Have you ever thought about how yogurt can help you save money and eat healthy? I bet you haven’t tried all of these budget-friendly, real food tips!
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Saving money and eating healthy is not easy. Maybe you are trying to dig yourself out of debt but you want to eat healthy at the same time.
Maybe you are trying to overhaul your kitchen to use more real food and less junk and not break the bank.
Or maybe you have food allergies and need to balance them with your tight budget.
It’s all very overwhelming.
How to Save Money & Eat Healthy
When Chris and I started out broke 12 years ago, we tackled our financial issues in baby steps. We used Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps Plan to give us a place to start and decide what to do next. It’s a fantastic program that changed our lives and saved our tails when our lives exploded several years ago.
The Baby Steps concept works everywhere. When we learned how to workout and fuel our bodies to build muscle, we didn’t go to the gym and start squatting 200 lbs. We worked up to our goals. We started going to the gym a few days a week and learning how to lift weights. We tried a couple of classes. We learned about macros and building muscle. One step at a time, Chris gained 30 pounds of muscle. I gained 10 pounds of muscle then got pregnant – so you could say we both progressed.
Baby steps help us win. Baby steps give us one small goal to tackle so we can make changes in the middle of our busy, real lives.
Budget-Friendly Healthy Eating Baby Steps
So we’re starting a new thing here on Cheapskate Cook. Every few weeks, I’m going to challenge you with one baby step to help you save money and eat healthy.
In order to save money and eat healthy, you have to get creative, keep learning, and try new things. The Save Money, Eat Healthy Baby Steps help you do that.
I split these baby steps into Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, and Obsessed Real Foodie. So whether you are brand new to healthy eating or have been making your own bone broth for years, there will be something for you!
Many of the challenges will focus on BOTH saving money and eating healthy. Some of them will lean more towards saving money, and I’ll show you ways you do it with more real food. Some will lean more towards eating healthy, and I’ll show you ways to make it more budget-friendly.
Are you ready for your first Baby Step? Let’s save money and eat healthy together!
Today’s baby step tackles our favorite breakfast and granola’s favorite buddy: yogurt.
- One year ago: $90 Real Food Budget for a Family of 5
- Two years ago: Real Food Macaroni & Cheese 4 Ways
How to Keep Yogurt Budget-Friendly
Most of us agree that yogurt is pretty good for you. It’s full of probiotics and is one of our favorite ways to start the day.
You’ve seen the walls of yogurt at the grocery store. Everything from giant tubs for $2 to tiny gourmet cups for $5 each. You probably already have your favorite kind. But have you thought of how your yogurt can help you save money and eat healthy?
Beginner: Buy Bulk Yogurt Tubs Instead of Individual Cups
I know those cute little cups are super convenient, but they cost a lot more.
Convenience vs. Savings
When you’re trying to save money and eat healthy, the cost often comes at convenience. We have been conditioned to believe that convenience is more important than health or savings.
Advertisements tell us that those cute little cups of yogurt are classy, trendy, and you’ll look awesome eating them. But if you love yogurt and you’re trying to save money, buy the big canister of yogurt. It’s the same thing – just harder for companies to market and easier for you to afford.
Need Individual Cups?
Pack it yourself! We use these cups for the kids.
For cute, hipster-worthy parfaits, I use wide-mouth pint jars.
Intermediate: Use Plain Yogurt Instead of Sweetened Yogurt
I grew up with yogurt that was bright pink (watch this commercial for a blast from the past). And blue. And may or may not have contained real yogurt. Those sticky sweet yogurt cups were marketed to us as a healthy alternative to artificially-dyed and flavored fruit-shaped corn cereal. But were they really?
Flavored yogurt is delicious. Vanilla and Strawberry are my personal favorites. But when I read the ingredients list and the nutrition facts, I learned that processed flavors come at a cost.
I don’t need that much sugar to start my day. I don’t need that many ingredients in my body.
How to Sweeten Your Own Yogurt
You can sweeten your yogurt in many creative ways!
Just add a little of this to your yogurt. Taste it and adjust the amount of flavoring as needed to your personal taste:
- Maple syrup
- Chopped frozen berries (as they thaw, they melt into the yogurt)
- Balsamic strawberries
- Balsamic berry sauce is a bougie-sounding name for something that’s simple to make, uses minimal sweetener, and tastes amazing in yogurt. My favorite recipe is in Pretty Simple Cooking)
- A scoop of jam (try chia jam!)
- Chopped pineapple (canned with the juice adds more sweet)
- Try plain with homemade granola!
Each of my kids has a favorite way to eat their yogurt. Some flavor it with maple syrup. Some prefer it with berries. Some eat it plain with chia seeds.
My ultimate goal in using plain yogurt instead of flavored is to train our taste buds to appreciate the natural sweetness of foods and to need less added sugar to enjoy our food.
Truth: my kids have eaten plain yogurt their entire lives. They like and prefer sugary stuff (of course I do too), but we have honest conversations about real food and priorities. We don’t demonize any particular food or label them as bad or good. But we do talk about what we want to put in our bodies all the time versus what we want to put in them sometimes. (I’ll find out how this approach worked in 20 years after they have all been to therapy.)
Advanced: Make Your Own Yogurt
Maybe you already eat plain yogurt like a boss, and you’re ready to save a ton of money. This tip will save you more money than any other step!
A gallon of homemade yogurt costs almost the same as a gallon of milk. For our family, this allows us to buy high-quality local milk from grass-fed cows. But when the budget is tight, we can also make a gallon of yogurt from Aldi milk for $3.
Simple Ways to Make Your Own Yogurt
- Slow Cooker – I started out making homemade yogurt using my slow cooker.
- Instant Pot – Now, I use my Instant Pot to make thick, creamy yogurt. (The link also has a video!)
- Cold Start – If you’re buying organic, ultra-pasteurized milk, try the cold start method! By far the easiest I’ve seen.
Obsessed Real Foodie: Yogurt Cheese & Whey
If you’re already making your own yogurt, this step is extra fun. You can make your own creamy, spreadable cheese with any kind of yogurt (homemade or store-bought). Simply strain the yogurt with a colander or mesh strainer (my preference) and cheesecloth or nut milk bag) like this.
(Tip: Don’t have a mesh strainer or cheesecloth? That’s okay! This post shares another option.)
What Can I Do with Yogurt Cheese?
Let the yogurt strain for 2-8 hours, to your desired thickness (I like 8 hours best!). You have a thick, spreadable cheese you can use instead of cream cheese or goat cheese. We spread it on toast. We make it into real food frosting for this recipe. This is also an easy way to fix a batch of runny homemade yogurt (which occasionally happens while you’re learning).
What Can I Do With Whey?
I like to think of whey as probiotic water. So I use it wherever I would use water but those extra probiotics might come in handy! We pour some into smoothies, We use a splash of it to soak whole grain flour overnight (like in this pancake recipe or this bread recipe). Whey is also a key ingredient when you lacto-ferment vegetables.
Which Baby Step Will You Try?
Are you ready to save money and eat healthy? Show me how you’re making your yogurt more budget-friendly! Tell me about it in the comments below, or tag me on Instagram (@cheapskatecook) or Facebook and use the hashtag #savemoney_eathealthy!
Every time we release a new Save Money Eat Healthy Baby Step, I’ll go Live in the Facebook Group and talk about with you about it, demonstrating recipes, and real-life tips. If you want to watch the Live videos (or replays!) join here!
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