their goods, soon!