So I'm going to have to transfer to another computer (which thankfully we have due to the nature of my husband's work). In the mean time, I'll work off my phone pics. Sorry for the poor quality, but I just can't stand not blogging any longer! The withdrawal is really starting to hit me.
So recently I've noticed a resurgence in interest in eating on a budget, but healthier. As a self-employed family of 6, we understand this acutely. We're fortunate to have our local farm as a fabulous resources for deep organic local produce, and quite a few farmer's markets nearby during the local growing season. But if you don't have those options, or if that is out of your budget, there are ways to work healthy produce into your budget regardless.
First of all, as pictured above, many stores have a "seconds" produce section. It might be small, it might be hidden in the back of store (after all, they'd rather you bought the "perfect" produce and spend more money), or they may have a program to donate food to shelters and soup kitchens instead (so you may have to ask if they have any extra food at reduced prices available to the public). But if you don't see something like this, it might be worth asking. I will buy a dozen mangos or bell peppers or whatever, and cut and freeze them myself and save a ton of money.
If none of your local markets have this arrangement, then look to the frozen foods section. Frozen food is the next best thing to fresh raw foods, because it's been picked and processed quickly, and usually only lightly cooked if at all. I like bagged frozen fruits for smoothies, and chopped frozen veggies for soups, chilis, casseroles, etc. And best of all, the frozen produce was likely picked when that food was in season to save money, and that savings is passed on to you. It is far cheaper for me to buy a pack of frozen multi-coloured bell pepper strips than it usually is to buy 3 fresh peppers. So if you don't need them raw, frozen is the way to go. Avoid canned foods where possibly...nutritionally they are at the bottom, and the BPA lining in most cans has many people suspicious too.
I prefer to buy organic produce for many items, but even if you buy only conventional produce or frozen fruits & veggies, your health will be miles better than if you limited those foods because they were out of your budget.
Try creating meals based around whatever vegetable you could get cheaply. Add a whole grain or starchy vegetable like potato or corn on the side. Some nuts or beans round out the meal. I often save fruits for between meal snacks so the kids don't fill themselves up on it at mealtime.
Whether you have a family or not, exercise is essential to good health. But exercise can be expensive in our modern society: gym memberships, sports equipment, shuttling kids to multiple activities each day, camp and extracurricular activity fees, etc.
During the past year we let our YMCA membership lapse, and we opted not to sign the kids up for any extra activities during the school year. We allowed them one summer activity, which this year turned out to be the public school's summer program. I was nervous having them ride the bus to a school that none of us had ever seen, but their experiences these past weeks have been fantastic. They are home shortly after noon each day.
Ryan chose to take karate, treasure mapping, & games 'R us. AJ decided on gymnastics, Legos, & books. The class sizes are surprisingly small for a public school program, and it allows the younger two kids at home a bit more attention on the weekday mornings.
to do on
hiking on conservation land, campouts in tents, & water spray battles in the backyard. And if we really want to parttake in an educational experience like a museum or nature exhibit, the library usually has free passes available that need only be reserved ahead of time.
So tell me (if I have any readers left!)...what are your favourite free family activities where you are?