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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know I need to change our eating habits. I was trying to do it awhile back but we've had a hectic couple weeks. We had family visit for almost all of August and ate out almost every meal!

Then we had to leave because of Isabel and have been eating takeout since we had no power (jut got it back last night).

My problem si that we have a veryv ery very small food budget every month....about 150.00 for 3 of us. Can I eat healthy and stay within our budget? We aren't vegetarians bt eat very little meat because of the price... we qualify for WIC but dh doesn't want to apply but I think I'm going to apply today...maybe that will help us out enough.....

Any hints!?
 

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I think you can definately eat healthy even on a very limited budget.

In my opinion you should definately apply for WIC. The addition of eggs, milk, cheese, cereal, beans, & peanut butter would be a big help! Plus, they often give coupons for the farmers market!

The farmers market is also a great way to save some money on great produce!

As far as grocery store shopping, if you have a co-op or big natural foods market nearby, it can be helpful to buy beans, pasta, rice, oats, honey, olive oil, flour, flax meal, etc in bulk.

To save $ you probably will have to skip buying many packaged meals, cereals, and snacks. To save $ I make my own muffins, pasta sauce, soups, etc. Instead of dry packaged cereal opt for oatmeal (w/ oats bought in bulk) w/ added dried fruit (also can be bought in bulk).

When you do eat meat try to get the most out of it. For example, roast a chicken for a meal, use any big chunks for sandwhiches later, then later boil the carcass and scraps to make a stock for soup.

Homemade soups are a great inexpensive meal. I love to make a big pot of chili, minestrone, vegi stew, bean soup, etc.

Beans are so versatile and so cheap. Use in soups, enchiladas or burritos, dips, beans and rice, salads, etc.

Make the most of leftovers, & freeze extras that won't be eaten quickly.

You can do it!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'm applying for wic today...I told dh that if it saves us money and helps us pay things off then we won't need it after that..... so he finally said fine...so i'm going in about 10 minutes~
 

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Hi IOF. Nice to see you over in Good Eating. First of all, congratulations on making the decision to eat healthy. It's a fabulous gift you're giving yourself and your family. Bebe luna has some excellent suggestions. When we started eating healthy we made some very simple changes that made a huge impact on our grocery bill. For starters we began to drink water only. I know you've said that right now it gives you heartburn, but believe it or not a little citrus will help with that. I guess that's why people put a twist of lemon in their water. I buy a lemon and slice it up and put it in a sealed container in our fridge. Every time I fix myself a glass of water I put a slice of lemon in it to give it a little flavor. You can also use limes or oranges if you prefer (go by what you like and by what's the cheapest.) When you cut out juice and other flavored beverages you'll notice a big change in your grocery bill. Also, I know you're not vegetarian, but you can make your meat stretch by making stir fries and other dishes that use less meat and more veggies. Buy your grains in bulk. We go to the asian market for rice and get a 25 lb. bag of jasmati for about $10. It lasts forever and makes a very filling side or a great main dish with the right ingredients.

Here's a huge hint that I can't emphasize enough. Don't ever go to the grocery store without a plan. Make out your menu ahead of time for the week/2weeks whatever. Go back through your recipes and make sure you don't already have some of the ingredients. Make your list and stick to it. I can plan my menu and send dh to the store (he enjoys going because he compares prices, ingredients etc. which I never have time to do with toddler in tow.) Last night he bought groceries for the next two weeks and spent about $75. Now I confess he did go over that a bit to buy shampoo/conditioner, but we buy that in the economy size so we won't have to replace it for several months. We never buy convenience foods like boxed stuff. I make my bread in the bread machine a few times a week and we also eat oats from the bulk section. I make up granola from time to time as a special treat and muffins are a popular breakfast around here.

Your freezer is your friend. It took me years to get this through my thick head. If it looks like your family won't eat something before it goes bad place it in your freezer (don't forget to mark it with the date.) Frozen meals make great "ready made" dishes in a pinch. Also, fruit like bananas can be frozen before they get too ripe to eat. I peel the bananas first and place them in a freezer bag. If I want to make a smoothie or banana muffins or something I always have some ready to use.

Some inexpensive items that are very nutritous are: Greens, (collards, mustard etc.) beans, grains and root vegetables. Get away from preparing a meat and two sides. That's the most wasteful way to cook. You usually don't have left-overs and meat served that way gets pricy. Send dh to work with left-overs for his lunches. My dh is always proud of the homemade meal he gets to eat at work while his co-workers have to either order out or eat hospital cafeteria food. He knows his is healthy and made with love from scratch. He gets asked about his food often.

Now, others may disagree with me on this one, but on a tight budget you can get away with only buying organic on the biggies. I'll find a link for you about the most important foods to buy organic. Some things can be fudged on a little. Bebe luna had a good point about farmers' markets. You will find better prices on organic there if you're willing to make the extra trip. Our farmers' market here is only open from April to Sept. and only on Saturdays so today is our last day to shop there. Depending on your area your market may be open longer.

Good luck shopping. Let me know if you run into any obstacles.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'm actually afraid of going to the store!!!

Our area is still recovering from Isabel and stores are jsut now getting restocked so it is a mad house! We need everything cause eerything had to be thrown out. Which is kinda nice cause now I don't feel bad about throwing away "good" food...kwim?

I just got some yummy recipes from my mom and mil so hopefully I'll be cooking away in no time!

Thanks a ton!!
 

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Lisa, I'm quite interested in that link on organic foods too. I loved reading your post, as hard as I try I often let meal planning happen late in the afternoon (bad-bad-bad). Good thread
 
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