Whole Foods on a Budget?

Whole Foods has sometimes been dubbed as “Whole PayCheck”…  Chef Chris Chisholm, whom works a the Arden and Eastern Whole Foods Market, challenges that a family of two can have stick to a $200 budget, shopping at Whole Foods, for all food and beverage ingested in a month!  

His budget, for he and his girlfriend, included meat (although less than usual), cow milk, veggies, fruits, eggs, pasta, bulk beans/lentils/grains, tea, etc. (Vegetarians can dump the meat and Vegans can also get rid of the eggs and dairy. Both can opt instead for rice, almond, hemp, or coconut milk and increasing tofu, grains, legumes, veggies, and fruits).  

During the challenge, they avoided restaurants, salad bar/buffets, and other types of prepared foods, included frozen meals (dollars add up fast here!)
… all meals were made from scratch and home cooked. 

He used the 7P’s in his planning process: Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance.

  1. Clean & prepare all veggies as soon as you return home (more likely to eat, and not let go bad, if ready to eat).
  2. Cook rice, beans, and lentils ahead and store in fridge.
  3. Pick a day to make several meals for the week.
  4. Buy from bulk section.
  5. Take advantage of sales.
  6. Make extra for leftovers (and actually eat them!)
The key to the above three points is the fact that the items are ready to eat… if you have to cook, but don’t have the time, one might opt for something less healthy or spending something more expensive that is precooked from a store or restaurant.  
Due to becoming more conscious and personally preparing all meals, his end results were:
  • Saved a whopping $400 off his usual monthly spendings (prior to the challenge: $614 in one month; During the challenge $197 in one month!)
  • Lost 14 pounds of body weight
  • Had more sustainable energy throughout the day (due to overall healthier eating and more awareness around food choices and intake)
  • Eliminated dinner arguments (thus better love relationship and less stress?)
Some extra helpful hints he shared were: Precooked beans lasts 5 days, rice lasts a few days (although gets dry, so toss into a soup!), soups/stews/etc. last about a week, store all foods in glass container for longer lasting, lettuce/greens such as chard and napa cabbage should be kept on the head until ready to eat to last longer; however, loose greens should be rinse immediately, rolled on a paper towel, and then wrapped in paper towel and stored in plastic zip up, and finally freezing precooked meals will allow foods to last even longer.

Thanks and please email jill@sacyoga.com if you have any extra tips!
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