Food for Thought

Hey Everyone! I need your help. One of the biggest concerns about eating healthy these days is the cost. Many people believe that eating healthy and organic is more expensive and therefore impossible. I know that's not true and I know many of you know this too. So here's what I'm hoping - I want to know how you do it? How do you shop to meet your needs but keep within your budget? Where do you shop? What do you buy? I'd like to be able to use your "testimonies" for future projects in my health & wellness career to help others learn how to shop. Please either leave your comments here, or email me: jen [at] alifeofsugarandspice [dot] com. Thanks!!!

Tomorrow I hope to put up my next post in my Know the Facts series and it's going to be all about the white stuff. Plain old sugar!


sallybranwyn said…
So, here's the deal, gluten free food is expensive, we all know that. BUT there's tons of food that is naturally gluten free that's cheap. It's called produce. And beans. And meat. I think people get hung up on the price of specialty items like gluten-free bread, pastas, and pastries, but those can all be considered food for special events. Really, after a small adjustment period, it's really easy (and healthy and TASTY) to eat naturally gluten free foods. Canned tuna, beans, produce, canned tomatoes, frozen veggies and fruits...they're all dirt cheap! It's just a matter of stepping away from the comfort zone, just as not focusing on having a protein, a veggie, and a starch as the ONLY option for dinner is an adjustment.
Jenn Sutherland said…
I'd agree with sally - I don't buy many gluten-free products - they're expensive for one, but mostly because junk food is junk food - gluten-free or no. Focusing on cooking whole foods is where it's at for me.

As far as cost goes...I'm no model for thrift, unfortunately. Food is my passion, organic, locally grown food (including meat) is my priority, and it is not an inexpensive way to eat. Our budget for two people is $100 per week, plus we subscribe to an organic produce CSA 8 months of they year and an organic, pastured meat CSA year round - which averages another $30 per week.

At $130 per week, I'd still argue that this isn't too much to spend. We only eat out about once per month, since with celiac it's a pretty risky situation for me. So that $130 per week covers 42 meals for both of us, plus snacks - this works out to average $3 per meal...manageable, right? We don't have snacky habits like Starbucks, fast food, or junk food, so this is truly our total food cost. And, we typically have friends over for dinner at least once each week.

I think about food costs a lot, and in the end - feeding myself healthy, fresh food is our #1 priority to create the health we want. Neither one of us have had any major health concerns since I went gluten-free 8 years ago, and I know that how we eat is a big part of it.
Unknown said…
I agree with both of the above people. Eating gluten free is a challenge. I was told early on that if you eat from the perimeter of the grocery store you can have almost anything there. Meat, produce, and vegtables.
I have to admit I am a gluten free manufacturer. Yes I make the goodie products people want but we also make thngs to make life easier, Meatloaf starter, and seasoned breading are 2 of my favorite products they fill a need to make meats taste like you remember.
Watching your finances are one of lifes many challenges and eating is a necessity looking for sales and shopping for fresh items make the budget stretch further.
I totally agree with Sally keep the expensive packaged mixes for the special occassion. Lifes to short to deprive yourself of all those goodies but eating them in moderation is good for yur health and your pocketbook.
I'm not gluten free, but I would imagine making your own stuff would be great!?

For Dairy Free I make sure to watch when stuff is on sale - Almond milk is normally $3 ish... I found it the other day for less than $2 each, so I bought a case!

also if you feel that you MUST buy organic - google the dirty dozen, and only focus on getting that stuff organic, and buy the other stuff non organic!!

RK said…
With regard to the gluten free baked products that are so expensive, I just bake my own for a fraction of the cost! I also do the whole "mail order ingredient" thing, especially with gluten free flour because you can save so much money. I actually just posted about it recently :)

I also do a lot of shopping on sale, so I spread out my ingredient costs over a longer period of time.

Lisa said…
I can probably say that we are a 50/50 family at this point. I buy about 50% "regular" grocery store foods and 50% organic foods. I do have to say that I struggle every week with whether to spend the extra money on organic or just buy the cheaper "regular" foods.

For example, I needed eggs and butter this weekend. I decided that instead of going to Walmart to buy "regular" eggs and butter, I would stop at our Green Grocer and by organic. I bought cage-free, grass fed eggs and organic, hand churned butter. I also bought one box of Envirokidz Rice Crispy Bars for my daughter's lunch box. My total was $13. For three items. It is really tough sometimes to justify this when you are trying to feed a family on a budget.

I don't buy a lot of junk food, gluten-free or otherwise. I do try to shop the parameter of the store and buy fresh, healthy foods. I buy organic apples and other fruits with skins that we eat to avoid extra pesticides.

I would certainly by organic all the time if the prices would come down a little...

Nicole M said…
For me, money (even though I am by no means rich) is not an issue when it comes to what kind of food my household puts into our bodies. We are gluten free and organic. Having said that... I still try not to go overboard with specialty items when I can easily cook and bake better fresher versions myself. I agree with Sally's statement that after a short adjustment period (for me it was building up a collection of gluten free flours/meals/starches) its no problem, money or hassle, to eat right. I also find it crucial to meal plan in my house. Every other Sunday night, I plan out 2 weeks worth of meals and I stick to it for the most part. This helps eliminate over-buying or buying junk... when I go to the store with a list I am on the right track.
Yes, the answer is eating more of meat, veggies and less of the products that make up for not eating gluten.

I not only eat gluten free but also all free range and organic. I've found a way to do it though, without it costing that much more. I buy straight from the farm- my eggs are cheaper than the organic ones at the store, and they are also pastured and a much healthier product- ditto with the meat. I buy cheap cuts of high quality meat and cook it in the slow cooker.

I eat low carb, so I don't bother with a lot of pricey gluten free products - they usually have a lot of carbs that I can't handle. I buy almond flour, and other specialty ingredients (like erythritol and stevia) in larger quantities online to make up for the cost.

I try to buy my organic produce from local sources straight from the farmer, in season (I live in NY) which is cheaper. When I go to the grocery, I buy very little there- mainly things like sparkling water, veggies in the winter, and ingredients for my husband's lunches (he is not gluten free). I make lots of baked goods at home which is cheaper and healthier (and I post them!).

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