Eating clean – what it actually costs

Eating clean budget cost free spirited sistersIt’s best to eat clean, high-quality foods and organic where possible, but what does that cost in real life? We wanted to share our grocery budgets and our usual weekly shop so we can give you an idea of what it looks like in reality. This week is Claire’s USA shop and an outline of what we usually have on hand.

The low down

We buy some things organic, others conventional. Some weeks I will buy granola bars for the kids, other weeks I’ll make slice (recipe here) and muffins (recipe here). Some weeks we buy strawberry jelly, others I make Strawberry chia seed jam (recipe here). We always have a lot of fresh fruit and veggies in the fridge, and the basics like oats, brown rice, and various pastas. For our family of four, I spend around $200 per week. This includes some non-food essentials like toilet paper etc. and fluctuates depending on how social we are 😛

Where we shop

When I shop at Sprouts every week our expenditure is lower. Sometimes we shop at Safeway and sometimes Prime Now (Amazon) delivers Wholefoods groceries to our door in a couple of hours during those crazy busy weeks. Sometimes we buy meat, cereal, oats, granola bars, milk, eggs in bulk at Costco.

There are ways to do this cheaper, but this is where we’ve settled for now. I’ll admit, it’s lower than it used to be (I used to spend a lot of time in the functional foods aisle looking for supplements – not anymore, thanks to these).

Organic vs Conventional

Items we always buy organic (check out the printable Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen list to find out which produce items you should buy organic and what is ok to buy conventional):

Dairy milk

Spinach

Tomatoes

Bell peppers (capsicum)

Potatoes

Berries

Apples

Tempeh and tofu – these are always non-GMO too.

Meat

I buy a month’s worth of almonds on Amazon and they are not organic. I would usually choose organic for nuts because they can retain pesticides, however, the multi-generational, non-GMO farm I purchase from doesn’t use them, instead focusing on keeping their soil in top shape year in, year out. I get a 3lb bag for about $25, store them in the freezer and make my almond milk out of them. You can find the recipe here.

There are cheaper ways to buy nuts for milk and snacks, such as the bulk section of your supermarket, but I haven’t had much luck with the freshness of the nuts, which means the milk doesn’t last as long.  I have started adding in (brown) rice milk (recipe here) throughout the month to help lower costs, but almond milk is still my favorite.

The cart

Our usual weekly shop – Items with asterisks are purchased weekly. The others are purchased as needed.

Chicken breast*

One of either ground chicken, turkey, or beef*

Salmon*

Tempeh or tofu*

Milk*

Pasta – usually something gluten-free like a quinoa pasta*

Bread – super seeded, grainy or sprouted – I look for low sugar count*

Sprouted wheat bagels*

Sweet potato*

Onions*

Spinach or spinach/lettuce mix*

Cucumbers*

Carrots*

Avocados*

Apples*

Bananas*

Seasonal fruit – (grapes, blueberries, strawberries, stone fruit etc)*

Bell peppers*

Fresh herbs (basil and parsley mostly)*

Potatoes

Eggs

Cheese

Cream cheese (usually plain and we add strawberry jam)

Yogurt

Green juice (low sugar)

Dates

Raw cashews

Peanut butter

Almond butter

Granola bars

Frozen fruit for smoothies

Maple syrup

Raw cacao powder

Oats (we buy enormous boxes as we go through a lot of oats!)

Cereal (multigrain cheerios)/granola

Whole wheat flour

Olive oil

Chia seeds

Hemp seeds

Flaxseed meal

Monk fruit sweetener

Vanilla bean pods (to make vanilla essence a few times a year)

Jelly/jam

 

Let us know in the comments how you keep your healthy eating budget low. We would love to share everyone’s tips!

Happy shopping.

Love,

Claire.

 



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