Tips for Eating Healthy on a Budget

Many of us kick off the year with a goal or two. Maybe it’s to eat clean. Perhaps you want to be more disciplined about staying within your household budget. Maybe it’s both. Well, good news! You can do both — eat healthy food and save on groceries — with some tips from the co-op.

Know product standards. When it comes to eating healthfully, Lakewinds makes it easy. We have very high product quality standards, researching everything we sell and eliminating what doesn’t meet our criteria. For example, our products will never contain artificial preservatives, flavors, colors, or sweeteners; high-fructose corn syrup; added hormones; parabens or hydrogenated fats. Plus our products are organic and locally sourced whenever possible.

Now let’s get to the budget part! Co-ops can get a bad rap when it comes to prices. And yes, let’s face it. You will likely pay more for organic, cage-free, local eggs than you will pay for eggs from chickens that spend their lives in cramped cages and have zero quality of life. (We will never sell those eggs!) But that doesn’t mean you can’t be budget savvy. Here are some suggestions for eating healthy on a budget.

Plan meals around what’s on sale. At Lakewinds, we always have two groups of sales in progress — store specials and Co+op Deals. Both are on our website on our sales page. Alaska cod on sale? Add lemon baked cod to your menu. Brown rice pasta? Autumn harvest pasta it is!

Use the bulk aisle. The bulk aisle can be a great tool for those on a tight budget. Look for grains, lentils, pasta, rice and other staples. Buy only the amount of spices you need. Bring in your own containers and fill up on liquid bulk, such as vanilla, honey, and olive oil. Go to the cleaning aisle and get bulk laundry detergent too. You save money and help the environment because bulk products have minimal packaging. Lakewinds’ owners can also get a discount when ordering items by the case. Just make sure you’re certain you’ll consume the entire amount!

Take advantage of generic products. Lakewinds offers many staples under the “co-op generic” brand Field Day. These are organic products such as beans, broth, nut butter, crackers, salsa, pasta sauce and more – typically found at a lower price point than brand name organic products.

Plan meals around what you already have. Don’t go grocery shopping without first reviewing what’s in your freezer and pantry. Frozen wontons hiding in the back of the freezer? Make wonton soup! Using what you have on hand is also good for the environment, preventing food waste.

Know when you’ll use your leftovers. Throwing away food equates to throwing away money, with the average American household throwing out food worth $640 a year. Be strategic about using leftovers. When you clean up after a dinner of chili, for example, put two servings into glass containers for lunch later in the week and freeze the rest in single serving containers for later — and be sure you remember to use them!

Incorporate meatless meals. Lentils and beans tend to be more cost-effective than meat, so incorporating meatless meals into your meal plan can help your budget. Butternut Squash and Chickpea Curry with Quinoa, Sweet and Savory Skillet stir fry and more recipes are fun to try, too.

Splurge selectively. When you do splurge, make it intentional and worth it! If you’ve been craving crab cakes, serve them with quinoa and roasted vegetables and make it a meal. Pair your favorite brie with slices of pear and crackers for a special snack or appetizer. Splurge on specials occasionally and treat yourself to what you love.

If healthy eating on a budget is a goal of yours, we can help! From shopping in bulk to intentionally using leftovers, we have tips that you can use. Start planning your menu for the week by seeing what’s on sale.