Real Food Meals on a Budget
In this day and time, and in light of current circumstances, we are searching for ways we can improve our health. To take our health back in our own hands we must have access to and consume healthier foods. This would be the most nutrient dense foods, but it is not always the most affordable option. It is a major concern for those that don’t have unlimited resources to make weekly visits the “hip” health food store chains. I’d like to focus on practical options for families to eat more nutrient dense meals on a friendly budget. The better we are at choosing quality over marketing, the more we will be able to make better choices. The ability to choose better food lies in reestablishing connection to our food, connection to each other, and connection to the Earth.
Choosing better sources for our food will enable us to find true health and well-being. A great place to start is a local farmers market. This is an opportunity to meet who is growing or raising your food and ask questions about how their crops are grown or how their animals are raised. Farmers markets can be a valuable resource. Many accept SNAP as a form of payment, and some receive grants for assistance. Farmers markets and small-scale farms that offer CSAs may also provide opportunities that allow volunteers to exchange their time for free or reduced cost produce. Community garden projects are also an option. This would allow residents to grow their own food even when they lack the land to grow their own.
Some “real food” cost efficient options would be properly prepared pulses and whole grains, in season produce such as cabbage, onions, carrots, apples, summer and winter squash, nutrient-dense organ meats, like heart and liver, and marrow bones or bone broth, are excellent and affordable choices as well.
I’ve included two real food recipes for you to incorporate if purchasing fresh food items to prepare at home is an option for you. You should be able to find these ingredients at your local farmers market and discount grocer. If you simply don’t have the time but looking to feed your family a meal that is colorful and nutrient dense, there are frozen, pre-cut veggies in the freezer section (ex. Pictsweet Farms brand) that you can add your own spices to and place on a roasting pan in the oven, throw on the grill or simply steam.
Let’s get real with “real food.”
PEACH, FENNEL, & ARUGULA SALAD WITH AVOCADO
By Ashley Pardo, NTP
‣ 1 tablespoon chopped shallot
‣ 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
‣ 2 tablespoons red wine or sherry vinegar
‣ 1 teaspoon kosher salt
‣ 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
‣ 1/2 cup olive oil
‣ 2 ripe peaches or nectarines, sliced into wedges
‣ 1 bulb fennel, halved & thinly sliced
‣ 1 avocado, pitted and sliced into wedges
‣ 1 small pack arugula (about 5 ounces)
‣ 1/4 cup walnuts or any nuts/seeds of your choosing
1. In a large bowl, whisk the shallot, mustard, vinegar, salt, and pepper.
2. Slowly whisk in the olive oil in a steady stream until the vinaigrette is
completely combined and emulsified.
3. Add the peaches or nectarines, fennel, avocado, arugula, and walnuts. Toss to
combine and serve!
SPICY CHOCOLATE AVOCADO MOUSSE
By Shakeena Bradley, NTP
‣ 2 ripe avocados
‣ 1/2 cup organic raw cacao powder
‣ 1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
‣ 1/3 cup organic maple syrup to taste
‣ 2 teaspoons organic vanilla extract
‣ 1 teaspoon cinnamon to taste
‣ 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper to taste
‣ Unsweetened toasted coconut flakes
‣ Organic/Sprouted nuts (hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pistachios, walnuts, etc.)
‣ Organic raspberries, blueberries, or strawberries (in season)
1. Combine all ingredients in food processor or high-powered blender and
process until completely smooth.
2. Spoon into ramekins and add desired toppings.
3. Chill until set and serve.