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By the author of the FREE online course Growing Self-Sufficiency: The Whole Picture
Moving in a healthier direction often involves eating more fiber and more whole foods. However, did you know that this can also save you a lot of money? In this article, I compare some of the convenience items that many people buy with lower-cost options that are also healthier. By making some small changes in your diet, you can be healthier and save money for prepping for the apocalypse. What’s not to love?
Apple vs. apple juice
While fruit juices seem to be considered healthy, I’m not so sure about that. When it comes right down to it, the human body is mostly water, not apple juice! When you want to have a snack, an apple has a high amount of fiber (over 4 grams) and a low glycemic index. This means that it won’t play havoc with your blood sugar levels, sending you into a slump (like a cinnamon bun would). [LINK]
On the other hand, drink apple juice for a snack, and you’re going to need to, well, eat a real snack. This is because the juice is mainly sugar with no fiber. In fact, just half a pint of fruit juice contains more sugar than is recommended to consume in your entire day. However, because apples tend to place highly on the “dirty dozen” list in terms of pesticide residue, organic apples are recommended whenever possible. When I’m in a nearby city, I pop their local gourmet grocery and scoop organic apples off their discount rack for 50% off or more.
Potato with skin vs. hashbrowns or instant potatoes
Potatoes are an incredibly healthy vegetable to eat. However, a lot of the health benefits are found in the skin. By eating potatoes in ways that use the skin, you make them a lot more healthy. The easiest way I do this is to steam my potatoes. I just wash them, scrubbing them with a clean brush that I wash after using it. Then, I quarter them and put them in my steaming pot. It’s that easy!
After that, if I want to use them for home fries, I can cool them and fry them up with onions. In the winter, I love to serve hot chili on top of my potatoes. In the summer, these make a great cold potato salad.
Most of the savings in eating potatoes come from your own elbow grease. Buy a 10-pound bag and make your own. The savings? Premade hash browns are around 5 to 7 times the price. Buying instant mashed potatoes will cost you a whopping 15 times more by weight.
Make your own cold coffee vs. fast food sugar coffee drinks
When the weather heats up, people here love their cold coffees. What’s the issue with that? Well, it isn’t the coffee, it is the sugar in these premixed-flavored coffees that is the problem. Here’s one example from a popular Canadian chain – A caramel and whipped cream topped “coffee” in a medium size (that’s 16 oz. or two cups) has a whopping total of 54 grams of sugar!!! How much sugar is that? That is over 13 teaspoons of sugar. Yes, imagine buying that coffee plain and putting 13 teaspoons of sugar into it. Yikes!
By comparison, you could cold brew your own coffee at home and add some nice vanilla or other flavorings. Some of these hot coffee flavors might work, too! By making yours at home you’ll save yourself a ton of cash and sugar. Your body will thank you.
Oatmeal vs. any processed cereal
Oatmeal is packed with healthy fiber and is incredibly good for you. And, it costs literally pennies per serving, with regular oats being around 80 cents per pound. By contrast, pretty much any processed cereal I looked at was in the ballpark of around $3.45 per pound. And, these processed cereals are often packed with sugar and hidden preservatives, and other chemicals. While hot oatmeal doesn’t sound very appetizing in the summer for breakfast, there are ways to get around this, like overnight oats. Or, you can cool cooked oats into a loaf and slice it and eat it cold.
Large carrots vs. “baby” or mini carrots
Mommy, where do baby carrots come from? A friend of mine recently told me that the baby carrots in the store are not actually baby carrots. What?!? Apparently, they are made by grinding down large carrots that are damaged and (possibly) couldn’t be sold otherwise. What seems to confirm this is that (at least here in Canada), they are no longer labeled “baby” carrots. They are called mini carrots.
By contrast, when you buy a 3-pound bag of big carrots, what you get is what you see. I can’t make an argument that there is any nutritional difference between these two types of carrots. However, as we have seen in recent years, even bags of washed spinach can contain dangerous bacteria. Every time food is processed in a factory, there is a risk associated with that. By buying good-looking and intact carrots you process yourself, you reduce that risk, and that can be healthier in the long run!
You might ask, what are the savings? Larger carrots are one-third the price of mini carrots. This is comparing a 3-pound bag of large carrots to a three quarters of a pound bag of mini carrots. That would really add up over the years.
Food for thought: saving and getting healthier
Getting back to basics often takes some elbow grease, but it has some other benefits. Could you see yourself trying any of the thrifty tips offered here? Do you have one you can share with us? Please tell us in the comments below.
Colette is passionate about sharing her knowledge of thrifty living and self-sufficiency. She has developed her skills in self-reliance living in the suburbs, the city, and more recently, on her own Half-Acre Homestead. Colette lived five years completely off-grid and without running water in an eight by 24 foot tiny home while designing and building her own 18 by 24-foot eco-cabin. Her website, Half Acre Homestead is attracting followers from around the world who want to become more self-sufficient. Colette invites you to stop by the Homestead and check out all of the great resources including the practical How To Guides, A Tiny Home Resource Center and her organic gardening stories on her blog. She shares her wholistic model (body/mind/spirit) for achieving self-sufficiency in her Free Course, “Growing Self-Sufficiency: The Whole Picture.” Stop by the Homestead today to register free of charge!