Healthy Food on a Budget
Crystal Miller

The first steps to a healthy diet I made were good and my children’s fears of losing favorite foods lessened over time and they became more accepting. The first step of eliminating the sugar automatically led to my next step. Buying sugary products is much cheaper than buying healthy alternatives like fresh fruit and nuts and even honey and other better types of sweeteners. Somewhere else in the budget we had to make changes to accommodate this.

I started making more and more food items from scratch using whole foods. Whole foods such as beans, rice, grains, etc. are very friendly on the budget. I bought fewer and fewer convenience foods, and pre packaged frozen foods and canned foods. Baking a whole chicken bought at $0.69 a pound was much better on the budget than frozen chicken nuggets, baked potatoes instead of packaged french fries, my own white sauce instead of canned soups.

With a little better planning and thought on my part I could learn to do without the quick fix type foods. It is amazing that if you are not careful it is so easy to get in the trap of buying this and that to try and save time and effort. But when looking at a different goal, that of feeding your family better quality foods as well as cutting down the expenses, for me it became not only worth the effort but also seemed like good stewardship of my time. I also discovered that there are many meals that are quick and easy to prepare if your kitchen and pantry are set up for them.

I began to look at these whole foods as the main source of my meal. Beans with a little meat mixed in for soup or beans mixed with a little hamburger for tacos, more liquid added and a few extra ingredients would then make Taco Soup.

Brown rice was another change. Now, my family did not care for this as much, but they were more accepting if the rice had some sort of sauce or gravy on it. This was an acceptable way to make a change.

Oatmeal and homemade pancakes for breakfast replaced expensive and sugar loaded boxed breakfast cereals. I soon began making my own granola and coffee cakes and muffins to serve for breakfast.

I looked at each meal served; breakfast, lunch, dinner and sought to find ways to change from the foods we were eating to less expensive and healthier alternatives, as well as alternatives that were ‘real food’, not canned or packaged food.

We began to eat, and still do, a lot of soups, homemade bread and meals made with less meat. If your family is not excited about these changes because the food is new to them, then go slowly! Remember, “No food is healthy if no one will eat it”! :)

You will find additional information on the Homestead Kitchen page on cooking with low cost food items such as beans, rice, soup recipes and more.


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