Fab Frugal Friday: Real Life Sustainable Eating on a Budget

Bode Miller Wins Gold!

We were all thrilled to see Bode Miller on the platform at the Olympics, but did you know we have another reason to applaud him? Miller is a sustainable eating advocate, an organic farmer and lifelong vegetarian!

Michael Pollan’s recent interview on NPR was both entertaining and enlightening: Just one favorite quote: “It’s not food if it arrives through the window of your car.” This got me thinking.  . . Is good, healthy, sustainable eating a luxury only for the upper middle class and the rich, or is it something we all can achieve?

That we should be eating home-cooked sustainable food is, in my humble opinion, a no-brainer. For everyone. Consider these Top Ten Reasons: 1.) It’s cheaper; 2.) It’s safer; 3.) It’s healthier; 4.) It tastes better; 5.) It tastes like you want it to; 6.) It’s satisfying; 7.) It makes reducing meat consumption easier; 8.) It’s a gift to future generations; 9.) It will enrich your life; and 10.) It will make a statement.

But, in the end, it is like many things: It’s a matter of degree. It’s a matter of taking steps in the right direction. It’s a matter of changing the way you do things slowly but surely.

So, here are my thoughts on how to eat more sustainably on a budget.

1)  BUY ONLY WHAT YOU NEED AND USE WHAT YOU BUY.

I can’t tell you how many times I have bought, say, a bunch of carrots instead of only the two carrots I needed because the bunch was a good deal, and then wound up throwing most of the carrots out. Don’t go for the “bargain” if you’re not going to use it all. Buy the two carrots at a slightly higher cost, but save money and be less wasteful in the long run.

2)  THE FREEZER IS YOUR FRIEND.

It is about the same work to double a recipe and freeze the extra as it is to make one dish. If you do have dishes stashed away, you’ll be much less likely to spend four times as much on a restaurant meal at the end of a stress-filled day. And, freezing things when they are low cost – such as seasonal fruit – is super easy and efficient with one of my favorite culinary inventions: zip top bags! It is such a delight to go to my freezer and take out a pint of Strawberry Lemon Zest Freezer Jam in the middle of February- instant springtime in your mouth ! – and one-third the cost of nasty-tasting store bought cooked strawberry jam. Buying a full sized freezer is the best money I have ever spent.

3)  GROW YOUR OWN.

Now is the perfect time to plan a spring garden. We started gardening in a major way two years ago, and I have been surprised at how much we save and how much fun it has been to grow vegetables. Michale Pollan said that for every $1 you spend on your garden, you get $10 dollars worth of grocery-store priced produce. Wow! This is the most amazing rate of return on your money that exists today!!!

4)  MAKE YOUR OWN.

The cost savings on making your own continually astound me, and benefit the environment by eliminating packaging, trucking, etc. I made crackers recently and they cost about 30 cents when the same amount would have cost at least $3 in the store – 10 times more. Even a math-impaired person such as myself can do those numbers!

5) YOU CAN FEEL GOOD SAVING THE PLANET – ONE FORKFUL AT A TIME.

Eating sustainably makes a difference – more than almost anything we can do as individuals to help our planet – more than driving a fusion car; more than recycling newspapers, more than changing our light bulbs, more than all of these things combined.

Eat your veggies! Make it from Scratch! Share your Bounty!  Our grandmas would be proud!

— posted by Donna

Comments

  1. says

    Amen to this whole post.

    We have a community garden this year, and I am on the peas team. Woohoo! Crossing my fingers against another nasty blight this year.

    • says

      The peas team? How lucky you are! What’s better than fresh-out-of-the-garden peas? I am hoping my husband will trust me to head up the Peppers Team this year – I can’t wait to try some exotic peppers!

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