Whole Foods on a Budget
If you have a large family, it’s probably most cost effective to buy your meat directly from a rancher or farmer. If this isn’t an option for you, grass-fed beef options are increasingly becoming more available at supermarkets and stores like Costco, Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. Grass-fed ground beef typically runs around $6 a pound. Living on the West Coast I belong to a food delivery service called Full Circle Farms that have grass-fed beef and organic produce.
Buying in bulk and on sale, then freezing your foods is the most effective way to shop on a budget! You can pick up a used freezer easily for very little and store it in your garage. Of course buying from stores like Costco or Sam’s Club give you greater savings. I live in a small community and the drive to the closest Costco is 4.5 hours away. So we freeze breads, veggies even sundries such as flours, grains and nuts.
When you see sales on food items that you know your family will need, stock up on them. You’ll have to devote some extra storage space for dry goods. Some items can be found at cheaper prices online. Search for good deals on items such as almond flour, nuts and grains in addition to commonly used grocery items. (If you live in a warmer climate, you will want to store foods like this in a refrigerator or freezer instead of the pantry, as they can attract bugs if not used timely.) An Amazon Prime account is a worthwhile investment for the time you will save in running around to various stores. If you set up a Subscribe & Save account, you can save up to 15 percent on grocery items.
When buying food in bulk, it’s really important to keep yourself organized to make meal preparation simple and to reduce waste. No one wants to find spoiled food in the produce bin or sitting forgotten in the pantry.
Keeping Things Simple
If you’re taking the time and effort to make a great meal from scratch, why not maximize your time and double or even triple the recipe and freeze portions for meals later? You’ll appreciate it on busy days when you don’t have the time to cook.
Stick to Instant pot, crockpot and one-pot skillet meals. It minimizes after dinner clean up. Develop a list of favorites that your family likes and have the ingredients on hand at all times. No matter what unexpected turns the week takes, you’ll always be able to put a few things in the crockpot and have a nourishing, warm dinner later in the day when you come home. Invest in a few worthwhile kitchen tools. One of the most important is a food processor. It will save you a lot of prep time by quickly chopping, shredding, dicing up vegetables. As you can imagine, this is much faster than you standing over a cutting board, knife in hand. Other kitchen items worth considering are an Instant pot, high speed blender, large soup pot, skillets, sauce pans, a set of good knives and a veggie spiralizer.
Believe it or not, one of the biggest things you will want to do when transitioning into a whole foods diet is learn to minimize your stress. For many people, stress is a trigger to eat, and usually that means eating whatever you can get your hands on first (in other words, processed foods). Once this happens, it usually causes guilt which causes more stress and the cycle continues.
An easy way to avoid this is to clean out your cupboards and pantry and fill it with new products to grab that are healthy. Remember, planning is essential for your success, and just a few hours a week can keep you following the whole foods path with very little effort.
There are other things that can set off stress triggers as well. For example, if you are not sleeping well then you are more likely to be stressed. If you are sleeping any less than 8 hours you might find yourself edgy and irritable, which can affect your relationships and lead to guilt because of the hurt feelings your irritability has caused, which can trigger the stress cycle. Don’t be afraid to rest when you need to. Your body is working under less than ideal circumstances as you transition, so it will get tired faster and need longer rest periods. Even though life is busy, try not to fight this. Part of this process is learning to listen to your body and give it what it needs.
For many people following whole foods, their sleeping habits don’t improve until the detox stage is over. Still, if you suffer from poor sleep it is good to recognize that it might take a few weeks to resolve this. You might want to batch cook some whole food sweet treats and look into meals that you can freeze. These types of preparations will ease your stress during the week and give you more time to relax.
Another side effect of stress is sugar and caffeine cravings. While these cravings are likely to come up as you transition to whole foods, they will really ramp up when you are feeling the effects of stress. It may be a good idea to do some online research on ways to combat sugar and caffeine withdraw. For instance, some people have started making healthy green smoothies to successfully combat their coffee cravings.
More than anything, be proud of yourself! You are taking on a journey that not many have the courage to take. Clean eating seems simple in theory but there’s much more involved to put it into action. By preparing yourself for what is to come, it means that you have already started your journey.
To Your Success!