Healthy Eating in the Winter on a Budget? Let’s Discuss.

FreshSummer was good to me – farmer’s markets, fruit stands, gardens….I’ve heard from some friends that wintertime seems to break their bank when it comes to eating healthy, and since this is a new change of lifestyle, I’m a little afraid of switching back to my old habits this winter.  I had to investigate different ways to keep up the healthy meals (that don’t require the loads of cream I like in my soups).  There doesn’t seem to be as much in season (this might be blasphemous, but pumpkin for the 87th different recipe drives me to looneyville), and what you can get doesn’t necessarily feed the family.  Here are a few tricks I’ve dug up to cut down on winter spending and still eat healthier.  Let’s check out my list:

  1. Snag a bag.  Frozen veggies can help bring you back to healthy habits while still giving you the volume to keep your family full.
  2. Can to cram.  Pull out what you canned (or froze) from those great summertime farmer’s markets and fruit stands for delicious baked goods to keep you warm this winter.  If you didn’t get a chance to do this in 2011, make a plan for canning next summer.  If you aren’t sure what to do, register for local canning class and learn a new skill!  Here’s a great website with instructions and basics on canning if you need a review.
  3. Soup it up.  Whole grains and beans make great soup bases and are great for our bodies.  Even though I said to snag a bag of frozen vegetables, don’t forget there are still plenty of things in season that are downright delicious in soups:
    • bell peppers, broccoli, broccolini, brussels sprouts, butternut squash, cauliflower, celery root, chard, collards, fennel, garlic, leeks, parsnip, potatoes, pumpkin, rutabaga, salsify, spinach,sweet potatoes (prepared like this is always a winner), sunchoke, turnips, wild mushrooms
    • Go Grow!  Grow an inside herb garden to add great flavors to your meals and keep that green thumb working.  Or, you can get really adventurous and plant an indoor garden complete with vegetables.

Don’t think that hearty winter meals are all meat based, especially as that drives up your grocery budget.  Find ways to supplement your fresh eating habits from the summer into the next season meals as well.  Oh, and definitely let’s not forget my favorite: Dessert!  We all know that’s always in season.

So tell me, what works for your budget in the winter?  Would love to hear from you.

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