cheap healthy eating http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/8226/all en-US Best Money Tips: Simple, Easy Ways to Eat Healthy on a Budget http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-simple-easy-ways-to-eat-healthy-on-a-budget <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-simple-easy-ways-to-eat-healthy-on-a-budget" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man-eating-salad-healthy-Dollarphotoclub_71248151.jpg" alt="man eating healthy" title="man eating healthy" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some great articles on simple and easy ways to eat healthy on a budget, how to succeed even when you fail, and ways to save money without trying much.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://commoncentsmom.com/2015/01/7-simple-and-easy-ways-to-eat-healthy-on-a-budget/">7 Simple and Easy Ways to Eat Healthy on a Budget</a> &mdash; Stock up on eggs, chicken, ground beef, and other protein when they're on sale. [Common Cents Mom]</p> <p><a href="http://thinksimplenow.com/motivation/success-and-failure">5 Ways to Fail Successfully</a> &mdash; It's worth it to try something new and uncomfortable, even if it turns out you're really bad at it. [Think Simple Now]</p> <p><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/How-Save-Money-Without-Trying-35250178">38 Ways to Save Money Without Trying (Much)</a> &mdash; Use apps that allow you to talk and text for free, especially if you're traveling overseas. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://www.themoneyprinciple.co.uk/10-rules-to-remember-when-you-borrow-money/">10 Rules to Remember When You Borrow Money</a> &mdash; If you need to borrow money, make sure it's for something that you actually need. If you can go without it for a while, don't borrow money to buy it right now.</p> <p><a href="https://unclutterer.com/2015/01/13/schedule-time-schedule-time">Schedule Time to Schedule Your Time</a> &mdash; Add some &quot;fiddle&quot; time during your day to review your tasks and update your schedule if necessary. [Unclutterer]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://gradmoneymatters.com/money-making-ideas/6-actions-to-take-before-you-quit-your-job.html">6 Actions to Take Before You Quit Your Job</a> &mdash; Cut your budget. You never know how long the job search may take, or what issues there may be with a new position. [Grad Money Matters]</p> <p><a href="http://www.oneincomedollar.com/2015/01/4-reasons-why-january-is-best-time-to.html">4 Reasons Why January Is the Best Time to Buy a Car</a> &mdash; Due to bad weather and financial &quot;holiday hangovers,&quot; January tends to be a slow month for car sales. If you're in a position to buy a car, you can negotiate for a lower price.</p> <p><a href="http://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/finance/financial-advice/hard-financial-conversations-friends-family/">How to Have Hard Financial Conversations With Those Close to You</a> &mdash; Money conversations can be hard, but you'll have a better outcome if everyone involved is transparent about their situation. [NerdWallet]</p> <p><a href="http://www.supermoney.com/2015/01/emergency-cash/">Top 11 Ways to Get Cash in Emergency Situations</a> &mdash; One way to get cash in an emergency is to borrow against a whole-life insurance policy that you've had for several years. [Super Money!]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/4-technology-rules-every-parent-should-enforce">4 Technology Rules Every Parent Should Enforce</a> &mdash; Set up areas of your home or times during the day that are tech-free zones. [Parenting Squad]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amy-lu">Amy Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-simple-easy-ways-to-eat-healthy-on-a-budget">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/eating-at-the-intersection-of-cheap-and-healthy">Eating at the Intersection of Cheap and Healthy</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/eating-frugally-with-myplate">Eating Frugally With MyPlate</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-5-credit-cards-for-groceries">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Groceries</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-a-thanksgiving-turkey-teaches-us-about-money-0">7 Things a Thanksgiving Turkey Teaches Us About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/throwback-thursday-58-best-thanksgiving-hacks-ever">Throwback Thursday: 58 Best Thanksgiving Hacks Ever</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink best money tips cheap healthy eating Thu, 15 Jan 2015 18:00:05 +0000 Amy Lu 1281378 at http://www.wisebread.com Eating at the Intersection of Cheap and Healthy http://www.wisebread.com/eating-at-the-intersection-of-cheap-and-healthy <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/eating-at-the-intersection-of-cheap-and-healthy" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man-in-kitchen-with-vegetables-iStock_000022061741Small_0.jpg" alt="healthy eating" title="healthy eating" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="195" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A lot of healthy food &mdash; organic, locally grown food &mdash; is priced like yuppy specialty items. That fact does not mean that poor or frugal people need to eat junk. (See also: <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/anyone-can-spend-less-for-food">Anyone Can Spend Less for Food</a>)</p> <p>Let me begin with the premise that you're willing to make compromises &mdash; that's necessary, because that's where the overlap is. If you insist that food must be organic or must be local or must be fair-trade &mdash; basically, if you insist that it must be <em>anything </em>in particular, you're limiting yourself to a very small set of options. Many of those options may be cheap or healthy, but some of them won't be both.