Healthy eating does not have to be expensive and can often cost a lot less than eating a conventional American diet, if you think ahead! Here are Dr. Scott and Kristen's tips for eating plant-strong on a shoestring:

  1. A.S.K (Matt. 7:7) Ask God first how He would have you honor Him in this are.

  2. Log In any and all food/drink impulse buys or fast food purchases; add these costs to your monthly food budget as you eliminate these non-essential purchases (see #4).

  3. Remember your “Why” motivation and use it to curtail spending habits for non-essentials (no, you won’t die without them and neither will your children!) like expensive hair-cuts, cable TV add-ons, eating out, trendy name-brand clothing, car and electronic accessories, the latest toy or game craze and more. Get creative and remove any "sacred cows". Reprioritize your health – it’s worth it and so are you!

  4. Plan your monthly budget and your weekly menu in advance and keep track of all purchases, telling your money where you want it to go instead of getting to the end of a month and wondering where it all went.

  5. Calculate all processed food purchases and realize that this, too, can go towards fresh, whole food.

  6. Buy Dry (in bulk) beans over canned. Prepare them by washing then (watch for occasional stones) soaking overnight, rinsing in the morning, and cook in fresh water in a slow cooker for a few hours, draining and freezing them in small batches for later use.

  7. Variety May Not be the Spice of Life! A little repetition at first is helpful and more economical since you can buy in bulk and save time (see #16). Try buying steel-cut oats or preparing a large pot of soup or stew, for example, at the beginning of each week. This saves money and time!

  8. Non-essentials Might Not Make the Cut. Dried fruit, nut butters, tortillas, and even almond milk or pomegranate juice are not necessities - keep the salad, leafy greens and cruciferous veggies the main thing. Add some whole grains and beans and you’re good to go!

  9. Stick to the List. When you are in the store, stick to your grocery list that you created from your weekly menu planning and avoid impulse or craving purchases (see #3).

  10. Flee Temptation by avoiding the center aisles of the stores, loaded with packaged, pre-prepared, and processed foods.

  11. Check out weekly sales ads and stock up on healthy items when they are discounted.

  12. Clip Coupons and choose only the ones you will use. For example, Simply Organic, which makes spices, has coupons on their website (www.simplyorganic.com).

  13. Avoid shopping when you are hungry! Period!

  14. Healthy Eating is Better with a Friend! Get together monthly with a friend and make soups and stews together, splitting the cost. This also can act as a form of accountability and solidarity.

  15. Don’t be a Brand Snob. Consider buying the store or generic brand.

  16. Go Big, buying items like beans, grains, nuts and seeds in bulk. Many stores will offer a discount on bulk purchases. Find creative storage spaces such as under a bed, if necessary (consider purchasing bed risers, if possible, to increase space).

  17. Get Busy when staple items are on sale by cooking in bulk and freezing for later use in soups or stews.

  18. Save for a Rainy Day by freezing, or use leftovers for future meals when you have less time to cook.

  19. Don’t Judge by the Cover. If you don’t know what the product is by the list of ingredients, simply don’t buy it. If an manufacturer has to tell you it's good for you, it probably isn't.

  20. Drink water! All other liquid consumables are non-essential and costly, and many are potentially harmful to your health.

  21. Choose Fresh! Produce should be purchased in season, adjusting ingredients in recipes when possible. If you live in the northeast, for example, that means you don’t buy watermelon in the December and apples in August.

  22. Go Local and shop the farmers market for produce, especially at the end of the day when suppliers often discount their goods for quick sale.

  23. Frozen fruit and vegetables are picked at the peak of freshness and are a good option when on sale.

  24. Grow your Own vegetables or fruits and herbs. Urban farming is gaining popularity, so try container gardening and starting or joining a community garden, if space is an issue.

  25. Take a Break, if you are an adult, and consider fasting one meal weekly. This will help your budget and permit some concentrated time in prayer. It will also help you to detoxify and begin to recognize the difference between toxic hunger signals and true hunger, something most people have never experienced.

  26. Mm, Mm, Good can be said of most soups or stews, which are often easy to prepare and very affordable. One cup of lentils or split peas makes a lot of soup, and bean-based chili or soup, a grain and a large salad are a great way to fill up and can be packed for lunch the next day!

  27. Be Encouraged that, as you spend less of your income on healthcare, supplements or doctors visits, you will have room in your budget for all the food you need and want!
Do you have some suggestions or tips for eating healthy on a budget? CLICK HERE to send us your suggestions so we can share them with others!