Almost everyone believes that organic food costs more than snack, fast, and processed food. But is it true? That’s what Linda Watson set out to determine after taking part in a weeklong challenge that required her to live on a budget of one dollar per meal.
Her findings? “Green meals average less than $5 a day per person.” Eating more nutritious, fresh, organic food helps to keep us healthier, too, so we save hundreds or even thousands of dollars per year in medical expenses.
It’s likely that the idea of junk food being more affordable is based on the assumption that quantity matters. It seldom does. As Watson points out, “The goal should not be maximum calories but maximum nutrition.” While it takes a whole lot of potato chips and refined white sugar to make us feel full, we need only a small amount of fresh fruit, veggies, and whole grains to meet our nutritional requirements and satisfy our stomachs.
Wildly Affordable Organic is a step-by-step guide to eating better on a tight budget of one dollar a meal per person. Watson’s own set of rules (“Budget is king” and “No cheating with staples”) is presented in the opening pages, and can be used by readers who might like to give this experiment a try in order to prove to themselves how feasible the results truly are.
In succeeding chapters, Watson addresses the possibilities available at discount food stores, Whole Foods, and farmers markets. Surprisingly, nutritious and affordable food can be found in all these places; it’s only a matter of learning to pay attention.
Of course, once the food is purchased, it has to be preserved and prepared. Watson offers up an entire section on cooking strategies, and includes tips on cleaning and storing produce, using a kitchen scale to your advantage, preventing waste, and eyeballing portions.
Throughout the duration of Watson’s experiment, both she and her husband were employed. This means that quick meals and portable lunches were essential. One of the most user-friendly features of Wildly Affordable Organic is a chapter containing menus and cooking plans for 20-minute meals and seasonal eating plans. More than half the book is devoted to recipes that use fresh and affordable ingredients – all coming in under the one dollar per person per meal limit.
Armed with this book and Watson’s tips, strategies, and clear-eyed investigation, anyone with a sincere desire to eat well on a tight budget can easily and quickly transition to just such a healthy lifestyle. No more excuses for sugary cereal and soggy canned green beans! Wildly Affordable Organic is something of an epiphany, what with the detailed budget and expenses included and the vast array of possibilities. This one should be required reading in high school Life Skills classes and for every household.