It seems to me to be an oxymoron that food with less stuff in it should cost more than the food with tons of ingredients, some of which are chemical, in it.
It’s a sad but true fact. But why?
Well the fillers in the cheaper foods are what is bringing the price down. The processed, packaged foods are fill up with cheap ingredients so there is less actual ‘food’ in them. The more expensive natural foods have been put together with minimal ingredients but there is more nutrition, more of what fills you up and keeps you healthy in them. And that care and attention costs more.
I know the struggle. Since I have a soybean allergy that means all of our foods cannot have this particular ingredient in them (well okay my family can eat soy but since I do most of the cooking our kitchen is soy-free). I quickly discovered that if I stuck to whole foods and making it myself from scratch I could eat a soy free diet without breaking the bank.
For the most part that tends to be true but you can work your way around it to make it affordable.
1. You’ve got to get away from the mixes and pre-made foods. Even when it comes to Real Foods people are still thinking of mixes and packed goods. They just look for better ingredients such as whole wheat or applesauce. But the deal is you’re going to have to figure out how to make much of that stuff for yourself if you want to keep costs down. Whether it’s labeled as natural or gluten free it’s still going to cost you a pretty penny if someone else has to put it together and hermetically seal it in a nice package you just add water to.
2. Cook from your pantry. It is cheaper to cook from your pantry than to go shopping each and every week for the same items. When something goes on sale stock up. Since a real food diet deals a lot with fresh foods a freezer can become your new best friend. I hug mine occasionally.
3. Use your freezer. As I just said use that freezer. You can freeze all manner of fruits and veggies. Peppers, strawberries, blueberries, onions, carrots, celery, the list goes on and on. In the late summer when the harvest is in you can fill your freezer full of fresh goodness. If you only have a refrigerator freezer don’t fear, read my article on Maximizing Small Freezer Space.
4. Shop seasonally. This goes in line with cooking from the pantry and the freezer. When certain things go on deep discount, such as butter and flour during baking times, such as Thanksgiving, stock up (and freeze). When pears go on sale stock up and can or freeze.
5. Become more domestic. Again this ties into the steps above. Learn to make more foods from scratch. The less dependent you become upon packaged goods, even “healthy” ones, the more you will save. Instead of buying expensive chicken stock the next time you buy chicken use the bones to make a healthier chicken stock. Instead of buying bread, make it. The list goes on and even includes things like mayonnaise and ketchup.