Saturday, March 21, 2009

Frugal / thrifty, and healthy? Yep!

One of my fave diet bloggers, Mark Sisson over at Mark's Daily Apple, blogged this post that warmed my frugal wee heart: his Depression Diet - 6 ways to eat healthy on a strict budget.

Ahh, thrift and dieting, two subjects with which I am intimately familiar!

I especially like number one, and echo it. Keep it simple. I'm Paleo, so simple is my middle name. My fave meal is a huge hunk of meat, dry seasoned and fried or broiled, and raw or steamed veg. Nom!  Like my Dear Husband, Bodog: it's cheap, easy, and goooooood. LOL!

So here are my Big Three suggestions for eating healthily, or even to lose weight, whilst pinching pennies:

1) Grow your own.

Srsly. If you live in a tiny apartment 6 stories up, you probably have a balcony, right?  Even if you don't, I'll bet you have windows, lol! You can grow many veg and most herbs in containers quite easily. Lots of them will thrive on the sill of a sunny window.

If you have any land at all you can tuck a wee garden into any spot that gets adequate sunlight or just do container gardening on your patio. Watch for new construction or neighbours putting trees in and ask for those huge black plastic planters that trees come in. Or make your own out of 5 gallon buckets (almost any restaurant has oodles they throw away) or cut down rubbish bins or, if you're handy, make wooden planters and line them with thick plastic sheeting.

The added bonus is that a lot of your kitchen waste can be composted to make rich soil for your new plants. Super thrifty recycling person, you!

If you live away from town, check local ordinances and see if you can keep chickens or rabbits. Obviously there's the not-a-pet factor to be considered - you can't name them and love them, sorry - and the gotta-kill-them thing as well. I have no problem killing chickens but couldn't bring myself to kill our rabbits. You have to go with what you're comfy with.

If you want to do stock-keeping with out the death part, then you can keep chickens for eggs. They will be happy to provide excellent fertilizer for that new garden as well.

2) Buy in bulk.

Yes it's a royal pain in the arse to take that huge wodge of ground beef and divide it up into 1/4lb patties. Especially when the stores have those cute, already formed, patties (of, usually lower fat (nooo!!!) ground chuck) and, really, who has time? It's not that much more expensive and I've still got to pick up John's dry cleaning and take Noah and Trinyti to soccer and then there's the car making that weird noise ...

Snap out of it!  I'm busy as all hell, too, but it only takes 15 minutes to divide up those big packs of chops, chicken, or whatever into meal-sized portions, wrap, and toss in the freezer.  I do it whilst waiting for my coffee to brew in the mornings or waiting for my two youngest to finish their snacks.  The savings are substantial.

3) Make your own.

Mark has an excellent page on making your own condiments.  I myself just made my first batch of fresh, homemade mayonnaise. If you like soup for work, ditch that crap on-the-go Frankensoup and buy a Thermos like mine, make your own delicious variety, and take it with you. Freeze the excess so that you don't end up taking the same flavour 10 days in a row.

Take a week-end morning to cook several casseroles (my oven will hold 4) all at once, cool and freeze for hurry-up meals. Better yet, come in that afternoon and divide up the cooled casseroles into individual portions, wrap, and freeze. This works great for folks with only a tiny freezer. You can also put together one-dish meals and freeze them uncooked, for days when you're rushed but have the time to cook - but not prepare - supper.

Use that crock pot! I found mine (it's a 5-quart Rival Crock-Pot like this one) 20 years ago in a thrift store and it's been chugging along ever since. I've aquired 2 more the same way. You can toss a whole, frozen chicken in a crock pot in the morning and it will be a tender, succulent meal by suppertime. Nothing gets easier than that!

So those are my big three suggestions to go along with Mark's on how to save money on your groceries whilst staying healthy and even whilst losing weight. What do YOU do on a tight budget to keep healthy food on the table?  I'd especially love to hear from dieters!

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posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 9:03 am   2 comments


At 5:11 am, Anonymous moonduster said...

I do those things too!

I absolutely adore my crockpot!

And for people who eat bread, making your own is much cheaper than buying it. (I know you don't eat bread.)

Dh and I are looking into making our own yogurt.

At 11:23 am, Anonymous MrsEvilGenius said...

Duh, I did overlook breadmaking, didn't I?

That would definately save dough. Heh. get it? "save ..."

Oh, nevermind.



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