Six Ways to Save Money on Healthy Meals

Thursday, February 19, 2009 by: Laura Weldon
Tags: health food, health news, Natural News

eTrust Pro Certified

Delicious Pin It
(NaturalNews) Concerned about sacrificing your healthy diet to today's difficult economy? According to the International Herald Tribune, "The Department of Agriculture forecasts that food prices will jump by 4 percent or 5 percent in 2009, compared with 5.5 percent this year. Some predict much steeper increases." This is the largest increase in food prices in over 15 years. But there are changes you can make to your daily and weekly routine that will help you develop a reasonable food budget. Advance planning and networking with others can result in bountiful rewards for your taste buds, your wallet and your commitment to sustainable meals.

Try these six tactics.

1. Eat at home.

*A recent issue of Progressive Grocer reported that meals consumed at home cost about a third of those purchased away from home. That choice alone saves $66 of every $100 in the food budget.
*An analysis presented at the Southwest Human Development Services showed that when in-home meals are made without convenience foods the savings are even greater. More importantly, the nutritional value of meals made from scratch is higher than those made from prepared foods or mixes. The difference extends to fresh ingredients as well. The report noted, "...bagged salads keep growing in popularity even though they cost nearly 5 times as much as buying and washing your own head of lettuce...Compare the volume in the bag that is edible to what you get in one head of lettuce, you are left with a price difference of about $1.50 but about three times more edible lettuce from the head of lettuce."
*Eating at home allows you to be more innovative in food selection than in any restaurant. You can eat beans, tomatoes, avocado and salsa for breakfast if you choose.
*Learn the time-honored methods of frugality your grandmother may have used. For example---advance meal planning; creative use of left-overs (one day's entree served over a salad the next day); using pricier food items as garnish rather than main focus of a meal; using healthy staple foods in a variety of ways; making home made sauces, drinks and cereals. And chances are grandma's generation ate well-balanced meals while conversing at the table, never standing up at the kitchen counter or while listening to media chatter.

2. Take it with you.

*Pack your lunch. Surveys indicate that two out of three employees pack a lunch at least once a week. The main motivation is to save money. Nutrition gets a boost too, because packed lunches generally have fewer calories and smaller portions.
* offers a Lunch Savings Calculator at
Plug in numbers for how often you plan to replace lunch out with a brown bag meal, finding out what your savings will be in a few years. The example given at the site shows that replacing lunch out during the workweek for four years results in savings of nearly $4,000.
*Always have healthy snacks available. Avoid single serving packages and convenience snack foods, even the healthiest versions are expensive. Instead, pack your own in reusable bags and containers. Keep a bag of almonds in your backpack, a jar of pumpkin seeds in your car, some granola in your briefcase. This helps avoid impulse buys when you, your children or companions are hungry.
*Don't leave the house without something to drink in a reusable container. It takes a few moments to fill it with water, juice or a quickly blended smoothie.

3. Share the cooking

*Create a lunch club with co-workers. This is an excellent antidote when boredom or time considerations make packing a daily lunch difficult. Two, three or more colleagues can take turns bringing homemade lunches for the others. This saves time several days a week for everyone.
*Set up a potluck group with friends or neighbors. Get together on a regular basis either at one another's homes or at the local park. This is a great way to try new foods, exchange leftovers and enjoy companionable dining without the expense of a restaurant meal.
*Create a cooking night cooperative, such a co-op. It allows people to swap chef duties in exchange for upcoming "catered" meals. For example, if four couples set up a cooking night cooperative for Tuesdays, each couple takes one Tuesday in the month to cook and deliver a meal to the other three couples on "their" night. On the other three Tuesdays a homemade meal is delivered to them as each couple takes a turn.

4. Buy wisely.

* According to a report titled "Food Without Thought" produced by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, U.S. consumers spend more than half of every food dollar on ready-to-eat food items. Most of these prepared foods are high in sugars, fats and additives. Processed foods, including frozen and baked goods, claim over 40% of total supermarket sales while fresh fruits and vegetables represent 9%.
*Pay attention to regular prices so you can gauge the validity of "sale" prices. Buy when on sale. If product must be used soon, make double batches of recipes to freeze or share.
*Buy in bulk for savings if necessary, splitting items with friends and family. Store food safely. Glass jars with tightly fitting screw top lids provide excellent storage for grains, beans, seeds, spices and teas.

5. Eat seasonally

*The "Food Without Thought" report indicates that U.S. farm policy has skewed pricing of foodstuffs in a profoundly unhealthy direction. It states, "...the real cost of fresh fruits and vegetables has risen nearly 40 percent in the past 20 years. The real costs of soda pop, sweets and fats and oils, on the other hand, have gone down."
*Purchase locally grown produce items in season. Learn to can or freeze them for out-of-season use, if you choose. A Saturday spent with friends or family to pick apples, make applesauce and "put up" the results in canning jars can be a memorable yearly tradition.
*Grow your own. Even a small yard can produce a substantial produce yield. Urbanites can choose community gardens, container gardens on windowsills and balconies, plus growing sprouts and herbs indoors.
*Connect with area producers. Patronize farmers markets, join a CSA, visit local farm stands. Along with the fresh food purchased you'll also gain invaluable insight about the people who tend the land and the meaning of locally raised products.

6. Join or start a food-buying club.

*These cooperatives can be formed with fewer than a dozen people interested in purchasing food directly from distributors. Many operate using simple guidelines to share the work of sending in orders, unloading the truck at delivery time and splitting bulk food without any need for a central location or regular meetings. Lower prices on such items as Fair Trade coffee, vitamins and healthy foods make the effort worthwhile.
*Check with individual distributors for sign-up details. Also check to see if the distributor delivers in your area, provides a listing of existing buying clubs and has a minimum order amount.

