Eating on a budget

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Aphritha
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Eating on a budget

Postby Aphritha » 29 Jun 2012, 23:50

Does anyone have any suggestions for healthy and natural eating on a budget? I know what's good for me, and what I should be eating...but I'm not sure how to go about doing it in ways I can actually afford! My family consists of three people, myself(vegan), my husband, and my son(lactose intollerant for the most part). We've got a budget of around $200 a month for food, not including treats here and there. I cook vegan style when I make a meal, so as everyone can eat it. Does anyone have any suggestions on versatile staples that go a long way or healthy(and cheap) recipes? I don't mind putting effort into the preparation! Time I've got, money I don't! :grin:


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Re: Eating on a budget

Postby Aynfean » 30 Jun 2012, 00:38

Hmm I'm no expert on vegan I'm sorry. I too have a budget of about $200 a month for groceries for my daughter and I. It can work.

My only suggestions for you though would be stuff you unfortunately probably know:
1) the freezer is your friend - make a big meal and freeze for later. Often it's not too hard to stretch a meal to 6 servings and save for a "rainy" day.
2) love your bulk food section - 80% of my dry food staples come from there although you do have to watch it's not always a deal
3) grow your own - I have a small container garden and even that lil bit helps, especially herbs and tomatoes

Sorry if that's not all that revolutionary. I too will be watching this thread for some suggestions, and I'll put a bit more thought into it this evening and see if I can't think of some trick that has at this moment slipped my mind.

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Re: Eating on a budget

Postby DJ Droood » 30 Jun 2012, 01:43

Rice, beans, local greens and fruit.
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Re: Eating on a budget

Postby Aphritha » 30 Jun 2012, 03:41

I've started my own garden this year...its coming up really well, but nothing's quite ready to use yet. But it will be! :D As for buying in bulk, do you think it would be worth purchasing a membership to Sam's Club(kinda like a department store, Wal-Mart specifically, but everything is in bulk, and cheaper)?
Also, as far as the garden goes, I've considered canning what we can't use immediantly. Never canned before, and I've got no clue what I'm doing, but I guess I'll figure it out along the way!


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Re: Eating on a budget

Postby Aynfean » 30 Jun 2012, 03:58

Canning is awesome, and a great idea!

When I say in bulk I mean actual grocery stores, the bulk food section. We don't buy anything processed, so I buy a lot of flour, baking soda, yeast, etc. All that kind of thing, even rice and beans and herbs are cheaper in the bulk bins.

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Re: Eating on a budget

Postby Astrid » 30 Jun 2012, 13:04

As a vegan beans are you friend when it comes to the budget

If you are not to fond of them or if the little one is not i can recommend making them into a sauce. You basically take a can ´of beans wash them clean and then blend them with water, vegetable stock and ca. a table spoon flour and then boil it till you get the consistency you want.

Also frozen veggies are a good nutrition option for vegans - so for example buy frozen spinache and mix it in your rice and and mashed potatoes - you dont really taste them at all but it is a good source of iron and so forth

I dont really know the vegetable prices in the states but if they are reasonable then stir fry is an amazing option - you can vary it endlessly and healthy as hell

Finally, and again I dont know state prizes but here in europe Bread is one of the things that is marked up the most compared to when you make it yourself(some is marked up 10 times from the production cost). So if you really have the time bake your own bread.

Oh and spices are your friend! I generally do much the same 4-5 dishes but i have a well stocked spice rack so i can vary it without spending a lot of money.
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Re: Eating on a budget

Postby Aphritha » 30 Jun 2012, 15:57

Thank you for the ideas! It all helps greatly.
I lucked out and my son is an odd boy...he loves beans! Though I may still try the sauce idea for some variety!
Baking bread is something I would like to try again. I did so when my son was an infant...it tastes so much better! The price of bread here is around $2.00 minimum for a store brand loaf, and alot of the ingredients in it make me cringe. I lost my best recipe, but I'm sure finding a new one shouldn't be too hard. :)


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Re: Eating on a budget

Postby Aynfean » 30 Jun 2012, 17:02

I have a couple recipes I adore although I have no idea if they're vegan or not.

