Cheap, Healthy Food: Swap These And Save
Yes, you can eat healthfully and save money! Make these simple swaps to save money while staying healthy.
Gluten Free Flour: Oat Flour
Strolling through the alternative baking aisle or local health food store you might experience a mild heart attack upon witnessing the cost of the usual branded gluten-free flours and gluten-free flour blends. There is no denying that these products are incredible alternatives to your standard wheat flour. They are specially formulated to have a very similar texture and leavening. That being said, when you are in need of your very own home baked chocolate chip cookies, there is one very simple alternative that will save you a small fortune. Oats are gluten-free. While some oats are grown directly next to wheat fields, causing mild contamination, the majority of celiac and gluten-sensitive people can tolerate oats very very well. Rather than spending a fortune on gluten-free blends, try buying ground oats or whole oats and simply processing them in your food processor to a fine, flour like consistency.
Nut butters: Natural Peanut Butter
Nut butters can be incredibly expensive and the ever growing list of brands and variations makes this section of the supermarket, difficult to navigate. Almond butter continues to reign supreme as the most healthy nut butter option but given the high calorie content of any nut butter, moderation is key. Peanut butter, our very own childhood favourite has tons of health benefits and given the serious price difference, it is often worth making the change. Choose a natural peanut butter with only one ingredient on the nutritional information: Peanuts. You will likely save anywhere from $5 to $8 and still be able to enjoy a creamy and protein-packed nut butter that won’t disappoint.
Coconut Oil: Other Healthy Oils
Coconut oil, the holy grail of health food. People are using it everywhere and in everything and that is not helping the ridiculous price. As a result of this coconut oil obsession, people are failing to recognize the health benefits of other, high heat safe, carcinogen-free and environmentally friendly oils. Olive oil, despite being totally overshadowed by coconut oil lately, is still an awesome choice. You will need to be more conscious of the level of heat you use but even baking with olive oil can be safe, healthy and delicious. Olive oil smokes at a much lower temperature than coconut oil. At the smoking point, olive oil has become carcinogenic. By tossing your veggies or even meats in the oil before heating, the oil spends less time in the heat, reducing the chances of free-radicals (carcinogens) developing.
Organic Fruits And Veggies: Cleaning And Peeling Before Eating
Compare the price of an organic apple to non-organic. Ouch. While buying organic, local vegetables is ideal, it isn’t always realistic. Choosing seasonal fruits and veggies can certainly help drive down the cost of your organic produce, but it won’t entirely mitigate the damage to your wallet. Cleaning your fruits and vegetables properly and even peeling them, can help to reduce the presence of pesticides. Try soaking your fruits and vegetables in a water and vinegar bath for two hours. Mix six to eight litres of cold water with 1/4 to 1/2 cup of vinegar and you will remove up to 95 per cent of pesticides from your produce. If you want to eliminate even more, peel your fruits and veggies before eating. This does remove some super healthy fibre but sometimes you simply need to opt for the lesser of two evils.
Vegan Baking: Chia And Flax Seeds
Vegan baking recipes are often a long list of incredibly expensive and difficult to find ingredients. Instead of trying to follow the recipes exactly, find a normal recipe and simply exchange certain ingredients (eggs, milk, butter) for a vegan alternative. Some substitutions will take practice as you learn just how much olive oil or coconut oil can replace butter or what types of flours will be best in place of whole grains, but lists of alternatives and baking tricks are all over the internet. Our fave vegan baking secret is simple. Instead of eggs, mix together 1 Tbsp of ground flax or chia with 3 Tbsps of water. You can also add an extra 1/4 tsp of baking powder to ensure a fluffy dough. Milk alternatives like almond, coconut, rice and soy milks act exactly the same as dairy in baking recipes so substitute those one to one.
Frozen Fruit: Freeze Seasonally
Frozen fruit can get expensive and fresh fruit can be even worse. We all have our fave fruits that we will often pay a fortune for when they are out of season. Especially for those morning smoothie recipes that we can’t get enough of. Rather than over-spending on particular fruits, throwing away nearly-rancid fruits or seeking strawberries in December, simply buy as much local, seasonal fruit as you can and freeze it for year round smoothies. It might seem like a hassle but it is easier than you might imagine. Simply place the fruit on a single layer on a baking sheet and place in the freezer overnight. Transfer to a great big container and repeat.
Whole grains: Buy Bulk
When it comes to lovely grains and seeds like quinoa, brown rice, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, millet or buckwheat, those precious little bags of the brand name standard can get insanely pricey. Thankfully, loads of health food stores and your local bulk store carry 90 per cent of the whole grains and seeds you are seeking at a fraction of the price. Depending on the climate you live in, you can seal these products in mason jars, air tight containers or even store in the freezer for long term storage.
Organic Meat And Poultry: Vegan Protein
We are learning more and more about the meat and poultry industry everyday. Awareness around the use of antibiotics, pesticides and the cruelty that exists in the large scale, commercial farming industry is terrifying to many of us. Choosing free-range, organic meats is one way to feel a lot better about what you and your family are consuming but the price isn’t likely to feel good on your wallet. In a world where plant proteins are readily available, inexpensive and easy to incorporate into every meal, straying from the typical meat and potatoes to enjoy some vegan options is an awesome way to reduce the load on the waistline and the wallet. Try organic tofu, tempeh, quinoa, nuts, seeds, beans and legumes. Make your own veggies burgers, try simple stir fries and brown rice bowls and fill your fridge with casseroles and chili.