Sometimes a difficult economy causes us to rely more on ingenuity, thrift and community-building interdependence. We learn to pay close attention to what really matters in our lives.


Food Without Thought

International Herald Tribune

Cost and Nutrition Analysis: Convenience vs. Homemade Foods

Progressive Grocer

About the author

Laura Weldon lives on an organic farm and believes in bliss. Learn more about her book "Free Range Learning" by visiting at

Get breaking news alerts on GMOs, fluoride, superfoods, natural cures and more...
Join over four million monthly readers. Email privacy 100% protected. Unsubscribe at any time.

Have comments on this article? Post them here:

comments powered by Disqus

Take Action: Support

Email this article to a friend

Permalink to this article:

Reprinting this article: Non-commercial use OK, cite with clickable link.

Embed article link: (copy HTML code below):
Most Popular
Today | Week | Month | Year

See all Top Headlines...


Now Available at

O3 Essentials OraJuvenate™
A powerful, cleansing dental cream for maximum oral/dental health.
New Cancer Solutions
Over 3 hours of content covering today’s best cancer tests, how to kill cancer cells and the best diets and exercise routines.
Freeze-Dried 100% Organic Whole Corn
Our freeze-drying method preserves taste, texture and nutrients better than any other food preservation method ever invented.
Fenix TK35 Flashlight
Tough, waterproof, extremely bright and it’s touted to throw an 800+ lumen beam more than 1,000 feet into the night.
Inca Treasure Smoothie Pack
This pack of our four most popular superfoods from South America is the perfect combo pack for smoothie lovers.
Pink Himalayan Salt
This salt delivers significant levels of magnesium, zinc and selenium, with trace levels of dozens of other elements.
Pinhole Glasses - Aviator Style
Pinhole glasses are becoming famous for helping people improve their vision without the risks of laser surgery.
Oxy-Rich Facial Serum
O3 Essentials Jojoba Oxy-Rich Facial Serum is cellular nourishment for your skin. Helps smooth fine lines while enhancing tissue elasticity.
Freeze-Dried 100% Blackberry Halves
Our freeze-dried blackberry halves are grown in Serbia under strict organic standards.

Also on NaturalNews:

Health Ranger Videos
Activist music
CounterThink Cartoons
Food documentaries
FREE Special Reports
Colloidal Silver

Advertise with NaturalNews...

Support NaturalNews Sponsors:

Advertise with NaturalNews...

Most Popular Stories

Flu shot kills 19-year-old, but vaccine industry still has total immunity against lawsuits
Here's a nutty fact: Eating more tree nuts lowers the risk of all-cause death by up to 20 percent
Six important facts you're not being told about lost Malaysia Airlines Flight 370
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 now clearly a government cover-up: All evidence contradicts official story
10 other companies that use the same Subway yoga mat chemical in their buns
BLM fracking racket exposed! Armed siege and cattle theft from Bundy ranch really about fracking leases
High-dose vitamin C injections shown to annihilate cancer
U.S. treating meat with ammonia, bleach and antibiotics to kill the '24-hour sickness'
USDA to allow U.S. to be overrun with contaminated chicken from China
Vaccine fraud exposed: Measles and mumps making a huge comeback because vaccines are designed to fail, say Merck virologists
Battle for humanity nearly lost: global food supply deliberately engineered to end life, not nourish it
Diet soda, aspartame linked to premature deaths in women

25 Amazing Facts About Food

This FREE downloadable report unveils a collection of astonishing and little-known facts about the food we eat very day. Click here to read it now...


Resveratrol and its Effects on Human Health and Longevity - Myth or Miracle.

Unlock the secrets of cellular health with the "miracle" nutrient Resveratrol Click here to read it now...


Nutrition Can Save America

FREE online report shows how we can save America through a nutrition health care revolution. "Eating healthy is patriotic!" Click here to read it now...

The Healing Power of Sunlight and Vitamin D

In this exclusive interview, Dr. Michael Holick reveals fascinating facts on how vitamin D is created and used in the human body to ward off chronic diseases like cancer, osteoporosis, mental disorders and more. Click here to read it now...

Vaccines: Get the Full Story

The International Medical Council on Vaccination has released, exclusively through, a groundbreaking document containing the signatures of physicians, brain surgeons and professors, all of which have signed on to a document stating that vaccines pose a significant risk of harm to the health of children. Click here to read it now...

Health Ranger Storable Organics

GMO-free, chemical-free foods and superfoods for long-term storage and preparedness. See selection at

Recommended Resources On:

Natural News trends
Health Ranger news
Natural News GMOs
Mike Adams tracker
Natural News photos
Natural News Global
Natural News in focus
Natural News connect
Natural News shocking stories
Natural News radar
Health freedom
Dr. Paul Offit

This site is part of the Natural News Network © 2014 All Rights Reserved. Privacy | Terms All content posted on this site is commentary or opinion and is protected under Free Speech. Truth Publishing International, LTD. is not responsible for content written by contributing authors. The information on this site is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional advice of any kind. Truth Publishing assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of this material. Your use of this website indicates your agreement to these terms and those published here. All trademarks, registered trademarks and servicemarks mentioned on this site are the property of their respective owners.

eTrust Pro Certified Android app on Google Play

Sign up for the FREE Natural News Email Newsletter

Receive breaking news on GMOs, vaccines, fluoride, radiation protection, natural cures, food safety alerts and interviews with the world's top experts on natural health and more.

Join over 7 million monthly readers of, the internet's No. 1 natural health news site. (Source:

Your email address *

Please enter the code you see above*

No Thanks

Already have it and love it!

Natural News supports and helps fund these organizations:

* Required. Once you click submit, we will send you an email asking you to confirm your free registration. Your privacy is assured and your information is kept confidential. You may unsubscribe at anytime.