</p> <p>So let's say that you want cheap, and you want healthy, and that you're willing to compromise. The key is to be strategic about your compromises.</p> <h2>What's Cheap?</h2> <p>I'm very nearly going to punt on cheap, by suggesting that &quot;cheap&quot; doesn't matter. What matters is &quot;affordable,&quot; and you figure that out by <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/refactor-your-budget-categories">making a budget</a>.</p> <p>Having said that, there's a lot of stuff you can do to keep your <em>overall food budget</em> low, without regard to whether any particular item is cheap. I've written about several strategies before, including:</p> <ul type="disc"> <li><a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/buy-your-groceries-european-style">Buy Your Groceries European-Style</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/teach-yourself-to-cook">Teach Yourself to Cook</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/frugalize-any-recipe">Frugalize Any Recipe</a></li> </ul> <p>Most of these strategies only work if you have a kitchen and if you keep staples on hand, so that's the place to start. If you don't have access to a kitchen, none of this is going to work very well.</p> <p><strong>Stock Your Pantry</strong></p> <p>Once you have a kitchen, and a place to store some food, begin to build a pantry. Accumulate some staples. The right ones for you depend on what you eat, but begin with what's cheap to buy in bulk and easy to store &mdash; rice, flour, corn meal, lentils, etc. Then add some basic items that don't keep as well, but that you'll be eating regularly enough that it doesn't matter &mdash; potatoes might be an example.</p> <p>Your goal is to have everything you need to build a meal except the main dish and a fresh vegetable. Then you can go to the store and buy just those things, knowing that you can make a meal.</p> <p>You can easily include some expensive stuff without breaking the budget, as long as the expensive stuff is used in small quantities. Obviously that applies to things like spices, but it can apply to every part of your diet, including featured ingredients. If you want to eat locally grown organic beef (or lamb or goat cheese or whatever), that doesn't have to supply the majority of the calories of the meal &mdash; the expensive part can be quite a modest quantity.</p> <h2>What's Healthy?</h2> <p>I'm very nearly going to punt on healthy as well, because however much people may argue about healthy <em>foods</em>, it's easy to come up with a healthy <em>diet</em>. The key is variety.</p> <p>People like to imagine that they can figure out an optimal diet. Some try to come up with perfect ratios of fats, carbs, and proteins. Others try to figure out how to maximize the amount of some vitamin (or all vitamins). None of that effort is likely to lead to a better outcome than simply eating a wide variety of foods. (See my post on <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/healthy-frugal-eating">Healthy, Frugal Eating</a> for more info.)</p> <p><strong>Variety Is Good for You</strong></p> <p>Once you accept the principle of <em>variety</em>, you can tweak your diet however you like. If you want to eat low-fat, eat low-fat. If you want low-carb, eat low-carb (don't stockpile as much grain or starches when you build your pantry). If you can't eat wheat or lentils or dairy, then don't eat those things. If you don't like anything but filet mignon and french fries, then your diet isn't going to be as cheap or as healthy as it could be &mdash; but that's because your violating the rule that you're diet needs to be varied.</p> <p>Going for variety doesn't just make it easy to come up with a healthy diet; it also makes it easy to be frugal &mdash; as long as you let seasonal price (and quality) variations drive your menu selection. Feature whatever vegetable is cheap and fresh in your meals. (Do the same for main dishes, when that works.)</p> <p>The principle of variety applies most strongly to long stretches of time &mdash; seasons, months, weeks. There's no need to worry especially about variety every meal, or even every day.</p> <h2>What About Other Goals?</h2> <p>It may well be that I haven't hit your particular issue &mdash; maybe your hot button is that your food be fair-trade, cruelty-free, or sustainably produced (rather than merely cheap and healthy).</p> <p>If you add a restriction like this, it gets harder to be cheap and healthy, maybe even impossible. I have a couple of suggestions.</p> <p>The first is to emphasize local. Locally grown or raised is no guarantee that the soil is being well-managed or the animals treated humanely, but it makes it a lot more likely &mdash; especially if you know the farmer, and he knows you (and knows about what matters to you).</p> <p>The second is to become politically active. It may be better in many ways to eat only cage-free eggs, but if your goal is for fewer chickens to be in cages, changing the laws on how chickens must be raised is going to be vastly more effective than merely voting with your dollars.</p> <h2>Build Your Diet, Step by Step</h2> <p>First, familiarize yourself with your choices.