Monday, August 29, 2011

Mamavation Monday - Can Health Fit in the Budget?

Fast Food, Frozen Meals and cheap Mac n Cheese have caused many people I know to worry about how they can afford to eat healthy. How do you break the cycle of the "bargain menu"  when the alternatives can cost 2 or 3 times as much?

I have to admit, I don't use coupons... since staples rarely are included, but I have kept our family meal budget down to under $50 a week. In the past few years we have been switching to whole foods, non-processed and homemade. Is it difficult? No. It does require more planning, but work smarter and not harder.

Here is my Top 10 for saving money:
  1.  Make your own Greek Yogurt - A little yogurt, constant warmth & milk can give your fresh Greek yogurt
  2. Use Dry Beans - soak over night or make in the crock pot. I can get multiple meals for under $1 out of a bag of dried beans. They also last longer in my pantry!
  3. Can it! I save a ton by canning my own veggies, fruits and sauces. Check yard sales and estate sales for bargain priced canning equipment. It is so worth it.
  4. Embrace Oatmeal. I love Quaker Oats because the old fashioned oatmeal is cheap, full of fiber, and filling. I am loving it even more since I started baking it. Check out my apple and cinnamon baked oatmeal recipe here.
  5. U-Pick. Without the cost of labor, food is cheaper... and can be fun for the kids... to pick yourself. Our farm offers fruit like cherries, strawberries and cane berries at a fraction of the picked cost. Which is still less than in the store!
  6. Freeze Away. Right now you can probably buy a box of corn for a song. If you shop at your local farm stands you can get an even better deal. We freeze enough corn for the year. It saves me quite a bit throughout the year.
  7. Farm Stands. Do you know what is available in your area? Ask around. Even at a Farmer's Market you will find people with things to sell on other days of the week. They might even know someone with a surplus of what you are looking for. Get to know your local growing community, support them and enjoy produce at bargain prices. Sometimes there is a markup for having a booth at the Farmer's Market, so you might be able to do even better with the same quality.
  8. Buy Ingredients. The less times a product is touched the less it costs. The only investment you need to make is time. If the bottom dollar is the issue, thisqs one trade-off you can make.
  9. Simplify! Sometimes less is more... but definitely costs less. Instead of making a sauce, use some simple herbs. Steam, poach and broil to preserve flavor and keep things simple and healthy.
  10.  Start a Garden! Even when we lived in an apartment with no yard, I had a mini container garden. You can use anything as a pot, and even if you can only grow herbs, that can cut your food costs down and add flavor to your healthy foods. We used a rain gutter to grow lettuce and baby greens and had a few pots with tomatoes and various herbs. Now I have a yard and have expanded. Just utilize what you have. Seeds are inexpensive and the activity can be a lot of fun to do with your children.
I am happy to be able to link up. We are currently enjoying our family vacation at PKU Family Camp and I will be posting my weight when we get back this week.

MAMAVATION TV: Join us Monday night at 7pm PST/10pm EST on Mingle Media TV

BLOGGING CARNIVAL: This week’s blogging carnival is sponsored by Go Sport ID. Two blogging carnival participants will receive a Go Sport ID Inspire bracelet. Answer the following question in your blog post and link back to the Go Sport ID website. Link up your post here.

Question: What safety precautions do you take with your workouts?  Any special equipment when working out outdoors?

I use RunKeeper on my cell phone when I walk or run. My droid has GPS enabled so my DH always knows where I am. I tend to wear brightly colored clothing on my walks and don't usually run at night. We do have reflective sashes for walking in low visibility. I love that most of my clothing and running shoes also come with reflective strips.

This post is sponsored by Go Sport ID and I’m writing this to be entered into a giveaway hosted by Mamavation.
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