Real Food on a Budget, can it be done?

In my continued effort of trying to decipher “Real Food” and how to incorporate these foods into our daily life, this week I read the book by Nina Planck, Real Food: What to Eat and Why. What an interesting book. It really helped to drive home the meaning of ‘real food’ and now I am processing how to do this on a very limited budget. It does cost a bit more to eat organically  and naturallly, but I have to realize that I can’t do it all. No matter how much I want or need to eat grass-fed beef, fresh wild fish, locally raised poultry and pork, I have to pick and choose what I am able to do without doing everything. I will continue to buy organic, fresh produce and we have our own fresh eggs. I will cook with coconut oil, EVOO, and butter. I will incorporate grains and legumes – these are budget friendly. On a daily or weekly basis I am not able to purchase the grass-fed beef or wild fish. I just can’t spend $14 for salmon for one meal or $10-$20 for a local grown fresh chicken. (hmmn, my backyard chickens better mind their manners….)

My goal for this week is to incorporate more ‘real food’. I am working to limit white flour and sugar, but with my plan to make pita bread this week, I will be using unbleached, white flour. I am not sure how to get around this one yet. I have started a new batch of sourdough starter and am using white, whole wheat flour for this. I can’t wait to make bread this week. The starter should be ready by Weds. Stayed tuned for my sourdough bread attempt.

I actually tried a new recipe for Collard Greens and Lentil Soup that used home canned chicken broth that was absolutely yummy along with some cornbread. I also made chili with the beans I canned last October. This was the request of my husband.  Luckily my pantry and spice cabinet are very well stocked. I can’t take credit for the Lentil soup recipe, this is courtesy of (thanks Lisa). The cornbread recipe used mostly healthy ingredients and only had a small amount of flour and sugar, so this did fit into my goal.


1   1/2 cups organic cornmeal

1/2 cup unbleached bread flour

2 tsp organic baking powder

1 tsp organic sugar

1 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 c coconut oil or bacon fat (I used bacon fat)

1   1/2 cups buttermilk (didn’t have, so I used regular milk with 1 1/2 tbls. lemon juice)

2 eggs

Heat oven to  450. Mix all ingredients, beat vigorously 30 seconds. Pur into buttered 8×8 pan. Bake until golden brown, 20-25 minutes.


Filed under In the Kitchen, Recipes

2 responses to “Real Food on a Budget, can it be done?

  1. Terri,

    Thanks for the plug! I still use white flour regularly. I’m trying to cut down because I’ve discovered that Lawrence has problems with unsprouted wheat now. But I like lighter baked goods and can’t get around that! Just decrease the amount we eat. I’m interested to see how your sourdough goes. I’ve not been able to successfully and regularly get one going, I hope to someday.

    We can only do the best that we can do in regards to budget. This past year I’ve been forced to switch to some conventionally grown items that I have previously purchased organically. Luckily we have our CSA share for 10 months out of the year and it is very reasonably priced (and we barter some of the cost) and we still have some local, grass-fed meat in our freezer, but I also purchase un-local, un-organic (but antibiotic and hormone free) chicken when it is on sale at our local store, because I just can’t afford better now. Thank goodness we were recently able to barter for a whole locally raised goat and 1/2 or whole (that’s not finalized yet) local pork. We’ll be able to increase our meat consumption, which has been pretty low recently!

    Anyway, all of this to say that even if we have to buy conventionally grown stuff, even though it isn’t ideal, if it’s is real food that we are preparing ourselves, then we are doing a great deal better for our families than buying prepared food-like substances.

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