</p> <p>Start at the best places to get the best food &mdash; your own garden, your farmers market, your local food co-op. See what you can get that's local, organic, or hits any other criteria that you think is important &mdash; and check how much it costs. Then proceed to the grocery store. See what they've got. See what's on sale. See what's cheap at its regular price. (Grocery stores have lots of healthy food, mostly around the edges.) Don't neglect specialty stores &mdash; international food stores, ethnic food stores, etc. You never know what places will have unique choices, or some particular item at an especially low price.</p> <p>Once you know what your choices are, I suggest a three-step plan.</p> <p><strong>1. Start Your Menu With Slam-Dunk Wins</strong></p> <p>Slam-dunk wins are the cases where the healthiest item is also the cheapest:</p> <ul type="disc"> <li>When something is ready to harvest from your own garden, that's a win.</li> <li>When the local, organic product from the food co-op or the farmers market is cheaper than the grocery store, that's a win.</li> <li>When the grocery store product is cheap as well as being organic or local, that's a win.</li> </ul> <p><strong>2. Build Out a Tentative Menu With the Cheapest Options</strong></p> <p>Unless you're supernaturally lucky, the slam-dunk wins all by themselves won't produce a complete diet. Figure out what else you need, and make a shopping list with the cheapest (usually grocery store) option for each item (even if it's not necessarily the healthiest).</p> <p>Once you've done that, you'll have the cheapest possible menu.</p> <p><strong>3. Make Strategic Improvements Within Your Budget</strong></p> <p>If you're really poor (or for some other reason have a really small food budget), maybe this is all you can afford. If so, that's probably OK &mdash; as long as you've got plenty of variety, you've probably already got a healthy diet. However, if you have even a little headroom under your budget, you can make some real improvements.</p> <p>There are some places where a little more money makes a big difference in food &mdash; paying a little more gets you food that's better tasting and more nutritious. Other places, you have to pay a lot more to get food that's a lot better. Some places there are a lot of prices levels, each one a little better than the one that costs less.</p> <ul type="disc"> <li>Swap in items that are healthier, starting with the ones where the price difference is smallest or where the health advantage is largest.</li> <li>Be bolder about tolerating price differences when the quality difference is large.</li> <li>Be bolder when the quantity that you need to buy is small.</li> </ul> <p>The big win of working with a budget is that you know when to stop improving your diet. There will always be choices that are fairer, freer, local-er, sustainabl-er, or organic-er. Don't worry about that. If you build a diet around those slam-dunk wins, together with grocery store choices, strategically improved to the limits of your budget, you've have a diet that's healthy and cheap.</p> <p><em>What are you doing to eat healthier and cheaper?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/eating-at-the-intersection-of-cheap-and-healthy">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-delicious-and-dollar-wise-winter-staples">15 Delicious and Dollar-Wise Winter Staples</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cooking-for-beginners-10-recipes-for-kitchen-newbies">Cooking for Beginners: 10 Recipes for Kitchen Newbies</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-youll-waste-money-on-this-thanksgiving">10 Things You&#039;ll Waste Money on This Thanksgiving</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-eat-well-on-just-20-a-week-with-meal-plans">How to Eat Well on Just $20 a Week (With Meal Plans!)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-surprising-and-delicious-ways-to-cook-instant-ramen">21 Surprising and Delicious Ways to Cook Instant Ramen</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Cheap Food cheap healthy eating Cooking healthy food Thu, 25 Apr 2013 10:36:40 +0000 Philip Brewer 973632 at http://www.wisebread.com Eating Frugally With MyPlate http://www.wisebread.com/eating-frugally-with-myplate <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/eating-frugally-with-myplate" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/guy_in_fridge.jpg" alt="Man reaching into the fridge" title="Man reaching into the fridge" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The USDA recently unveiled its new food icon, <a href="http://www.choosemyplate.gov/index.html">MyPlate</a>, which has been receiving plenty of media buzz thanks partly to the star power of its top advocate, Michelle Obama. The new MyPlate icon replaces the old Food Pyramid and is meant to help families to eat more healthfully by providing an idea of what your dinner plate should look like. (See also: <a href="http://www.healthytheory.com/food-pyramid-replaced-by-my-plate">Food Pyramid Replaced by &ldquo;MyPlate&rdquo;</a> via Healthy&nbsp;Theory)</p> <p>The big question for many of us is whether or not it is possible to eat affordably by following the MyPlate icon. Naysayers are quick to point out that many grains, fruits, and vegetables are expensive, and that the MyPlate icon is unrealistic for most households. I do not believe that is true. I think that it is possible to eat healthfully and follow the guidelines of the MyPlate icon while keeping your costs down. Here&rsquo;s why.