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Re: Eating on a budget

Postby DJ Droood » 30 Jun 2012, 17:46

I have a couple recipes I adore although I have no idea if they're vegan or not.
Do they contain animal products, such as egg, cheese, butter or milk? If not, or if non-animal product substitutions can be made, they are vegan.
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Re: Eating on a budget

Postby Elhonna » 30 Jun 2012, 19:26

Although we are "only" vegetarian, we also have to deal woth a small budget most of the time !

I suggest you to try what I call a "chili con carne without carne" :grin: . It's a bit hot now to test it, but it's lovely for cold evenings. It's a very simple recipe, but long to cook.
Use canned red beans, corn and tomatoes (if you don't have fresh ones just use canned ones again), and a lot of garlic and onions. Fry garlic and onions in olive oil, add the tomatoes, corn and beans and let it stew for at least one hour. A quarter before the end, add chili special spices (sweet chili, cinamon, cumin, paprika, ginger, and clove) and cocoa. When it's done, eat it in tortillas whit a salad leaf.
It's very good reheated too ! So you can prepare a lot of it and freeze it.
If you need more details just write me.
Sorry for my english, I've never writen an english recipe before...

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Re: Eating on a budget

Postby Cosmic Ash » 30 Jun 2012, 21:27

Again, more of a winter recipe, but a big pot of lentil soup can last two days. I just cut up an onion and a carrot, fry in a little oil, then add some lentils and some vegetable stock and boil up until done. Then I use one of those hand blenders to chop it up small, but if you don't have a blender it works fine 'rustic style'.
I used to have a good recipe for vegetable 'meat' loaf that could be turned into burgers the next day, but I lost it in one of the house moves.
Talking of burgers, I make some from either kidney beans or chick peas, but you could use any beans. I mush them in a blender, but in my pre-blender days I mashed them with a fork - they are just bigger bits that way. You can bulk them up with breadcrumbs. You can add finely chopped onion, or garlic, or whatever herbs or spices you have, or tomato puree, to vary the flavour. They can be fried or grilled.

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Re: Eating on a budget

Postby Art » 01 Jul 2012, 02:27

Rice, beans, local greens and fruit.
I completely agree. Many a person has existed quite well on beans and rice plus a bunch of greens. You might also consider wild foods. With very little effort you can gather a lot of edible greens without leaving the yard.
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Re: Eating on a budget

Postby Aphritha » 01 Jul 2012, 03:50

The recipes sound delicious! I am going to try them out ASAP. I do have a weakness for chili....
As for the edible greens. An idea I am completely willing to try...but what in the yard should I be eating?


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Re: Eating on a budget

Postby DJ Droood » 01 Jul 2012, 04:19

The recipes sound delicious! I am going to try them out ASAP. I do have a weakness for chili....
As for the edible greens. An idea I am completely willing to try...but what in the yard should I be eating?
How about dandelions?

http://southernfood.about.com/od/collar ... 30319f.htm

Just make sure they haven't been sprayed with poison.
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Re: Eating on a budget

Postby Aphritha » 01 Jul 2012, 05:24

I totally saved that...now I won't feel so much guilt when I weed them out of the garden! They won't go to waste! I've always liked dandilions...little yellow flowers are so cheerful!


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Re: Eating on a budget

Postby Whitemane » 02 Jul 2012, 21:08

Pasta and rice too. If you bake, you can make your own pasta, and it's wonderful.
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Re: Eating on a budget

Postby StoneDragon » 10 Sep 2012, 00:07

If you have a crock pot (slow cooker, some call them) they are useful for cooking soups and beans. Takes a lot longer (I know, A LOT), but on a day off cooks dinner without heating up the house much.
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Re: Eating on a budget

Postby oaktree » 16 Sep 2012, 20:23

Beans are extremely versatile. I love bean curry. A large can of mixed beans, washed, add spices you like, a couple of peppers, and hey presto!

