The people at the Environmental Working Group who bring us the Shopper’s Guide each year that rates produce by their pesticide load have a new, free guide for shoppers. The “Good Food on a Tight Budget Guide” has about 100 foods that “pack in nutrients at a good price, with the fewest pesticides, contaminants and artificial ingredients.”
The guide has tips for eating well, a list of best foods, recipes, tools for tracking food prices, weekly menu planning tools, and a blank shopping list.
Foods are divided into seven categories: fruits, vegetables, grains, protein, dairy, cooking fats & oils, and staples & spice. In each category the very best buys are indicated by a little price tag icon next to them. Within each category, they also point out which foods are a good buy, but may have a high pesticide load. When they indicate a food in that way, they suggest checking out the price for organics for that particular food.
The recipes are a helpful part of the guide, showing ways to use the budget-friendly foods together to make whole meals. The recipe for Barley Stew, for instance, uses several “best buy” choices like barley, black beans, ground turkey, and several vegetables. The recipe also suggests doubling and freezing the recipe — usually a good way to save money so you use up all the ingredients you bought.
For those struggling with their food budget (and that’s many of us), the “Good Food on a Tight Budget Guide” has some helpful information to help skip the temptation of buying pre-packaged foods that somehow manage to stay inexpensive when the price of good, whole foods seem to rise at a quicker pace.