In this installation of the Real Food on a Budget series, we’re going to talk about how to get the most nutrient dense foods for your family for the least amount of money.
In addition to some of the things you can do to save money on groceries you’re already buying, you can also make sure the foods you’re buying have the high nutritional value possible.
Check out the table of contents at the end of this post to see the rest of the posts in this series.
Most Nutrient Dense Food for Your Money
Choose cheaper proteins
When it comes to feeding your family nutrient-rich food, you don’t have to serve filet mignon or salmon for protein every day.
Instead, base your meals around cheaper sources of protein. Some examples include:
- Whole (or pieces) bone-in chicken
- Roasts or ground beef or pork
Buying in bulk and learning how to cook cheaper cuts can also help you save money on the meat.
Use whole grains
Whole grains and whole grain flours contain more of their natural nutrition because they aren’t refined to strip they of pretty much everything else.
Because they haven’t been processed to turn them into white flour, they are also a lot closer to their original natural state.
Switching out white flour and using wheat flour can be an easy swap that leads to a healthier kitchen!
Use less processed fats
By using fats and cooking oils that are closer to their natural state, you can benefit from more of their nutritional benefits since they won’t be lost in processing. Check out my post for more information on processed or hydrogenated oils and how they can affect our bodies.
My favorite minimally processed cooking fats are:
- Bacon grease
- Olive Oil
- Coconut Oil
Buy fresh or frozen produce instead of canned
When you buy pre-cooked fruits or vegetables, they’ve already lost a majority of their nutrition during the cooking process.
One way you can get around this is to buy fresh or frozen produce and cook it yourself. You’ll still lose some nutrients, but you’ll still have more than if you were to eat produce that’s been processed quite a bit before reaching you.
Frozen produce tends to be pretty affordable and freezing helps lock in the nutrients so you can have the most nutrient dense food for your money.
You can also freeze your own produce (store-bought or garden-grown) to eat when it’s not in season.
Stretch the food you have
When you want to get as many nutritious meals as possible out of the ingredients you’re buying, it can be helpful to have ways to use up every part of what you buy.
For example, if you roast a chicken, you can make bone broth out of the bones and turn the leftovers into soup for another meal or two.
You can also cook or prep meat or vegetables for multiple meals at once. Then, if you have a plan for what you’ll make with them, you’re more likely to use them up before they go bad.
Cook from scratch
The last way to save money on nutrient dense food is to cook from scratch.
By cooking from scratch, you can often make the same food as you would buy, but with less processing. This helps to preserve more of the nutrients and you don’t have to worry about weird food additives hiding in your bread or spaghetti sauce.
If you’re used to buying pre-made food and are daunted at the thought of cooking something yourself, check out my post on how to simplify your kitchen to make cooking easier.
Check out my Real Food on a Budget series:
- How to Afford Healthy Food on a Budget
- How to Save Money on Grass-fed Organic Meat
- Where to Find Affordable Organic Produce
- How to Get the Most Nutrient Dense Foods for Your Money (you’re here!)
- Where to Buy Natural and Organic Products on a Budget
- How to Build a Grocery Stockpile on a Budget
- Super Simple Tips for Packing Lunches (So You Can Save Money)