Sustainable Food: Eating on a Budget

by Daniela Baker


You can reduce your family’s carbon footprint just by changing the way you cook and eat, even if you’re eating on a budget.

Paying attention to your diet will not only reduce the amount of waste you are contributing to the environment, but you and your family will feel better by getting adequate nutrition. You might even shed a few pounds.

Buy Unprocessed

You and your kids might enjoy those snack cakes and pre-portioned dinners, but the simple fact is they often cost more than the unprocessed stuff. The more packaging it has, the more it costs to buy. Cut out the convenience foods and start thinking about making some from scratch. Here are a few snack foods you can make at home:

Consider saving additional green by buying in bulk at your local co-op store. Clubs like Costco and Sam’s Club offer credit card options to sign up through the store. Buy your food with grocery credit cards to help boost your purchasing power. Be sure to pay it off every month to avoid late fees and other charges.

Buy Local

Instead of loading up on produce at a grocery store, try checking out a local farmer’s market in your area for fresh fruits and veggies. Enter your zip code on to find a host of good and organic food grown close to home. Items such as –

  • Grass-fed meat
  • Organic vegetables
  • Organic fruits
  • Fresh herbs
  • Homemade bread
  • Natural beauty and hygiene products

-will cut down on your intake of chemicals, preservatives and other unnatural products that can harm your body. Purchasing locally grown and produced items also boosts small businesses and farms.

Cook at Home

Forget McDonalds. Think burgers on the grill instead. Make food in big batches, freeze it, and then use those meals when you don’t have the time to cook. Casseroles work great for one-dish meals on busy weeknights.

Cooking at home will also help you portion meals and control the type of food you feed your family. And the savings can be significant. The cost of eating out has risen more than 5% since 2004. That 5% could be the interest you are spending from your investments. When you’re eating on a budget, it’s better to save your money and make dinner.

Use Your Leftovers

Not many, especially children, enjoy eating the thing they had the day before, but the key to fantastic leftovers is in the re-creation. Turn cheeseburgers into a cheesy meatloaf, or take leftover rice and use it to make fried rice the next day. Your leftovers will help you utilize the energy you have already expending in cooking something, it will help you save money, and you’ll cut down on the amount of waste.

Recycle and Reuse Packaging

Finished with a jelly jar? Don’t toss it, reuse it. If you put your mind to it, a host of items that commonly would find their way at the local dump can be put to use in your home. Utilize that jelly jar and other items with some of these ideas.

  • Canning
  • Craft supplies
  • Containers to hold food
  • Composting
  • Packing material
  • Storing leftovers

These step for eating on a budget are simple; they will exponentially fatten your wallet while they slim your waist. Make a conscious effort to green your family’s diet using these steps. Even if you slip back into your old ways, work at getting your family back into the mindset of being satisfied with natural foods and products.

Daniela Baker from CreditDonkey was kind enough to share these healthy food shopping tips.  You can follow these simple steps to keeping the green in your wallet while contributing to a healthier planet.

Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by laura padgett

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