How to Build the Perfect, Low Cost, Healthy Family Meal 

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A lot of times it can be discouraging to eat healthy, whole foods. It can be really expensive to eat grass fed meats and dairy, organic, local veggies, and the like especially if you are trying to prepare traditional meals with these expensive ingredients.

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Over time I have been working on our menu to create yummy dishes that really pack a nutritious punch while being very easy on the pocket book. Here’s some things I’ve learned.

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Base your meals on the following formula…

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Bulk grain or bean + local, organic veggies + nutrient dense toppings

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So let’s break these down and talk about where and how to buy them and how to prepare them.

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Bulk Grains and Beans

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What Are They…

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Brown Rice

Beans

Whole Wheat (whole or ground)

Lentils

Qinoa

Oatmeal

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Where to Buy Them…

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You can get these organic at the health food store for $1-2 dollars per pound. You can also check your local big discount store, like Food Maxx, and see what they carry. There are also bulk orders available through many health food stores as a special order or with a discount delivery company such a Azure Standard.

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How to Prepare Them

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Beans (except black), Lentils, Qinoa and Whole Wheat Berries

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Soak the grains or beans in water for 12 hours. Drain and place in a colander. For the next two days stir the beans or grains and mist them with water. They will begin to sprout . After sprouted cook normally.

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Rice, Black Beans, Ground Wheat, Oatmeal

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Soak the bean or grain in water with one table spoon of high quality, sugar free, whole yogurt mixed in well. Soak for 24 hours. Drain and cook normally. For rice you’ll want to place it in a flat bottom pan and fill with water until the water level is about one centimeter above the rice level. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes maximum. 

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Adding Flavors

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When flavoring beans and grains you want to be sure to add one thing from these five categories. Don’t over do the seasonings, you only need a dash of each, taste your creation often to balance the flavor to your liking.

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– Fat (butter, pork grease, olive oil, grapeseed oil, beef grease, etc)

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– Salty (himalayan, celtic, or sea salt or MSG free sea salt)

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– Savory (fish sauce, celery powder, onion, sea weed flakes, flavorful herbs, etc)

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– Sweet (honey, coconut sugar, cinnamon, vanilla extract, a dab or juice, etc)

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– Spicy (pepper, chili flakes, garlic, mustard, etc)

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– Bitter (lemon or lime juice works the best for this)

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Local, Organic Veggies or Fruits

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Where to Buy Them 

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The best place of course is to grow them yourself. The second best is your local Farmer’s Market or CSA. The next step would be your local heath food store and baring that your regular grocery store will do. 

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How to Prepare Them

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There are such a wide variety of fruits and veggies that it would take pages and pages to go through each type. The best advice I can give is to google your fruit or veggie and read up on the best way to cook it. Baring that we like to steam and stir fry ours. Be careful not to overcook. You don’t want your veggie to be mush, they should yield gently to your fork and knife.
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Nutrient Dense Toppings
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What Are They…

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Here’s a short list to give you an idea.

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– Meat

– Sea Weed

– Animal Broth

– Nuts, especially walnuts and almonds

– Seeds like pumpkin and sunflower 

– Heavy Cream

– Pastured Butter

– Clams

– Fish

– Eggs

– Raw Cheese

– Olives

– Palm Hearts

– Etc….
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Happy cooking and creating!