Eating raw food doesn’t have to mean breaking the bank. In fact, there are a number of ways, ten specifically right here, that can keep more moolah in your piggy bank. And, who doesn’t want some more moolah? These money saving tips are easy to incorporate and still keep raw exciting and delicious.
Before I get to the great tips though, can I just get on my soapbox for a second and remind everyone of the intrinsic savings you get by eating an organic plant based diet, especially one that is high in fresh raw foods? With my diet, I’m saving money in so many ways: Limited doctor visits and co-pays, health insurance savings (higher deductible, although I look forward to the day where they give discounts to vegans like they do with non-smokers), reduced sick days (which means I’m more productive in my business and life in general), savings on beauty products (my skin, hair, and nails are fabulous without spending a fortune), and long term health benefits in general. After all, prevention rocks!
Ok, back to my quick list of great tips for saving money with raw food!
1. Use sunflower and pumpkin seeds: A lot of recipes call for the use of expensive cashews, pine nuts, pili nuts, pecans, etc. You can make the recipes less expensive by substituting sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds without sacrificing much flavor, if any! You have options: you can substitute all or just part of the recipe. Plus, these seeds offer their own host of awesome nutritional benefits that you don’t want to miss out on.
2. Juice pulp: Use your left over juice pulp and make delicious raw dehydrated crackers (especially if you use a centrifugal juicer that leaves soppy pulp). I might also mention here that it’s wise to invest in a dehydrator if you have a pretty high raw diet. You will save money by making your own raw crackers, granola, breads, etc. Otherwise, use the pulp in vegan crackers or muffins that you bake in the oven. You can also top your salad with the left over juice pulp for some extra roughage. No need to waste that pulp by throwing it out when it can be the base of yummy raw crackers, snacks, and enhancing your salad.
3. Almond pulp (or any nut or seed): The next time you make homemade nut or seed milk (um, another no brainer money saver by the way), use the pulp you strain out to make raw banana bread (or bake in the oven if you don’t have a dehydrator). Simply process the nut pulp with some bananas, a bit of water, and a dash of cinnamon and dehydrate. Yum!
4. Make homemade nut butters: This is one of my favorite things to make. There’s just something extra awesome about making your own nut butters. I’d say it’s partly in how easy it is, and partly because of the seriously huge savings. All you need: nuts (or seeds) and a food processor. Put them together and voila, nut butter!
5. Simple smoothies: For a lot of us, green smoothies are a staple in our diets. But, making them with a bunch of fancy greens and fruits can add up in cost. When you need to save a few bucks, consider making green smoothies with simpler ingredients such as bananas and spinach, but add some sass to them, as well as variety, by incorporating different spices or extracts. Think: nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, allspice, cayenne, Chinese Five Spice, garam masala, vanilla (or other flavor extracts), etc.
6. Raisins in place of dates: Many times I use raisins in place of dates to save money. Pie crusts, cheesecake crusts, and raw cookies are a great place to start with this tip. They add sweetness and binding abilities without costing you as much.
7. Buy in bulk: I talk about this a lot. Buying in bulk does save in the long term, even if it does briefly hurt in the short term. I use online sources for organic nuts, seeds, and dried fruits. But don’t stop there! Buy bulk in the produce section of your store. Getting a case of bananas or persimmons saves money. And, you can freeze certain fruits (like those mentioned) or you can buy greens by the case and split it with family or neighbors. It’s seriously worth it.
8. Farmers Market and Co-ops: This tip has been shared time and time again because it works. Find your local farmer market or co-op and not only take advantage of cheaper prices, but healthier foods because the produce is extra fresh, often just picked a day or two before bringing it to market.
9. Repeat Meals: Make a big batch of raw soup, green smoothie, or carrot/zucchini pasta and enjoy it over the course of a few days in a row. This makes your life easier and also saves money by the nature of its simplicity, especially if you’re using ingredients that you bought on sale.
10. Keep it Simple: Superfoods are fun, but they’re not necessary to enjoying a raw food lifestyle. Eating fresh carrots dipped in homemade almond butter is truly special. Grabbing an apple (or two) for a snack is divine and nourishing. Chugging down a glass of raw almond milk is sublime.
Raw food is awesome, and having a few money saving tips up your sleeve makes the experience that much more enjoyable. Dig in!
Image Source: Lars P./Flickr