</p> <h3>MyPlate Is a Guideline</h3> <p>While the MyPlate icon is supposed to simplify healthy eating for most families, you do still have to use common sense. It is a guideline with a great deal of wiggle room within it. For example, having your plate half-full of fruits and veggies doesn&rsquo;t mean you should go to Whole Foods and fill your cart full of out-of-season, imported fruits and vegetables. Those are sure to be more expensive! Rather, shop for <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fresh-fruits-and-vegetables-by-the-month">seasonal</a> and locally grown fruits and vegetables at your local market. Shop around and find the supermarkets that offer the best deals on produce. I often find that ethnic markets offer the cheapest prices on vegetables.</p> <p>Yes, this will take a little more work, and you might have to stop at a couple of stores instead of one gargantuan supermarket. That is the price you&rsquo;ll have to pay for eating healthy, affordable food. Is it worth it to you?</p> <h3>Less Meat and More Vegetables Is Easier on the Wallet</h3> <p>One thing that should make us frugal shoppers perk up is that the MyPlate icon recommends that less than a quarter of our dinner plate be filled with protein. First of all, this means that we will be eating less meat. Meat can get expensive, especially if you&rsquo;re trying to find good-quality meat! Serving less of it means that you can splurge a little on better meat and seafood, but consume less. And remember that protein does not equal meat &mdash; other great sources of protein like tofu, edamame, chickpeas, beans, quinoa, and eggs typically cost less than a good cut of meat.</p> <p>You could try instituting a household tradition such as Meatless Monday, where every Monday you serve a meatless meal. It is one step towards moving away from a meat-dependent diet and putting a little more protein variety onto the plate.</p> <h3>Buy What&rsquo;s On Sale, and Cook From the Fridge</h3> <p>I&rsquo;ve recently started forcing myself to shop for groceries only once or twice a week. This makes me plan out what I need to buy a little better. For example, if I know I&rsquo;m going to need five kinds of vegetables to serve during the week, I&rsquo;ll look for the vegetables that are on sale when I go to my favorite market. If tri-colored peppers are expensive, maybe I&rsquo;ll go for the cheaper broccoli crowns instead. Or I&rsquo;ll buy a bag of carrots or a head of cabbage instead of the out-of-season hothouse tomatoes.</p> <p>During the week, I cook the produce that I have in the fridge, instead of being inspired by a recipe and then going out to buy all of the ingredients (they&rsquo;re never on sale when you want them!). I&rsquo;ve eliminated a great deal of waste by making myself use up what&rsquo;s in the fridge instead of shopping for new produce.</p> <p>This does force me to be a little more creative and adventurous with my cooking and try out vegetables that I&rsquo;ve never cooked before (can you believe I had never cooked beets before this little experiment?). On the plus side, the variety of vegetables you get by shopping this way is good for you!</p> <h3>Have a Well-Stocked Pantry</h3> <p>I like the designation &ldquo;grains&rdquo; on the MyPlate icon because it makes me think of whole grains, unlike the designation &ldquo;carbohydrates,&rdquo; which makes me think of gobs of white bread and cake. Having an assortment of healthy grains (and I assume that potatoes are included in this category) in your pantry can help you to come up with healthy, affordable meals. Costco is a great source for affordable rice, pasta, oatmeal, and quinoa. Sure, they come in 10 or 20-pound bags, but they won&rsquo;t spoil for a long time.</p> <p>Keep a variety of whole grains in your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stock-a-natural-food-pantry-for-less">pantry</a>, add to that the fruits and vegetables that you buy on sale, and supplement your diet with a small amount of meat or inexpensive plant proteins, and you&rsquo;re well on your way to eating frugally using MyPlate.</p> <p><em>I haven&rsquo;t addressed specific issues such as special dietary concerns, lactose intolerance, and other situations in which it might be difficult to follow the MyPlate guidelines. What do you think? Is it realistic and affordable for you and your family to eat according to the new food icon?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/camilla-cheung">Camilla Cheung</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/eating-frugally-with-myplate">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/great-ways-to-get-calcium">Great Ways to Get Calcium</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-foods-scientifically-proven-to-increase-your-lifespan">6 Foods Scientifically Proven to Increase Your Lifespan</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/turbo-charge-your-diet-with-superfoods">Turbo-Charge Your Nutrition With Superfoods</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/herbal-supplements-know-what-you-re-getting">Herbal Supplements: Know What You’re Getting!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-foods-scientifically-proven-to-make-you-more-beautiful">7 Foods Scientifically Proven to Make You (More) Beautiful</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Health and Beauty cheap healthy eating Frugal grocery shopping nutrition Thu, 16 Jun 2011 10:36:13 +0000 Camilla Cheung 581356 at http://www.wisebread.com