Frugal vs. Healthy

  • I was wondering what everyone elses input was in the Fugality section of Weight Loss and Food Shopping.I just went shopping and got fresh fruit and veggies lean cuts of meat and yorgurt. these are things that I don't normally buy. But, in my quest of becoming healthier and leaner I bought. It certainly raised my gorcery bill. Any help there would be appreciated. On the other hand if I am healthier and happier will that decrease medical bills hence be frugal. I don't know this is a new way of thinking for me. Any input or ideas would be helpful.

  • Frugal and healthy can certainly go together. Cooking from scratch is much cheaper than buying premade and processed foods and it's better for you. You know what is in the food you prepare and you've eliminated the preservatives, artificial colorings etc. It will cost you more initially to stock your pantry, especially if you haven't done much cooking in the past. Even so, it costs alot less than going out to eat!

    Fresh fruits and veggies can cost more if they are out of season. However, if you try to stay with what's in season, your cost will not be much more. Also, I have found frozen veggies to be a good value. I think they are higher in nutrients than produce that has spent a few weeks in the shipping process and then waited to be purchased at the store. Really fresh produce (such as that purchased at a farmer's market) is worth whatever extra you might pay.

    The key to frugal grocery shopping is to purchase what is on sale at a great price and purchase enough to last until that item goes on sale again. For instance, when hamburger goes on sale for $.99/lb, I may buy 10 packages. I do the same with chicken and all other regularly purchased items. This may sound really expensive but it's not. It saves money. I am always getting the food for the lowest cost. Some people use a price book where they keep track of the lowest unit price on foods they regularly purchase. This helps you know when something is really a bargain.

    I also do many casserole meals to keep the meat cost down. This is also healthier. If I serve meat main dish, the portions are small. We fill up on fresh bread, veggies etc.
  • I haven't tried this yet, but I plan to. TVP (textured vegatable protein) is supposed to be cheap if bought in bulk. I plan to mix it with ground beef to make it less expensive and healthier. If you can grow any of your own veggies that should be cheaper too.
  • healthy/frugal eating
    Homemade Fruit-on-the-Bottom Fat Free yogurts:
    Instead of buying yogurt cups, I buy the large FF plain yogurt. I also bought a box of the "throw away" Glad containers, in the cup shape. I put a spoonful of whatever jelly/jam on the bottom and then fill with yogurt. Takes only a minute to do 6 cups for breakfast all week. Take granola or cereal in a baggie as a topping, if desired. I bet you could also use cocoa or pudding mixes for flavoring, but I haven't tried it yet.

    Bananas are usually cheap. We keep bunches on the counter and grab for a quick snack. Bags of apples or carrots (uncut) aren't too bad either.

    Bake your favorite cookie/cake recipe, but substitute applesauce for the oil/shortening or egg. This cuts out a good deal of the fat, doesn't add calories, and tastes great. Since you've made it yourself, it is cheaper than buying a box of goodies.

    I make flavored teas from garden herbs. Tea is so good for you. A great substitute for coffee or soda. Like the yogurt, you can make a bunch up in advance and have it handy. If you don't have a garden, buy herbs in bluk - it is cheaper than either those tiny grocery store bottles or boxed flavored teas.

    If there is a discount grocer or dented can store, check there for weight loss products. Our local dented can store occasionally has bulk lots of weight loss "meal bars". Something like 6/$1 individual!! (Not only cheaper, but you can choose several varieties.) Our grocery store carries similar bars for more like 6/$5 box.
  • Mrs Helm, I have often heard that you could make that substitue with cakes. How much applesauce do you use instead on the oil?I want to thank every on for their input into my question. I do make things from scratch but have very few recipies and get tired on the same old thing. It is rather expensive to switch your kitchen to a new style of cooking. Ex. Canola Oil vs Veg oil or Olive oil, Flour vs Wheat Flour, you get the picture. My family has never been one to eat alot of fruits or vegies. My youngest ds thinks that the only veggie there are Broccoli and Corn Potatoes. He won't try others. Oh well I will keep trying with him. This is just a new experience for us. I use to have grocery bill done to $100 bi weekly it certainly has gone up.

  • Sue Ann, there are lots of wonderful recipe sites on the web. Here are a few:

    You can search by type of recipe (ex: pasta) or by ingredient on these sites.

    As to the cost, you don't have to do it all at once. Sweeping changes can be difficult for family members so it can be more effective to change things little by little. We used to eat meat portions that were way to large. I started cutting down the portion size by degrees. Now DH and DD are used to much smaller servings. I usually serve a fruit and a veggie or two veggies and they can have seconds of those if they wish.

    As to getting DD to try new things, the rule at our house is you have to try it. You don't have to finish something if you hate it but often DD will try something and decide she likes it. DD doesn't like many raw veggies. But she'll eat most of them cooked. Just experiment. Your son may like things in a different form. I also use fruits and veggies interchangeably. If I'm serving a veggie that DD doesn't like, it's no problem to cut up an apple for her to have instead.

    Good luck with your quest for healthier eating. Remember to take baby steps with this. And I find it useful not to tell them it's healthy etc. Most of the time, they don't notice if I don't tell them.
  • Thanks, AR55 I will keep trying. The kids had their physicals yesterday and the Dr. even talked to them about eating healthy with lots of fruits and veggies.

  • Hi,
    One thing I have found helpful in trying too eat healthy but frugal, is too see how far I can stretch a pound of meat. First off I never use ground beef if I can subsitute ground turkey. My Walmnart supercenter sells 1lb turkey chubs plain or sausage for $.77, great deal. I even have my family eating turkey burgers! It is always so much cheaper that way, and if you start out putting it in sauces and such, they won't even notice the difference.
    Another thing is too think what will stretch it further. The other day, I was going too feed my family tuna fish sandwhiches. But then I thought it takes me 3 cans of tuna too feed everyone sandwiches. So instead I only used 2 cans of tuna and mixed it with 1 lb of pasta a bag of frozen vegetables and a low fat white sauce and some spices. I got a substansil healthy meal and leftovers for the next day that way. Tuna is inexpensive, but every little bit helps. And I always try too add extra vegetables too everything I make.
    Just some ideas, have fun!
  • DH is all for our frugal lifestyle change. But, he chuckles at some things. I made a double batch of chilli and doubled every thing but the meat. He thought it was funny because it was the opposite of his Gram's chilli (she is the BEST chilli maker around). At her house you have to search to find a bean. At ours you ask "where is the beef?"