Eating Healthy Vegetarian On A Budget

Betty asks…

finding a balance between eating healthy/organic and budget?

I have recently lost a lot of weight and discovered several stores that totally support my new organic eating habits (farmer’s market, whole foods market, other “gourmet” markets and health food stores) I’m in LOVE, but I’m going BROKE. I can’t stand to shop at walmarts anymore,because of all the freshness and variety I’ve been exposed to at the other places, but…

I need to save for a downpayment on house, and I can’t support both dreams at once. I know I can buy cheap in order to accomplish my savings plan, but I know I will start to gain weight again from the types of food I can get for that price (prepackaged, high sodium,etc.) and feeling not as good as I have been feeling. I need ideas of foods to buy that I can compromise with for the sake of my budget, without killing my new figure (I’m halfway to my goal!) and health(I really do feel more energetic with my high-vegetarian eating). I plan to move in 6 months, so at least if I have to pick some less healthier items, it will be short term damage. Local grocers just dont carry enough organic, or even fresh items (I get grossed out now from what I have to choose from at walmart) Why is it so expensive to eat well?!
WHAT AM I EATING? organic fruits and veggies which are usually 1/2 to 2 times more expensive than conventionally grown. Also buying in bulk (nuts, dried berries). The bulk for example sets me back $20-30 for a week or two’s worth.

yummy answers:

Buy in season and in bulk and you will cut costs dramatically. For example buy a 20 pound bag of nuts in the fall when they are in season and put the extra in the freezer to it stays fresh. Instead of paying $3 to $5 a pound you will pay under $2 a pound. Same with tomatoes-buy cases of canning and blemished maters to make into sauce, salsa, juice, etc., which you will can or freeze and you have organic tomato products to eat year round for a fraction of the cost of buying processed foods.

Also grow some of your own food (especially after you buy a house). It does not take much space to grow a lot of food. A 10′x 10′ plot will produce hundreds of pounds of food.

The secret to buying organic and local on a budget is to never buy processed/prepackaged foods, look for sales and buy extra food on sale and buy local and in bulk and do your own processing (canning, freezing, dehydrating). Granted, it will cost money up front to buy canning equipment, a chest freezer and a dehydrator. But these items will pay for themselves in a year or two. Oh and it is a lot of work but I find it to be incredibly satisfying

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