On a budget? You can still eat nutrition dense food, like pasture-raised eggs.
"I can't afford pasture-raised meat."
If you feel this way, you're not alone. We hear this frequently, and we get it! You might be relieved to know, however, that you can still get similar - if not better - nutritional results from animal-based foods, even if you're not eating meat. The truth is that all animal-sourced foods provide essential vitamins, macro- and micro-nutrients, and minerals. And some of the most nutrient-dense foods are also the most budget-friendly.
So what should you prioritize if you're on a limited budget? Here are the best products.
Eggs are one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet. They're packed with vitamin A, B vitamins, choline (an essential nutrient for brain health!), and iron. They're also one of the best sources for quality, easily digestible protein.
Yet eggs are also one of the cheapest options - and one of the easiest to add to your cooking routine. Just incorporating eggs into a few meals a week can make a significant impact upon your health.
Of course, all eggs aren't created equal. Research shows that pasture-raised eggs have significantly higher levels of nutrients than barn-raised eggs. And given the problem of greenwashing and misleading egg labels, it's not always easy to know how hens have been raised. That's why we advocate knowing your farmer, and learning their specific practices.
When it comes to cooking eggs, low-heat methods best preserve the nutritional quality of eggs, especially methods that keep the yolk whole. Although you can still get plenty of nutrition from scrambled eggs, poaching, boiling, or frying eggs will give you the most bang for your buck when it comes to absorbing nutrients.
A perfect balance of carbohydrates, fat, and protein, whole milk is considered a complete food - and one that helps your body thrive. In fact, researchers have discovered that the saturated fat in milk actually promotes heart health, rather than harming it.
Whole milk from pasture-raised cows is an excellent source of protein, B vitamins and vitamin D, and calcium. You probably already know that it promotes bone and dental health. But you might not know that several studies found that whole milk actually helps maintain a healthy weight, too. This is due to the high intake of calcium when you drink milk, which promotes fat breakdown and prevents fat absorption in the body.
Beyond drinking your milk, we love making homemade yogurt! Beyond the nutritional benefits from milk, yogurt is also a lacto-fermented food, strengthening our digestive system and providing important immune-boosting benefits.
Bone broth is not like the watery boxed liquid from the store. Real bone broth is thick, gelatinous, and bursting with nutrition. High in collagen and gelatin, it supports immune and joint function, aids sleep, and promotes digestive health. And, of course, it's cheap - whether you're investing in a literal bag of bones or saving up the scraps from leftovers.
To get your bone broth just right, here are a few tips:
- Use lots of bones. Your pot should be 1/2 to 3/4 of the way full. The more bones, the more gelatinous (and full of collagen) your broth will be.
- Use organic, seasonal produce to infuse flavor. This is one of our favorite ways to experiment, and it's also an important step to making your broth actually taste good. Make sure that your veggies are organic, if possible - you don't want to contaminate pasture-raised bones with pesticide residue.
- Cook low and slow. You can pressure cook it (about 2 hours in the Instant Pot), slow cook for 18-24 hours, or cook it on the stovetop for a similar amount of time (although this is more intensive, and frankly, stressful).
Pasture-raised bones are your best option for nutrition. Animals raised on grass get more exercise, sunshine, and live calm, low-stress lives, all of which contribute to the nutrient density contained in their bones and meat.
Now that you know the best budget-friendly options, where will you start? And if you already eat pasture-raised food, what are your favorite products for a limited income? Share your ideas in the comments below.