Budget is a big concern for people when they move to a whole food diet.
This is a valid concern, when you see Dominos selling pizzas for $4.99.
There are lots of strategies you can bring to life to help manage your budget
1. Reduce Food waste
Everyday Australians throw out vast quantities of edible food. By thinking differently about how we treat our fruit and vegetables, we can get a lot more value and nutrients per dollar.
Ideas to reduce food waste:
Beetroot leaves – use in place of spinach or kale. Similar nutritionally to other leafy greens, you can cook with them the same way.
Cauliflower and broccoli leaves – cauliflower leaves can be trimmed to remove the ends and roasted with your fat of choice and some spices, until they are crispy. Broccoli leaves are milder in flavour than the florets, and can be added to smoothies or salads.
Cauliflower and broccoli stalks – these are just as good for you as the rest of the vegetable, and can make up a lot of the weight. Roast with the rest of the vegetable or make “rice”. Can also be juiced.
Potatoes – save time and money by scrubbing your potatoes (and sweet potatoes) rather than peeling. There are lots of nutrients and fibre in the skin, which you lose when you peel them.
All vegetable scraps – collect in a bag in the freezer, and then add to stockpot when you are making a batch of bone broth
Vegetables approaching end of shelf life – make into a soup and have as a cheap and nutritious meal
Kiwi skin – this is edible and has more fibre and vitamin C than the flesh. It also makes it less difficult to eat, instead of peeling, or scooping.
Citrus peel – store in freezer for use in marinades, or add vinegar and leave for a few weeks to make a citrus infused cleaning solution.
Chicken bones – boil to make either chicken stock (short simmer, 1.5 hours) or bone broth (24 hours). Ditch the stock cubes and UHT stock. Check out my recipe for chicken stock.
2. Buy direct from farmers
Cut out the middle man and find local farmers to source your meat and chemical free vegetables. This way you are supporting your local economy and not paying huge margins to supermarkets. Supermarkets spend millions on advertising, that you pay for when you shop there
3. Eat imperfect fruit and vegetables
Supermarkets have been working on the assumption that consumers do not want misshapen fruit and vegetables. I know a lot of consumers would prefer to have cheaper fruit and vegetables than have perfectly formed fruit and vegetables. Luckily one Supermarket in France made the brave move of selling “ugly fruit” and now the majors in Australia have followed suit. But why does this matter, and what are the impacts of food waste?
To produce food takes inputs of land, energy, transport and fuel. When the food isn’t used, all this is wasted with many negative consequences.
4. Nose to tail eating
Depending on your culture and how you were fed when you were growing up, you may find nose to tail eating too hard to stomach. It is worth challenging your perceptions on this, as there are many benefits of moving away from the leaner choice supermarket cuts of meat. People often like to be disconnected from the origin of the meat and just buy meat nicely packaged in plastic.
These perceptions lead to food waste and lots of missed opportunity for nutrition. Every cow that is slaughtered has kidneys, liver etc. If consumers don’t want them, they go in the bin. Think of how much cheaper meat would be if these vast quantities of the animals weren’t disposed of?
To save money in your meat shopping, consider buying the cheaper less popular cuts.
With offal, you really do want to buy organic for things like liver and kidneys.
Buy in bulk, like a half a cow or a whole sheep. It works out much cheaper, and makes organic meat affordable.
5. Don’t buy processed and packaged food
When you buy food that is 10 little packets with 20g of food in them, you are paying a huge amount of money for packaging, and for people or machines to put the little packets in the big packets. The cost of the food is minimal. So try to make as much food as possible at home, and put small portions in reusable containers instead. This will also reduce the amount of packaging you send to landfill every week.