I always hear people talk about it’s so hard to find healthy fast food, and I have found this to be true. The reason being is healthy food is not fast because it must be prepared from scratch. Sure, you can find a few select restaurants that use good ingredients but usually they are not cheap.
If your trying to eat healthy on a budget your going to need to cook from home, and to do that you must source quality ingredients at a reasonable price. Your best bet is to go directly to the farm. By doing this you avoid the middle man and can get Organic vegetables at 1/2 or less the price you would at the typical grocery store.
Our household recently signed up for a farm to table CSA program. The way this works is you pre-pay a local farm for 6 months worth of produce. The fact that you are avoiding paying distribution costs and grocery store markup means you get fresh vegetables at a fraction of the cost. You also have the piece of mind knowing where you produce is coming from. For the longest time I would overpay for lesser quality produce, usually from China, at the grocery store. Produce that travels across the ocean usually has a shorter shelf life then that which would be grown and harvested locally which is another positive.
The next tip to cook on a budget is to buy in bulk. Buying in bulk can save you thousands of dollars per year, but you must be careful. Only buy items in bulk that you eat regularly and that have longer shelf lives. Things like produce, milk, and eggs should be purchased weekly, while bulk items can purchased once per month. Staples like sugar, salt, flour, honey, rice, quinoa, and pepper can be purchased in even larger quantities. If your serious about cooking healthy another thing to consider is cooking almost entirely from scratch. When you buy prepared items they usually contain some sort of preservative. If you buy ingredients fresh locally, and prepare them from scratch your most likely lowering your intake of preservatives and every little bit help. Some would argue that cooking from scratch takes too long and they don’t have time. One trick to save time is to do meal prep. Meal prep consists of preparing ingredients and multiple meals up at one time, usually in the morning. That way you can get more of the hard work done at one time, then assembling lunch and dinner is simple.
As a chef for many years, I believe everyone should slow down and learn to love the process of preparing food. Cooking can be a form of art and even mediation. The process of using my hands to create something healthy and delicious always gives me a profound sense of satisfaction. As a young child I learned to cook from my mother and at that point developed a passion for cooking. If your looking looking to eat healthy on a budget then your going to have to learn to cook. Learning to cook is easy to do and most find it very enjoyable. My goal is to inspire your passion for cooking in a healthy and budget friendly way.