Monday, February 6, 2012

Six Secrets of Super Shoppers

jack shapingOn Friday I told you what six foods you shouldn’t put in your cart if you are at all concerned about your budget and health; if you missed it, you can find it HERE. Today we are talking about what foods should be in your cart, which foods are less expensive and nutrient dense allowing you to spend less and get more. If you are watching your budget and your health, you need to choose foods which are dense are provide fat and protein for as little money as possible. Here are some of the best choices you can make.

1. Whole-Fat Non-Homogenized Milk or “Mixed-Milk”. Raw milk is not in the budget for every household, though there are many who could afford it if they prioritized it. If you truly cannot afford raw milk, choose the least processed milk you can and look for hormone-free on the label. Be aware that sometimes organic, even if certified, is a meaningless, read how one dairy sold organic milk that wasn’t HERE.

If you are very concerned about homogenization and unable to afford non-homogenized, you can mix your own milk. Choose a hormone free, pasteurized skim milk and a hormone free, non UHP heavy whipping cream. The cream should be about 40%fat. Store milk is averaged to 4% and raw milk runs between 4% and 6% depending on breed and you can easily average your milk to be 5%. If you are worried about additives to your skim milk, avoid ones labeled “enriched” and check the label for ingredients which should only include milk and vitamins A and D. For each cup of milk you want to mix, place two tablespoons of cream in your pitcher first, and then top with milk and stir but the cream will float to the top and not be homogenized. In my area, non-organic and hormone-free local milk at the health food store is $3.59 a gallon and hormone-free non UHP cream is $7.99 a quart. A quart of cream will make four gallons of milk, which makes each gallon average out to a little less than $5.60 a gallon, plus I would have a an extra quart of skim.This is far less than the $8 a gallon raw goes for in my area.

For specific measurements see below:

  • For one cup: use 2Tb cream, top with skim milk to the one cup measurement
  • For one pint:  1/4C cream and 1 3/4C skim milk
  • For one quart: 1/2C cream and 3 1/2C skim milk
  • For a half gallon: 1 cup cream and 7C skim milk
  • For one gallon: 2C cream and 14C skim milk

2. High Vitamin Eggs, organic if possible. Eggs are amazing and provide a lot of nutrition and hunger sating power for just a few bucks. Don’t fool yourself and think that it is not worth the money! Compared to a breakfast of cheap cold cereal, a breakfast of cooked eggs will help you stay full longer and not stimulate the production of insulin. Need to know more about high quality eggs? See my post HERE which will tell you all you need to know.

3. Healthy Grains like Rolled (not quick cooking), Steel-Cut Oats, and Whole Wheat Flour. Avoiding the granola (which I sometimes make at home) and cereals does not mean you have to skip grains at breakfast. You can easily soak and cook oats for breakfast. I can buy steel-cut oats for $1/lb and feed my crew of twelve breakfast for less than $3.00, including the butter and cream. It doesn’t have to take a long time to cook, either. You’ll find that soaked oats, even steel-cut, cook very quickly.

Skip the bread and make your own, there is no need to buy expensive bread or worse, cheap breads made with filler. I have a great sourdough recipe which is truly idiot-proof, see HERE. Up for a little more challenge? Try my new sourdough booklet, see HERE, which will walk you through catching a starter, baking with sourdough, and adapting commercial yeast recipes for sourdough. HERE is an older post with some great ideas for using grains for breakfast.

4. Coconut oil. This is indispensible and if you aren’t eating it, you should be! This healthy fat is ideal for replacing cooking oils and butter in recipes and in frying, it is also antimicrobial and can support the health of your lungs. If you aren’t sure what to do with it, see my post HERE.

5. Meat with Bones and Organ Meats. While many people will look for boneless cuts of meat to avoid paying for the bones, this is a false economy. The bones are full of vital minerals which can either be wasted or go into a crockery cooker and used to supplement a smaller amount of meat in your diet. If you need to know about making bone broth, see my post HERE. Organ meats can provide a substantial more protein in the diet at a lower price point. Liver is my main source, and while some people object to it on its own, it can be finely chopped and added to meatballs, meatloaves and spaghetti sauce with no one the wiser. My children adore chicken liver pate, though. If you have never tried it, maybe you should start with my recipe which also uses chicken heart, see HERE.

6. Butter. There should be a lot of butter in your cart! If you are on a tight budget, don’t worry about buying expensive olive oil and consider passing up on the coconut oil but don’t think about passing up the butter in the dairy case! Even conventional butter contains healthy fats and restorative cholesterol and can satisfying hunger and help you absorb more vitamins.

While these aren’t the only foods I would recommend, this are the foods I recommend not passing up even when on the tightest budget. What foods will you not pass up?

Linking up to Monday Mania!


  1. I'm doing everything right! So how come my bills are higher than yours for a family half the size???

    I think I need to go through item by item and figure out if it's the goat cheese (say it ain't so Joe!) or the bananas that are driving up the grocery bill. :)

  2. Can you tell me where to purchase coconut oil? I can't find it at my local supermarket. Do I need to go to the health food store? We're raising our 9-yr-old grandson and I'd like to try this on his asthma, as well as in our diet. I LOVE your blog, Melissa! Thanks so much :)

  3. Tienne, maybe we should talk? It might make a good post!

    Helen, you can sometimes find coconut oil at local stores with the other cooking oils under the Louana brand. Most of the time you will need to go to the health food store. You can always shop for it online and I use the Tropical Traditions Gold Label which is found in my side bar. I wait for sales and then buy a gallon at a time.

  4. Thank you, Melissa!

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