Yes, it’s true that proteins cost more than starches do. We have to admit that white pasta, cheap,
fluffy white sandwich breads, Ramen noodles, packets of pretzels, and generic brand chips are
relatively cheap. People sometimes fill their carts with this sort of junk in the hopes of getting
a lot of food items without spending a ton of money. This practice might save you a dollar or two, but you haven’t bought any food. They are essentially non-foods. They might be cheap on
your bank account, but will be expensive to your long term health.
When we “cart watch” (a term we coined to describe the past time of observing the
contents of people’s carts while waiting in the checkout line), we notice that it is not only
cheap carbs that fill carts. There are almost always expensive ones too. Items like frozen
lasagna, frozen pizzas, boxed cereals (ouch, those will cost you), or those silly little frozen
packaged diet meals that don’t fill anybody up and leave you wanting to eat potato chips
We notice patterns when we cart watch. We often see women buying diet type foods like
those little low-calorie boxed meals. But, they have potato chips in their cart too! Doesn’t make
a lot of sense, but it’s extremely common. You will hopefully reduce or completely eliminate
these more expensive carb-laden, frozen items. They should be completely deleted from your
grocery list. Items like these are not cheap at all, so get rid of all such crazy carbs, whether
they‘re labeled diet food or not. Replace them with healthy proteins, more veggies, beans, and
whole grains and the switch should make very little impact on your budget. It should even
itself out and you might even save a dollar or two on the total.
If you are on a severely restricted budget, look at what you can buy rather than what you
can’t. Foods like Old Fashioned Oats, eggs, cans of tuna, lettuce, cabbage, brown rice, beans,
and butter are affordable for anyone.
We don’t mean boiling your cabbage unless you actually like it that way. Cabbage is such a
versatile, cheap vegetable that can be made in so many delicious ways. Think about sautéing or
roasting it with delicious seasonings in butter or coconut oil. Nothing could be better. Cabbage
is full of cancer fighting abilities and is the non-starchy vegetable that goes the longest way for
the smallest amount of money. Frozen cauliflower florets are very inexpensive also, and when
creatively prepared, can replace rice and potatoes very deliciously.
Treat yourself to a container of cooking coconut oil (Louanna brand from Walmart is
cheaper than extra virgin brands) and buy some unsweetened cocoa powder. Adding plan
approved sweetener, and you’ve always got chocolate to eat.
You could almost do our whole plan on these few inexpensive food items we’re suggesting
if you threw in a few berries, a piece of salmon now and then, and some green apples, as long
as you don’t mind not having a lot of variety.
Serene’s Budget Tip
Serene chats: It costs just under a buck at any grocery store for a bag of dried beans
and this is good news for a large growing family. When my children have growth spurts,
they eat all day and I run out of ideas for snacks. Sometimes they have already had
enough fruit, bread, eggs, popcorn, smoothies and the like to fill a battle ship. I need
another healthy staple to fuel their tanks. Out of desperation, I came up with this very
affordable idea and it is now one of their favorites.
I soak a couple of bags of their favorite dried beans overnight and cook them up
the next day. After they become lovely and tender, I drain out the water and add a
little sea salt. Once they are cool, I put them in a tub in the refrigerator and they are
available for the creativity of budding chefs. When my children say they are hungry, I
tell them they can fry up their beans with their favorite spice. They love creating their
The older ones go at it on their own, and the little ones sometimes pair up with an
older one and help stir or suggest seasonings. Some of my children fry them up with
exotic curries and red palm oil while others prefer butter, parmesan cheese, and black
Personally, I have come to love garbanzo beans sautéed with virgin coconut oil with
nutritional yeast and sea salt—great for a Crossover salad. Garbanzo beans are also
great first finger foods for older babies (without the hot spices), a healthy whole food
that grows strong children instead of sickly ones.
Pearl chats: I have adopted this bean idea from Serene and my children love it, too!
They often ask if we can have “bean fry ups” like the Allisons. That’s often what they
eat when they spend time at their home.
Bean days really help our budget. We often do these fry ups at lunch time since
it works well for hungry homeschooling children. I fry up the pre-cooked beans for my
younger ones in a little coconut oil, all purpose seasoning, and parmesan cheese, but
the older ones take great pride in doing it themselves. They all have their own “best
flavor” ideas. My oldest son, Bowen is a spice lover. Nobody else would be able to eat
his version of beans because they are so heavily seasoned with cayenne pepper and
Cajun seasoning. I don’t know how he handles the heat, and I am a spicy hot lover!
Because they are pre-cooked, it only takes a couple of minutes for the beans to heat
up and so I make them all wait to use the same fry pan. Paper plates and one fry pan—
clean up is not too bad.
I also make use of these beans. It’s a great way to merge both the children’s needs
and my own at lunchtimes. I’m not always eating Crossovers, so instead of frying up
my pre-cooked beans in generous amounts of coconut oil like the children, which would
be a Crossover, I often take out a cupful of beans and make a tuna and bean salad as
an E meal for myself. It’s really quick prep and still cheap—add a can of tuna to the
beans, some diced onion, and a delicious light dressing.
Lentils help our budget, too. My husband is not a big soup lover, so I often make
lentil soups for lunch while he is at work or on nights when he has to work at his second
job. Lentil soup is cheap and easy. Charlie also understands that when I’m at the end
of my grocery week and there’s nothing left, then it’s lentil soup to the rescue. While
not his favorite, he always eats two bowls full. My children love it with lots of cheese
and whole wheat crackers. I adore lentil soup and eat it E style usually, without the
crackers and with a little mozzarella sprinkled on top.
Don’t forget to check out our information on a legume called chana dahl in Founda-
tion Foods, Chapter 17.