Peony 'Sarah Bernhardt'

Peony 'Sarah Bernhardt'

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Art of Bargain Shopping & Cooking Healthy on a Tight Budget

Winco Foods 24 hours of savings! Winco saves my life right now. Seriously people. It would be easy to write a blog espousing the joys of whole foods cooking with lots of fresh seasonal organic produce specialty spices, gourmet artisan cheeses, and $30/bottle extra virgin olive oil. However, this is not my reality. Right now I am really really broke. So faced with this dilemma, many would say it is impossible to eat a healthy whole foods diet. I am reminded this is how Miss Jolie Ann's Kitchen Garden Blog began 2 years ago. It all began when I was on food stamps and my journey as a foodie & vegetarian attempting to continue eating a healthy whole foods diet. So, here I am again. I work full-time, however, in this recession I am underemployed and struggling.

And I can prove it is possible to eat simply on a tight budget and also have it be delicious, nutritious, healthy & filling. This is where Winco Foods comes in. Winco is full of deals. You have to bypass the 10 for $1 ramen, Mac-n-Cheese, koolaid, soda pop, and potato chips on the way. Their bulk bins are full of very inexpensive whole foods. Their produce may not be organic but it's a good deal for bargain shoppers.

Normally my weekly grocery budget is about $80. That is about $30 on fresh organic produce from either the Farmer's Market or Limbo. Then about $50 at Trader Joe's on other stuff. For the next couple of months I have to cut my weekly food budget in half. I'll probably also have to supplement from the local food bank.

On last night's trip to Winco Foods I spent a total of $32.37 for everything I needed this week and this is what I got:

2 lb bag of carrots
5 braeburn apples
2 yellow onions
2 heads of broccoli
7 bananas
7 kiwis
5lb bag of potatoes
1 head of lettuce
1 bag frozen blueberries
.10lbs bulk organic short grain brown rice
1.25lb bulk brown lentils
.09oz bulk nutritional yeast
10 green tea bags
2 boxes of organic unsweetened soymilk
2 cans of vegetarian refried beans
18 pack corn tortillas
1 package tofu
1 package cheddar cheese
1 dozen eggs
1 loaf bread

1 bottle of shampoo
4 cans wet cat food
2.5lbs bulk dry cat food
1 bag cat litter

I will add this to some items I have at home: olive oil, spices, steel cut oats, tangerines, soy/whey protein powder, almonds, raisins, cornmeal, brown rice flour, miso.

And, this is the meals I will have for this week:

Fruit smoothies
Fried Spiced Tofu with home fries & steamed broccoli
Egg salad sandwiches
Lentil Vegetable Soup with brown rice
Bean & Cheese Quesadillas with Salad
Gluten Free Cornmeal Muffins
Steel cut oats with fruit & nuts

All those meals plus food & litter for my cats...NOT BAD FOR $32.37!!! So, in summary friends on a limited budget your only choices are not eating fast food, and over-processed high sodium low nutrition packaged foods. With a little creativity and willingness to persevere you too can eat healthy on a TIGHT budget!

In Health,
Miss Jolie Ann


Anonymous said...

Hey there! Im new to Portland and new to gardening and just discovered your blog. Im committed to local, organic eating and have been for some time, but Im also interested in making this lifestyle accessible to all. It really bothers me how elitist it has become to be holistic. I read a lot of natural foods/gardening blogs and this is the first time Ive read a post that is so open about the financial aspects of natural living. Thank you for your courage in sharing your struggles and also your commitment. Your openness is helping to make a critical class-based link so absent from much of the discourse in the natural living area. I feel very inspired by you!
Thank you,

Jolie Ann Donohue said...

Hi Meghan,
Welcome to Portland and thank you for checking out my blog. Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment. I really appreciated hearing your perspective. And, I totally agree with what you expressed about the elitist classist representation of natural living. I hope you continue to enjoy the blog and I look forward to hearing your feedback again soon.
Blessings, Miss Jolie

Anonymous said...

As much as I would LOVE to feed my family of 3 (plus 3 pets) on nothing but the finest farmer's market fare, if it weren't for WinCo, we'd be hard up for food at the end of every month! Thanks for bringing this awesome alternative to public view, Jolie! Now all people need to do is step down off their pedestals and come shop with the commoners! :-D
Love ya!

Jolie Ann Donohue said...

Hey Amber,
Thanks so much for your feedback. I appreciate you representing the reality of feeding healthy food to a family with children and pets! It can be challenging, but it's possible if you look for the bargains and give up that elitist attitude--not that you ever had one ;) Thanks for the continued support.
Miss Jolie