|A relatively healthy, abundant grocery haul that cost less than $25|
|Family Dollar Haul: Raisins, oats, almonds, lentils, navy beanbrown rice|
Coincidentally, Melody and I purchased our items from Dollar Tree dollar stores. Realizing that not everyone actually has access to Dollar Tree stores – and wanting to prove a point about being able to eat healthier within a budget regardless of where you live – I decided to shop at another discount chain called Family Dollar. [Frugalistas take note, they occasionally offer coupons] Unlike Dollar Tree, prices vary in this store but they are generally cheaper than average – and I was surprised to find that many items were actually cheaper than at Dollar Tree. Canned veggies, for example, cost under $1, while other items, like oat and tortilla chips [my weakness, with salsa] cost a bit more than $1.
|Tomato sauce [Spoiler alert: SO good!], salsa, diced tomatoes, japapeños, Italian seasoning|
|Yes you CAN eat better on a budget: Black beans x 2, corn, carrots, and 'shrooms (x2)|
- Whether you shop at Dollar Tree, Family Dollar, Whole Foods or online, you need to know your prices. Take note of the per pound or per unit price of items you usually buy. Empower yourself with knowledge.
- You may need to shop at several different stores to get the best price. This does not mean you need to run all over town to buy groceries. But try working various stores into your usual errand routes so save money and time.
- Buy in bulk, within reason. When you see a great deal, snag it. And store it, keeping in mind your own storage situation. We don't want to turn into hoarders, so buy only what you will use up in a few months.
- Some items purchased at discount stores taste as good as, or better than, those purchased at overpriced health food stores [Watch for specifics on upcoming posts. But – SPOILER ALERT, I am loving Family Dollar Tomato Sauce]
- Reading labels is more important than ever. As optimistic as this challenge may appear, finding healthy dollar store foods is like looking for a needle in a haystack [hence the name "challenge"]. More than 90% of the food in discount stores is just plain nasty. Frankenfoods. Read labels and don't put crap in your body, regardless of your budget. Everyone deserves whole foods.
Here's what I bought. Keep in mind, it's not Whole Foods, so try not to be too critical, understanding that not everyone has access to fancy-pants markets. I'll share how I use these items in some upcoming posts, in combination with fresh vegetables and pantry staples.
- 1 container Quick Oats
- 1 small box raisins
- 1 bag brown rice
- 1 bag slices almonds
- 1 bag dried lentils
- 1 bag dried navy beans
- 1 can Family Dollar tomato sauce
- 1 jar salsa
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 1 small container Italian seasoning
- 1 small can hot chiles [jalapeños]
- 2 cans black beans
- 1 can corn
- 1 can sliced carrots
- 2 small cans mushrooms
- 1 can sauerkraut
- 1 bag nachos
- 1 can spinach
- 1 bag gingersnaps
|I'm happier if I enjoy occasional treats like these in moderation.|
Healthy? Not exactly. But they are vegan and made from whole foods.
What's your favorite, money-saving trick for healthy meals?