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Re: Eating on a budget

Postby Moonleaf » 08 Mar 2013, 09:34

Just a few quick ideas:

My wife makes a vegan spelt bread and it comes out pretty solid and heavy. It takes 10 mins to make and then in the oven. Lasts for quite a while as is filling. Although not cheap; buying nuts in bulk can last a long time and certainly fills you up if you have a handful for breakfast as does porridge. The saving being made in that you are less hungry during the day.

What we found helped was in having smaller meals as the day draws on...a good breakfast (which is usually cheap), something nutritious for lunch and something light for dinner/evening meal. If you have allotments close by summer time is a great time to buy things cheaply and organically as people often produce way too much. Also drink plenty of water as the brain can mix up thirst with hunger and you can end up eating when in fact you are thirsty.

Another thought: I have practised Qigong and Tai Chi for over twenty years and when I practise for 20 mins a day I find I need to eat less. The body gathers in energy through the exercise, improved breathing and blood flow. This helps the cells to perform their task better and means they require less energy from food. Also living a sedate life and not worrying/being anxious helps save energy as we burn it through the brain a lot.

Just some other angles!

Heath

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if you don't know Tai Chi or Qigong

Postby Moonleaf » 08 Mar 2013, 09:51

Meant to say...

If you haven't practised Tai Chi / Qigong then these exercises will help a great deal:

1) form a loose fist with your right hand and use it to lightly slap your shoulder and down the outside of the arm to the fingers of the left hand. So you are hitting the arm with the curled fingers and not the knuckles...and you are looking to get a bouncing effect, not making your arm sore! You could use an open hand and hit with the thumb muscle. As you go down the arm breathe out and when you come back up the inside of the arm breathe in - do this about nine times and swap sides. If you like you can do the same with the legs and sides of the body.

2) Rub the palms of your hands together until they are warm and wash your face with them quite rigorously...this stimulates blood flow to the face (which helps tissue repair and keep you looking young), massages tired muscles and removes dead skin...making you look sooooo fresh (ignore my photo lol). This is a real energy booster when we feel tired and is great to do if you go running and need a quick energy fix. With the tips of your fingers, pummel your scalp from front to back enough so it hurts a little but not too much. Also if you place your thumbs on each temple and use the side of the forefinger...rub from the centre of your head to your thumbs at different heights and basically use bent fingers, finger tips to massage/revitalise around your eyes (carefully and gently), nose and mouth.

These exercises all stimulate blood flow, ease tension and improve energy. And the good thing is they cost nothing, take a matter of minutes to do and you'll quickly feel the benefits.

Finally, if you can find ten minutes a day to sit with a cup of tea (or coffee) and do nothing until that tea is finished. Gradually, thoughts will subside if you keep to a daily practice and you find your worries and anxieties start to ease - when this happens we 'leak' energy less. This is great for people who struggle to meditate and in my view is better than meditation for we can often feel like we have to achieve a certain serenity where as holding a drink and absent mindedly looking at life out of the window is quite powerful. Make sure, you do nothing else...so I don't mean sit there watching tv with a cuppa. Feel the heat of that cup in your hands and forget the world for ten minutes.

If you can do that at the same time every day you get an added benefit: the body learns to expect that period of relaxation at that regular time so it prepares for it beforehand. In this way, we begin to relax at a deeply conscious and physiological level even before we sit with our drink and consequently the quality of that relaxation grows far greater than if we do it at irregular times. It also lasts longer. It is as though the body and mind looks forward to the break and it gets into that 'zone' and stays there longer. So over a short period of time, you may be sitting for ten minutes but actually getting half an hour's benefit...the art of doing without doing.

Love and best wishes,

Heath


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