A diet high in raw plant food doesn’t have to break the bank. With some simple and easy tips, eating raw can be cost effective. Here’s how:
Less is more, when eating food.
When you feel full, stop eating! Many people eat way beyond the point of being satisfied. And don’t force kids to eat when they’re not hungry. Buy a good amount of healthy produce that attracts you. Then, by keeping your food simple with uncomplicated combinations, you’ll know when you’ve had enough. Keeping food simple and eating less is far easier on your digestive system. When transitioning from a processed food diet to a lifestyle that’s plant-based and loaded with fresh food, you will see a decrease in your shopping bills because the packaged foods can be very pricey. If you follow these other tips when purchasing fruits and vegetables, you’ll save even more.
Grow your own food.
This option allows you to get your hands dirty! With a garden full of beautiful and colorful fruits and veggies, you are able to eat healthfully for only the cost of the seeds, along with gaining great gardening skills. Although you might not be able to feed your entire family for months on end, every little bit counts!
If time or space is a concern for you: Inside you can grow delicious and fresh smelling herbs to enhance any dish you create. Plus growing sprouts or small greens can save a great deal of money and can be done almost anywhere there’s sunlight. Sprouts like mung beans are especially easy and fun to create with children, done right on the kitchen counter.
Buy your raw food locally.
Some of the fancy farm shops price their raw fruits and veggies at a premium, but the local farmers often have surplus food that they need to sell, and they also need community support. Find out which ones grow organically and go and talk with them. This produce is twice as nutritious, half the price and you are able to support local farmers with a total plus! I purchase a bag of two large organic lettuces from the local farmer, lettuces I can trust are organic, for the same price that one costs at the health food store.
FORAGE, raw food is all over.
Foraging is the method in which you Aind food for Free, courtesy of Nature. When foraging, however, be absolutely certain that you are collecting food that is safe and edible. It’s a good idea to go out in the woods, or other unsprayed area, with a knowledgeable forager at least a couple times, and purchase books that show accurate pictures of wild edibles. This farm-to-table trend is a way to collect local available plants in an environmentally responsible way.
Don’t be afraid to freeze foods for special treats.
If you have bananas that are spotted but not yet completely black, take off the peel and throw them in the freezer in a glass dish. Within a few hours you have a fantastic base for a smoothie. When any fruit is getting too ripe, you can keep it in the freezer. Then it will be ready for a refreshing and satisfying smoothie anytime. Fruit should be ripe when eaten. Bananas should have plenty of black dots on them. Buy extra of whatever really ripe fruit is cheap at the store that day and freeze it. It will be great for banana ice cream too!
Use a shopping list.
This will help you stay on budget and resist those impulse purchases. Plan what you need in advance for the next couple of days and list those ingredients accordingly. Also, don’t go to the grocery store hungry, as this will more than likely ensure you walk out with more than you needed.
Keep the cheap on hand!
I mean your main staples, such as apples, oranges and bananas. These 3 essentials are items that won’t make you feel like you are going to break the bank. Bananas are sensational for this reason because they are inexpensive and contain a lot of calories to keep you full for longer.
Seasonal foods will often cost less money so think ahead and stock up on fruits and veggies so you can freeze them for the off season. In the summertime, watermelon can be fairly inexpensive, so this is the time to eat it frequently because it’s loaded with nutrition, and in the later months when it’s not in season it will be much more pricey.
Take care of business at home.
Learn to store certain food items in their proper places. Treating your food in budget friendly ways will help keep them fresher longer. Stop buying fresh produce and throwing it away. Instead, start learning the tricks to saving them from going bad. This might sound easy but it can be a little more complicated than you might think. Some foods shouldn’t even be stored with others. For example: Keep fruits and vegetables separate, in different drawers, because the ethylene can build up in the fridge, causing spoilage. For further storage tips check out the chart below:
Buy in Bulk.
Buying in bulk can make a huge difference in your shopping bill in the long run.
The price of fruits or vegetables in a bulk purchase will be less than purchasing them individually. Many stores give an additional 10% or 20% off for produce purchased by the case.
Join a Food Cooperative.
To join a Food Cooperative, you will usually be asked to pay a onetime lifelong initiation fee to become a member, and then you contribute to the Coop by working there once a month for a few hours. In return, you get a percentage off of all your food bills whenever you shop there. Twenty-two years ago, I joined the Hungry Hollow Food Coop in Chestnut Ridge, New York. I paid a $100 fee to become a lifelong member, and I work there three hours a month. I receive $10 off all my grocery bills when shopping there. This makes a huge difference in our monthly costs since I shop at the Coop two to three times a week.
Invest in yourself.
This last and Ainal step focuses on YOU because when you start to buy more raw plant foods, you are inevitably buying less unhealthy processed foods. There is nothing more important than investing in your health through the food you choose to eat. Eating raw will provide you with more energy and a sense of clarity that we all need to enjoy life: So you become the investment! Feed your body the best possible food, and the rest will follow.
By Karen Ranzi, M.A.