Natural Mama Struggles: How Can I Buy Healthy Foods On A Budget

Natural Mama Struggles: How Can I Buy Healthy Foods On A Budget | GrowingUpHerbal.com | Looking to afford healthy foods on a tight budget? Here are 5 tips to help.

It can be tough trying to buy healthy foods on a budget. Let’s face it… a lot of healthy foods are expensive! For most mamas with kids and budgets, it’s tough trying to embrace more of a natural, healthy lifestyle, especially when it comes to incorporating real food meals into the mix… and even more so when those meals are organic!

This is an email I received from a reader dealing with this very issue!

Wanting to switch my family to natural meals and foods is a challenge first and foremost. My biggest struggle is that right now I’m in a budget battle. Our food budget is not great because our utilities have been so high. WIC is my little man’s main food option, and Dad and my options are not so good either. 

Can you relate to this mama? If so, keep reading because I’m going to address the issue of feeling like you can’t afford to buy healthy foods by sharing 5 easy tips to making healthy foods more affordable for you.

5 Tips for Making Healthy Foods More Affordable

We’re all in different places in life when it comes to affording healthy foods. I’ve been there. My food budget has thankfully increased over time, but there have been and still are times where I feel like my food budget is tighter than I’d like. Each of the following tips are things that I’ve personally used to help make it easier for me to buy healthy foods on a budget.

1. Start With ONE Thing

When I first started making the switch to healthier foods, I quickly became overwhelmed with all the things I felt I had to keep up with. I’m a first-born, and I have major perfectionist tendencies which is a blessing and a curse. If you too are this way, you know what I’m talking about. Thankfully, over time, I’ve learned to chill out and to take things one step at a time.

When trying to make healthy foods more affordable, start with ONE thing to buy that’s healthier than what you’re already buying.

For example, bread. Instead of buying regular store-bought bread that’s full of junky ingredients, buy healthier artisan breads or breads made from sprouted flours. You can even buy ingredients to make bread and bake it yourself which is what my husband and I have been doing here lately. It doesn’t take up that much time if you use a bread machine.

By starting with one thing, the cost won’t seem so overwhelming like buying everything in healthier versions will. And of course, if time allows, anything you can make yourself will be cheaper than buying it in a store.

2. Skip Organic… At First

When trying to make healthy foods more affordable, skip organic and just focus on crowding out the junk with healthier options.

Sure, organic is important and the way to go if you’re trying to cut back on toxins and avoid GMOs, but when you’re just starting to get into buying healthier foods, buying more veggies and healthier snacks, figuring out how to cook with healthy salts and fats, using healthy recipes, knowing what’s in season, and learning to make things from scratch among other things is enough to make you feel totally crazy. So although I’m a BIG advocate for buying organic foods… at first, it’s okay to skip that part and just work on getting rid of the unhealthy junk from your pantry and replacing it with healthier versions.

Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is a healthy diet… especially on a budget. However, I should add that once you’ve replaced as much junk with healthier items as possible… move on to organic. Your body and wallet will thank you long-term.

3. Cut Back On “Extras”

Most times, when you make the decision to start buying healthier foods, you’re going to see an increase in your monthly grocery bill which can be stressful. This is the sort of thing that sends many mamas back to buying the less healthy foods they’ve been buying. The thing is, most times, we have money in our budgets that can be moved around to help with the increasing grocery bill each month.

Do you have satellite TV that’s loaded with channels… half of which you don’t watch? Do you head to your favorite coffee shop every day on your way to work to order that $5 specialty cup of jo? Do you have that next pedicure appointment scheduled every month in advance all summer?

When trying to make healthy foods more affordable, cut back on unnecessary “extras” so that you can make room for more “health” in your life.

How you spend your money says a lot about the things you value. Sure, none of the above things are wrong, and I’m in no way saying you shouldn’t spend your money on these things. What I am saying is that , if you want to be able to afford healthier foods because you know it’s better for your and your families health, and you’re on a budget, you may need to re-evaluate how you’re spending your money for a bit.

4. Shop In Bulk

Buying little bits of things here and there can add up over time. Consider the manufacturer’s costs of packaging and shipping smaller quantities of items, the store’s overhead costs in selling these items, and your gas driving to the store as well as your time. It all adds up.

When trying to make healthy foods more affordable, buy in bulk, buy locally, or buy online.

Buying in bulk is the way to go to save money. Not only do items sold in bulk cost less, but you don’t have as much cost in the manufacturing and retail end of selling bulk items like you do when selling smaller packages of things.

So where can you buy in bulk? Many times, local grocery stores will have bulk sections you can shop in. You can also buy bulk items from a local co-op or buy in bulk online. Azure standard, Amazon, and Vitacost (get $10 off your first Vitacost order by using my link!) are all ways to buy healthy foods on a budget because they offer items in bulk.

5. Cook Simple, Cheap Meals

Have you looked at some of the real food recipes online lately? Some of them look like gourmet meals full of ingredients and cooking methods only known to those who’ve gone to culinary school!

Now don’t get me wrong… I love finding real food recipes online. Most of my past meal plan posts are full of real food recipes, however, I always look for recipes that use easy to find ingredients and the average cook can fix them.

When trying to make healthy foods more affordable, focus on fixing simple, cheap meals.

