Would love to eat healthy, but I can’t afford to. Why is healthy food so expensive? To eat very well on a budget, plan & shop carefully
Where in Columbus Ohio can I find the cheapest quinoa? I would love to eat healthy, but can’t afford to. Why is all the healthy food so expensive? – N. M.
Savvy Vegetarian Advice:
Healthy food isn’t all expensive, and you can eat very well on a budget. Of course you need to plan & shop carefully to make it work.
Quinoa is great, but you’re right, it’s expensive, and you really don’t need to eat it all the time, or at all. I was perfectly happy without quinoa until age 60! If you’re on a tight budget, consider quinoa a luxury item that you eat once a month or maybe once a week.
Eat other whole grains which aren’t so expensive – some of them are quite economical. I’m thinking oatmeal, cracked wheat or bulgar, couscous, brown rice, buckwheat, millet, cornmeal.
Eat a variety of lentils and beans with your whole grains to get lots of high quality inexpensive protein. Your can easily economize on grains and beans without compromising your nutrition. Save your $$$ for fresh fruits and veg, and nuts & seeds, where it’s not so easy to economize.
Shop in bulk. Columbus is a good sized city, where you should be able to find bulk whole foods. Bexley Natural Market  is a natural food co-op. Then there’s Whole Foods.
If those stores are too expensive (and they could very well be), look for a regular discount grocery with bulk bins. Look in the phone book for stores near you, and phone around to see what they’ve got.
Buying online is another option. greenpeople.org  has listings, or google what you want.
The trouble with buying online is sometimes you have to buy large quantities to get a good price, and there are shipping costs. But maybe you could find people to split with – that’s how buying clubs get started. I couldn’t find buying clubs right in Columbus, but no reason why you can’t start your own.
Indian, Asian or Mexican groceries can be great sources of cheap and good food – grains, beans, spices, veggies, fruit. Check the yellow pages for stores in your area.
Judith Kingsbury, Savvy Vegetarian