Whole Food Center
REAL FOOD FOR REAL LIFE
The costs of moving to a real, whole food diet can add up fast- both in money and time. Here are a few tips & tricks you can use to save in both areas.
Meal planning is certainly not for everyone, but everyone can benefit from some meal prep. Before you even leave for the grocery store, get yourself prepared. Find the lids for those containers, sharpen the knives. Tidy up the fridge and freezer. You’ll thank yourself later. Once you get home, survey the goods. What can you wash, chop, or peel that will make throwing together a nutritious meal quick and easy? Cut veggies into serving sizes (like halving squash) or chop for cooking (like onions for saute) and store them in an airtight container in the fridge. Make a big batch of brown rice, portion it out and freeze or refrigerate. You’ll be less likely to hear the siren song of take-out if making a meal is as easy as “Throw in pan. Apply heat.”
MEAL PREP RESOURCES:
USEFUL MEAL PREPPING RESOURCES - mealpreponfleek.com
FOOD PREP - theleangreenbean.com
IF you can commit to sitting down and planning out all of your meals for the week, it will save you both time and money. Remember to include snacks, repurpose leftovers, and leave yourself a little wiggle room. And, if you CAN’T meal plan, don’t stress- you can still use the tips below.
MEAL PLANNING RESOURCES:
THE ULIMATE LIST OF RESOURCES - projectmealplan.com
MEAL PLANNING RESOURCES - musthavemom.com
DIP INTO VEGETARIANISM
Cost per calorie, pastured, sustainable animal products are always going to be your most expensive food group. Going vegetarian a few nights a week can help cut that expense while keeping nutrition high. We recommend trying your hand at dishes that were BORN vegetarian, rather than meaty dishes altered to be vegetarian (except for this mushroom bourguignon), as these are typically more interesting and flavorful.
SOME VEGETARIAN RECIPE RESOURCES:
15 QUICK & EASY MEATLESS RECIPES - damndelicious.net
24 CARNIVORE-APPROVED MEATLESS MEALS - cookieandkate.com
18 EASY 1 POT PLANT-BASED MEALS - damndelicious.net
COOK ONCE, EAT TWICE
You’re already standing at the stove, you may as well make it count. Consider making things in big batches, then freezing and reheating. Pancakes, waffles and muffins batch up AND freeze really well and can be toasted for a future healthy breakfast in minutes. Soups, stews and casseroles can be frozen and thrown in a slow cooker or oven with barely a moment’s effort. Future you appreciates past you.
MORE COOK ONCE, EAT TWICE
DOUBLE DUTY: 10 WAYS TO COOK ONCE & EAT TWICE - eatthis.com
8 COOK ONCE, EAT TWICE BUDGET MEALS - cleaneatingmag.com
TRY A "NO-SPEND" WEEK
Try a “no-spend” week - Get creative in the kitchen! See how many meals you can pull together from the foods you already have in your fridge, pantry and freezer. Sites like My Fridge Food can make it even easier, just select what you have and see what recipes come up!
EGGS! EGGS! EGGS!
Pastured eggs cost a fraction of what pastured meat does, and are chock full of healthy protein and choline. Eggs are also super versatile- breakfast for dinner anyone?
83 EGG RECIPES WE ALWAYS CRAVE - bonappetit.com
27 EGG RECIPES THAT MAKE GREAT DINNERS - seriouseats.com
28 DELICIOUS WAYS TO EAT EGGS FOR DINNER - thekitchn.com
BUY FRUITS AND VEGGIES IN SEASON
In season produce will not only cost less, it will often have a smaller footprint- check out your local farmer’s market. Frozen vegetables are typically harvested in season and then immediately frozen with minimal loss of nutrients. Remember, it is MUCH more important to include a variety of fruits & veggies in your diet than to stress over their organic certification. Read about our feelings on the organic label here.
MAKE YOUR OWN CONVENIENCE FOODS
Set aside some time to put together your own snacks and mixes and save yourself both time and money in the long run. You can make things like: trail & snack mixes, frozen smoothie blends, biscuit & pancake mix, salad dressings & condiments, spice blends & more for far less than they cost “premade” while avoiding strange food additives and ultimately saving yourself time in the future.
CONVENIENCE FOOD RECIPES:
HOMEMADE CONVENIENCE FOODS - gettystewart.com
14 DIY FREEZER CONVENIENCE FOODS - makethebestofeverything.com
13 CONVENIENCE FOODS TO STOP BUYING AND START MAKING - littlehouseliving.com
GRAB & GO: HOMEMADE CONVENIENCE FOODS - motherearthnews.com
INVEST IN UGLY PRODUCE
“It's estimated that approximately 20% of produce or more gets thrown out for cosmetic reasons like weird shapes, odd colors, or blemishes on a peel you don't even eat. That's 1 in 5 fruits and vegetables getting tossed into landfill even though they're just as nutritious and delicious to eat.”
At my local market, there’s a shelf in the back of the produce section full of discounted items that might be getting a bit too ripe or have an ugly spot. Just make sure you purchase things you will actually use before they go REALLY bad- you’re not saving any money if you end up throwing it out! You can also check out Misfits Market- they deliver “ugly” organic produce right to your door for as little as $1.60/lb.
CONSIDER THE INSTANT POT
An Instant Pot is a pressure cooker, slow-cooker, rice cooker, and yogurt maker all in one. While it is a bit of an investment (it’ll run you around $100), it can truly be a game changer in the kitchen!
READ MORE ABOUT THE INSTANT POT:
5 FOODS THAT I, A SANE PERSON, MAKE IN MY INSTANT POT - thetakeout.com