Two of the the most common questions we get is “I live in a small town, how can I be plant-strong?” and “I can’t afford to be plant-strong!”
We have a few suggestions that we think will help people out looking for answers to both questions. A two-for-one answer!
1. Make a list of the things your local store does well with.
So for instance, most stores have a pretty good frozen vegetable section and frozen fruit. Believe it or not frozen can be even fresher than ‘fresh produce’! It is flash frozen in the field and so a lot more is perserved. So if there is a frozen vegetable/fruit section you are in luck! So even if you can’t get fresh produce, more than likely you are better off with the frozen for most of the year anyway.
*On that note- look around for some CSA’s – you might be able to find something good.
Potatoes and sweet potatoes are also found in most stores. Potatoes are GREAT and an inexpensive base to any meal.
Brown rice – whole grain brown rice is another great one – the Uncle Ben’s quick boil or success rice are whole grain rices that are pretty inexpensive.
Beans – most stores stock low sodium canned beans. However you can also buy them dry and cook them in a slow cooker or pressure cooker. Beans are a great thing to have on hand. You can even freeze them and use them later!
Corn tortillas – these are a great inexpensive thing to have on hand. You can make lots of things with them – from chips for nachos to wraps to tacos! We’ve even made “tortilla” pie – which is a lot of fun.
Whole grain pasta: Most stores have their own brand of whole grain pasta, generally another inexpensive thing.
Lentils – We love lentils, they are inexpensive, and SO versatile! And they take no time to cook.
Canned tomatoes (low sodium) – another great thing to have on hand.
Salt free spices/herbs.
Parchment paper – so you don’t have to buy cooking spray!
2. Use online sources.
We have an Amazon prime membership which costs 79 dollars a year,.. and we split that with 5 people because you can have 5 people on the account! This means we get free 2 day shipping on groceries! We order things like dry beans, POMI tomatoes, whole grain cereal, non-dairy milk, flax seed, nuts, brown rice, quinoa, whole grain pasta. Pretty much anything dry you can think of can be found online! And it is usually a much better price than Whole Foods or other organic markets.
3. Check out Jeff Novick’s Fast Food DVD:
Jeff also has a fabulous collection of recipes online found here: http://t.co/wrryqMsb
these are all made with ingredients found in any store – cost about 2-3 dollars per meal (makes A LOT) and only require a can opener, scissors and a pot! And I think with exception of a couple of things – all of the recipes do not require ‘fresh’ produce.. And people see amazing health results all the same (and love the food!) Jeff is a great resource if you are online as well.
4. Keep things simple.
One of the best things you can do – is to simplify your food life a little. There are 100′s of fabulous taste combinations made with simple ingredients like:
- Sweet potato, kale, white beans, brown rice.
- White potato, black beans, tomatoes, corn, spinach.
- Quinoa, mixed greens, red beans, cauliflower
- Brown rice, chickpeas, peas, zucchini, curry powder, turmeric
- White beans, fingerling potatoes, brussel sprouts, garlic, kale.
- Whole grain pasta, zucchini, brocoli, peppers, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes
- Lentils, collard greens, brown rice, artichoke
- Potatoes, portobello mushrooms, green beans, spinach, black beans
- Whole grain pasta, lentils, strained tomatoes (or tomato puree), garlic, brocoli
- Whole grain bread with portobello mushrooms, grilled zucchini and oil free hummus.
- Wild rice, onion, red lentils, greens
- Brown rice, salsa, frozen southwestern veggie mix, black beans
- Sweet potato, topped with black beans
- Brown rice, black pepper, asian style veggie mix.
- Cauliflower soup – cook cauliflower, blend add chickpeas.
- Whole grain pasta cooked and chilled, cucumber, tomato, beans, balsamic vinegar
- Mashed chickpeas, onion, garlic, chopped celery, cucumber served on whole grain bread
- Lentils, chopped tomato, lettuce, spinach, salsa, served on lettuce or served in corn tortillas
- Roasted vegetable mix & quinoa
- Beans & brown rice
- Spinach salad: strawberries, raisins, balsamic
- Chop salad: chopped cucumber, celery, carrots, zucchini, tossed with quinoa.
- Big salad: Whatever fresh vegetables you have on top of greens. (the whatever salad!)
- *Salad is always a good option if you have fresh vegetables/greens laying around. You can use balsamic vinegar for a dressing, salsa or even just lemon.
- Huge plate of steamed vegetables with spices.
- Breakfast: oatmeal or quinoa with fruit and ground flaxseed
- Breakfast: Rip’s big bowl (of course!)
- Looking for an easy dressing? We use low sodium salsa, oil free hummus or balsamic vinegar.
Living in a small town and keeping costs down do not have to deter you from your plant-strong life. You may even find over time, that it is far easier than you thought.
Do you have tips on small town living and how to keep costs low? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!