You don’t have to go all out at first. Focus on simple recipes that are healthy and used basic, minimal ingredients. If the recipe happens to be for a meal or food that is in season, then you’ll save even more money. Beyond simple to prepare meals that are in season, look for meals that include things like rice, quinoa, beans, or greens. These kind of things are usually cheap and they help to bulk up your meals which will save you money.

Life Is A Journey

Above all, remember that the road to healthy, natural living is a journey. It doesn’t happen successfully overnight. It takes time to learn. It takes experimenting to see what works best for you. It takes developing the taste and know-how for healthier things. Don’t rush it. Start small. Start slow. Just start.

If you wanna read more about real food nutrition, especially when it comes to kids, check out my Real Food Nutrition for Kids series right here!

Thanks for reading! I appreciate your time, and I hope you found value in this post. If so, be sure to share it via the buttons to the left or leave me a comment and share your thoughts on this topic. I love getting to know you!

Blessing, Meagan

  1. Donna says:

    Great information for those concerned and don’t have the knowledge. Fortunately my parents and grandparents passed along some great skills / knowledge. Consider however that Doctor bills are much more expensive and medical treatment is more uncomfortable than affording great organic foods and supplements!

  2. Joy says:

    Great article!
    I think buying as healthy as you *CAN* while living within your means is a great way to go.

    Donna, even though doctor visits are more expensive, sometimes those who truly can’t afford to buy supplements or organic food, simply skip going to the doctor because they can’t afford it. They may go to the doctor or emergency room for something truly life-threatening, but when someone is really scraping by, sometimes there really isn’t money in the budget for organic. I would love to buy organic but we really can’t afford it. I buy fruits and veggies and try to bake our own bread many times. I try to avoid prepackaged foods and cook from scratch as much as possible. As for toxins and GMO’s, I just have to say a prayer over our food and leave the rest to God, because I’m doing the best I can.

    • Meagan says:

      Great point Joy. I don’t think healthy eating is an all or nothing situation either. If you can’t afford “organic”, then forget about it and just buy healthier. Your far better off than most people anyway. And as far as avoiding toxins and GMOs go, you can do your best researching those foods and trying to stay away from them as much as possible. Every little bit is one step in the right direction.

  3. Daniele @ We Know Stuff says:

    Thank you for the wonderful tips. It can be so overwhelming when you try to do everything at once. I agree that life is a journey. I’m trying to see this as a path we are traveling instead of a mountain we have to scale all in one day!

    • Meagan says:

      That is so true! And another thing that I try to remind myself of is to not compare myself to others who are ahead of me and try to catch up with them. It’s taken them a while to get where they are, and it’s going take me a while to get there too. Thanks for your comment Daniele!

  4. Monica says:

    Meagan, did you ever read a book called “Back to Eden” ? I’ll need to find that book and go back over the different things that been taught.. Anyways, I still hate grocery shopping… Good idea to shop more online in bulk.. I feel for the younger generation being loss to change their diet and I give the ones credit “yourself” for making their own bread…finally I’m making my own crock beans..I need to learn how to canned them…breaking away from freezing…
    Last night I made stove top pizza in a camping “lodge cast iron pot. Trying to get away from using a oven… So hot inside even though we have AC…King Arthur flour is non GMO by the way to help anyone… My son didn’t like the stovetop pizza and rather have the oven baked one… I thought the stove top taste different but it was good to me.. I guess I am preparing in case the economy goes down, how would we survive? Little by little I am canning, drying, freezing my food that I am growing… Slowly, like you said.. We cannot buy all organic food, meat etc..we are doing the best we can here and thank you for the wonderful article. Still trucking along… Going a little back in times..

    • Meagan says:

      Yes I have that book Monica… it has some great advice and remedies in it. I’m not really big into all they soy that Dr. Kloss recommends, but to each his own. We use King Arthur flour here, and I love it. I always keep whole wheat, white whole wheat, and all purpose on hand. I’d love to soak, sprout, and grind my own… I know it’s WAY healthier, but I’m just not there yet. Anyway, keep up the hard work. You always seem to be so busy!

  5. Monica says:

    Not sure what’s all in the picture…can you educate me on them? Thanks…

    • Meagan says:

      It’s just a bunch of random foods… I don’t know what each of them actually is. Sorry.

    • Daniela says:

      It’s Goji berries, chia seeds, flux seeds, ginger, sweet tree (liqroush, don’t know how to spell this in English) hemp, raspberries, dried apricots,does mango cranberries, dark chocolate and don’t know what the green beany things are called in English

  6. Monica says:

    Wow are we getting the thunderstorms…last week I said to my sister, her garden doing better than mine cause she got all the rain.. Well, I’m afraid we may be having a flood here.. Anyways, salad from the garden will help with meals.. Of course make your own dressing…this helps cut back on cost and corn syrup . I do add chicken, tuna or beef,that I cooked and froze ahead of time. The dressing can be just the herbal vinegar and oil or make an orange dressing from an orange… Use a tad of vinegar, with lot of oil, stevia, parsley,sweet basil, salt, pepper, etc….The crock beans, I mentioned earlier does taste different, because of the corn syrup is missing but my son, loves it ! Make sure you use bacon to flavor it. Spices, tomato juice or paste…ginger to cut down on gas, cinnamon, stevia..surviving to make healthier meals.. Ha Mac and cheese homemade too.. Kids this generation grew up with that… Slowly, changing…

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