Clean & Budget Friendly Foods

I try to use as many organic, non-genetically modified, and unprocessed ingredients as possible. I do also look at sodium content, words I can’t pronounce and don’t recognize.  But I didn’t want my recipe lists to sound too wordy so I haven’t labeled every ingredient in my posts as such. I do understand others may have varying preferences and budgets.


As a former coupon cutting but non-clean eater, I can honestly say that I save far more money now than I ever did cutting coupons. This is for a few different reasons:


1. More often unhealthy items than not, I was a victim of buying certain products just because I had a coupon. Bottom line, I spend far more time in the outer sections of grocery store than in the inner isles.

2. I was only looking at the nutritional label, not screening the actual (often inflammatory. hormone altering, & metabolism impairing) ingredients, as well as not controlling the portion of my “healthy” “natural” processed snacks (think pita chips, better to eat real potato chips with 3 ingredients).

3. While I was compulsively cutting coupons, I was also more apt to eat out. Again, because either I had a coupon for the restaurant of choice or because I wasn’t educated or curious about the ingredients. How was I to know that carry-out pizza had more ingredients than the years my great grandmother lived?

4. I usually shop with a list and try my best to avoid shopping while hungry.

5. I am far less likely to waste groceries which cost more and are higher quality. The stocked food in our house has literally saved us many, many times from opting for a meal out.


Some of my favorite items are here.


Below are the items that I normally buy organic and/or brands I use based on the price and nutritional profile:


Organic produce: I usually purchase all of these at Trader Joe’s, occasionally at Target, Whole Foods or Harris Teeter, and when the item is in season, at the local farmers’ market. Keep in mind it is costly to obtain an official organic certification so just ask your farmer if they use pesticides. Always organic: baby spinach, mixed greens, kale, chard, collard greens, lettuces, cucumbers, all types of tomatoes, carrots, zucchini, potatoes, sweet potatoes, yellow & sweet onions, bell peppers, celery, apples, bananas, and both fresh and frozen berries. Broccoli is not heavily treated because it naturally deters pests so I’m 50/50 on that one as well as cauliflower. Ingredients I use less frequently such as scallions, fennel, eggplant, non-bell peppers, herbs, and other veggies, just depends on price and my budget that week.


Broth: Trader Joe’s organic vegetable broth. I like the profile of this broth best. The low sodium broths were just not flavorful enough and this one has the least sodium and fewest ingredients of a regular organic veg broth that I could find.


Tofu: Organic tofu, any brand. Sprouted if possible.


Cheeses: Any brand organic whole milk version like the Trader Joe’s whole milk organic string cheese. Trader Joe’s organic shredded mozzarella. A favorite is Trader Joe’s New Zealand Grass Fed Organic Sharp Cheddar. They also offer a non-organic version. Many benefits to grass fed dairy which leads me to…


Butter: Kerrygold Irish Butter which is from grass fed cows (no artificial growth hormones used either) and in turn full of more nutrients (including omega 3s) than even organic butter. I buy a 3 pack at Costco for $6.99. It is packaged in blocks each of which result in about 2 traditional sticks when cut vertically basically yielding 6 sticks.. I freeze 2 blocks, cut one lengthwise, put half in my butter dish in the fridge and the other half in the fridge in a plastic cream cheese container.


Soy Sauce: San Jo Gluten Free Soy Sauce Tamari Lite 50% Less Sodium – I buy this because soy is one of the most genetically modified crops in the USA with high pesticide levels. And again, like the broth, best sodium content + nonGMO. San Jo makes several varieties and therefore I provided the photo below of the one that I purchase (around $3.99 at Whole Foods). *For a non-soy alternative, I use coconut aminos.


Bread: Trader Joe’s Honey Sweet Whole Wheat, Whole Foods 365 Organic Whole Wheat Bread(s), Food for Life Ezekiel Sprouted Breads, Trader Joe’s Whole Wheat Pita Breads(fewest ingredients), Local sourdough such as Duke’s or Nova’s Bakery


Crackers: Ak-Mak Whole Wheat Crackers which have very few ingredients and are pretty much $1.69 everywhere! I also like Mary’s Gone Crackers (Costco) and GF rice crackers with minimal ingredients.


Tortilla Chips: Any brand of organic corn tortilla chips


Oils: Carrington Farm Unrefined Organic Coconut Oil (Costco), Kirkland Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil (cold pressed, Costco), and recently I bought the Solio NonGMO Canola Oil(Costco)


Nut butters: Trader Joe’s raw almond butter and Trader Joe’s organic peanut butter


Nuts: Trader Joe’s as the prices are best and they offer organic varieties too. I do avoid trail mixes that contain additives.


Grains and seeds: Whole Wheat Couscous at Trader Joe’s, Organic Quinoa at Costco/Target/Trader Joe’s, organic rices at Trader Joe’s, Hempseeds (Costco or Amazon), Chia Seeds , Ground Flaxseed


Beans, chickpeas, lentils: I buy the dry form in bulk or in packages at Whole Foods’ in the 365 store brand. Otherwise Whole Foods brand or Target’s Simply Balanced organic low sodium version in cartons or cans of organic beans in non BPA lining cans. By the way, any recipe works equally well with either a 13.5 oz carton=15 oz can=2 cups home soaked and cooked beans.



In conjunction with a healthy diet, we also take Juice Plus daily. Even if I drank a smoothie and had fruits and vegetables at every meal, I would never hit 10 servings a day! If you are interested in learning more, please contact me 🙂 .

{ 0 comments… add one }

Leave a Comment

Recent Posts…

Back To School: The Best “Buttery” Popcorn Ever For Snack Time

Back To School: The Best “Buttery” Popcorn Ever For Snack Time

Arguably, no other food has a pull as strong as fresh popcorn. How many times in my life have I proclaimed to be full only for the aroma of an office mate’s microwave popcorn to make my mouth water and stomach rumble. I don’t even want to know how much I have spent on overpriced movie [...]

Get Well Sooner Tips + Garlicky Kale, Herbed Veggies, & Spiced Rice

Get Well Sooner Tips + Garlicky Kale, Herbed Veggies, & Spiced Rice

What started out as an interest in eating :) and led to my love of cooking was then followed by my weight loss journey. Through books like The China Study, documentaries like Food, Inc. and Forks Over Knives, attending seminars, and following investigators like The Food Babe as well as physicians like Dr. Mercola and Dr. Weil as well as other [...]

Autumn Apples: Sweet & Spice & Everything Nice Smoothie

Autumn Apples: Sweet & Spice & Everything Nice Smoothie

Fall is just around the corner meaning the well priced bags of organic apples at Trader Joe’s are back! You can bet I snagged a few bags. I was standing in my kitchen doing my usual smoothie-for-the-next-day prep when I saw my overflowing basket of apples. Thoughts of apple pie followed. This smoothie is a bit sweeter [...]

Charlotte Veggie