Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Eating Healthy on a Budget

It can be done, folks, and I've been working hard this summer to prove it to you. But before I get started, let me say that I know it's superficially less expensive to eat unhealthily. My brother summed that up the other day when he was complaining about the way my mom grocery shops: "I don't get it. Mom goes to the grocery store and spends like 200 bucks and we have nothing here to eat. She just buys, like, ingredients. I need hot pockets." 

Several things to discuss there -- firstly, no, he doesn't need hot pockets. Secondly, we're going to have to work on his concept of grocery shopping before he goes to college in the fall. But third is something that I think resonates with grocery shoppers everywhere, which is this idea that ingredients   aren't prepared meals and so aren't as useful as, say, boxed macaroni and cheese. 

What I've discovered living on my own this summer is that this is a misconception. I've started buying almost exclusively ingredients and combining them randomly and coming up with some really good meals. I'm not a chef and I don't devote hours to creating delicacies, but I've been doing pretty well. The first step is making a list and sticking to it in the grocery store. Here's mine.

And I don't throw this list out after I finish my grocery shopping. These are staples that I try to keep in my kitchen so I take this with me every time. My biggest tip to grocery shopping -- especially if you're shopping for one -- is to find out your favorite fruits and vegetables and keep them around. Add them to as many meals as you can. And, in defense of the "frozen dinners" note -- I get EVOL meals which are delicious and healthy and max out around 400 calories. 

And this is what that grocery list looks like laid out on my living room floor:

(Pro tip: if you're going to arrange your newly purchased food for an aesthetically pleasing picture, make sure you're home alone. My roommate walked in as I was adjusting one of the evol boxes and just slowly backed out of the room). 

And the best part of those groceries: altogether they cost less than $50 and they'll last me around two weeks. That's less than $4 a day. So to the skeptics: it can be done. And while it can be done in an unhealthy way too, this is far less expensive to your body, which raises the value immeasurably. 

I wish I could end with a picture of the look of betrayal on my brother's face when I showed him my grocery photo. He said, "God, you're just like her." And I said, "I sure hope so."

Stay tuned for some ~recipes~ using the above ingredients. (By recipes, I mean photos of me throwing all that stuff in a pot. It's pretty good). Till next time, dear readers.