How to build YOUR frugal, real food kitchen. Eating healthy and saving money can be overwhelming. Here is how we do it: 6 questions we ask and apply to each food group.

eat healthy on a budget pin graphic - a bunch of pretty foods and a smiling face

You know who’s business it is what you eat? NO ONE’S. What you keep in your kitchen and put in your mouth is completely personal. It’s one of the few choices we make that no one else can really control.

And yet, I am freakishly interested in what other people buy. Take the grocery store for example. If your food is on the conveyer belt in front of mine, there is a 100% chance I am scoping it out. What did you buy? What kind of dinners do you make with that food? Why did you choose that flavor popsicle?

I am also silently comparing our purchases. Did they buy more vegetables than me? Is their bread healthier than mine? Why did they choose the almond milk – is it a fad or an allergy? DON’T JUDGE ME, okay? I’m not judging my unsuspecting grocery store comrade. I’m observing. There’s a very subtle but important difference.

[bctt tweet=”I’m not judging. I’m observing. There’s a very subtle but important difference.” username=”@CheapskateCook”]

What you choose to place on the conveyer belt is your personal choice. We each have to find what works for us based on our priorities and budget. Building a pantry that is both healthy and frugal is no easy feat. However, I’m starting to crack the code.

My goal is to find a healthy balance in 6 key areas:

  1. Health – what are the most healthy options?
  2. Out of the healthy options, what are the least expensive?
  3. Do we like this food? No reason to buy it if no one will eat it. Kind of like kale.
  4. How much time will it take to prepare whatever I’m buying.
  5. What are our current diet needs – more protein, less gluten, dairy-free?
  6. What purchase options do I have – local grocery stores, bulk orders, online, farmer’s market, or the local farm pick-up.

That sounds like a lot, but over the years I’ve honed our purchases to answer those questions in the best ways I can right now. So I thought I’d share them with you.

How to Build a Frugal Kitchen & Pantry with Real Food - From

How to Build a Healthy, Frugal Pantry

Think of it as your chance to observe what we put on our grocery conveyor belt. Over a couple of posts I’ll go through each basic food group:

The goal here is for you to take these observations and choose what might work for you.

To help you do that, I’ll break down:

  • What we buy
  • Why we buy it (Is it especially healthy? Extremely inexpensive?)
  • How we get the best price

It’ll be simple, quick, and packed with tips for how you can make it work for you. What you put in your kitchen is no one else’s business. But like my unsuspecting grocery store companions, we can learn a lot from how other people stock their pantry. And you’re welcome to observe or judge. I’ll never know the difference.

Build Your Frugal Healthy Kitchen graphic

Why Real Food?

There are a lot of reasons why we started eating healthy – ranging from growing up on a farm, raising dairy goats, to food allergies and health problems. 

One of the ways I learned to value real food was reading the book, Nourishing Traditions (affiliate link).

While I don’t agree with everything in it, simply reading the book and learning where our food used to come from and how it was prepared gave me a deep respect for real food.

We had a very tight budget, but we learned how to feed our family real food.


What You Can Do Now:

  1. What food group do you struggle with most? Comment below! This will help me know which groups to really focus on and how I can serve you best. (For us, it’s meat – there is such a difference between organic and conventional prices!) 
  2. We also share cheap (like, actually cheap), real food menu plans every month for FREE with our email subscribers. Get the next one here.
Nourishing Traditions cookbook