Sunday, March 16, 2014

Groceries: Eating organic on a budget

I  LOVE grocery shopping.

Not even kidding. 

I love looking at new food items, and coming up with new ideas, and sampling yummy treats. Unfortunately, my wallet doesn't love grocery shopping as a hobby as much as I do. I eat organic, consume tons of fresh produce, and buy very little processed foods. 

And yet, I am a law student with a very limited budget. How does that balance out? 

Here is a snapshot of this week's grocery finds, and the meals I plan to make with them.

General: organic broth, organic ground chicken and chicken breasts, small organic cows milk, 3 cans of black beans, ricotta cheese, wonton wrapers, almond milk, greek yogurt, organic oats, chia seeds, organic eggs, organic turkey bacon, dried navy beans, maple syrup, organic turkey bacon, organic diced tomatoes. 

Produce: (all organic) potato, onion, bananas, apples, oranges, kale, cucumber, bell pepper, broccoli crowns, asparagus, fresh parsley, small head of lettuce, avocado.

Total: $91

For 2 people, that looks like about $45.50 per person - not bad, in my opinion. Here is what I am cooking this week. 

- chicken and cheese stuffed ravioli with homemade white sauce and roasted asparagus. 
- navy beans with tomatoes, collard greens, and turkey bacon, served with brown rice.
- home-made black bean burgers (vegan)
- grilled chicken salads with avocado and veggies. 
- Baked potato topped with broccoli and black beans (vegetarian) 
- Black bean chocolate cookies (vegan)
- whole-wheat english muffins (vegan)
Tips for saving money (and time) when buying organic

1. Shop the perimeter of the store.
Produce, dairy, eggs, meats, and grains are much lower priced than packaged items. Skipping the pre-made granola bars and snack foods will save a bundle - and you can always substitute healthier items (apple and peanut butter> granola bar). 

2. Know your store.
Staying consistent with the same store lets you know when they put new items out and when the sales usually start. Keep this in mind when grocery shopping. 

3. Plan your meals and snacks for the week.
I am not a rigid meal planner, but I pick out the dinners I want to have each week. I also pick any snack items to make for school and plan on 1 leftover night. I do leave things like veggies and fruits open in my meal plan. Then I can buy what ever is on sale and looks good. 

4. Do a leftover night.
Or take them in your lunches. Planning a leftover night insures things get eaten and nothing goes to waste. This is the biggest money saver in my house! To make the meal seem less recycled, I plan a fresh veggie to go with it, and often make drop biscuits to serve along side. 

5. Limit your meat consumption. 
AR is not a vegetarian, but as you can see, many of our meal items are vegetarian. Using meat less frequently will save you a significant amount of money - pick lower cost proteins like eggs and beans for the non-meat days.

Where do you shop? 


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