I live in a small town in rural Nebraska. I am surrounded by smaller towns, and tiny towns, and lots and lots of big, huge corn fields. We can drive to Lincoln to a Trader Joes in one hour, or to Omaha to a Whole Foods store in two hours. Neither of those options is convenient since we don’t make trips to Lincoln or Omaha very often.
Therefore, I just assumed that eating healthy foods would be out of the question for our family. Where was I supposed to buy high quality food without having to drive 100 miles to go shopping? And then, would I even be able to afford the food at those specialty stores?
For our family – thinking outside the box when it comes to finding healthy food resources has been a very good idea. There are healthy food options all around us – we just had to go about our grocery shopping adventure a lot differently than what we considered to be “normal”. We do purchase a few items at our local grocery stores and at Walmart – like bananas, clementines, and a few other organic produce items that they might carry occasionally. Otherwise, here is how our family now purchases groceries:
We order from a health food co-op.
Azure Standard has been wonderful for us. We order online once a month, then pick up our food when it is delivered right here in town. Their prices are unbelievably good. I encourage you to look into joining a health food co-op as a way to find whole foods at a reasonable price. If Azure Standard doesn’t deliver to your area, look through all the comments on this post to learn of a health food co-op option that might be available where you live.
Here’s a sample of what our food co-op order looks like.
We order food online.
Ordering groceries online has been an incredible help and money saver for us. Not only has this been super convenient, it saves us money and gives us all kinds of wonderful whole food options – right at our fingertips. And having groceries delivered to our front porch – it does not get any easier than that! Tropical Traditions, VitaCost, Mountain Rose Herbs, Cultures for Health, and Amazon
are our favorite go-to online resources. We watch for sales and free shipping deals, and have learned the best way to get good prices while shopping online. Here is a detailed list of what food we purchase from each of these online resources.
We buy food from local farmers.
We are blessed to have friends and farmers around us who raise animals in a way we appreciate (grass fed, free range, no hormones or antibiotics, etc). Our eggs, milk, beef, lamb, and chicken all come from sources close-by. North Star Neighbors is located a bit far away compared to our milk and eggs sources, but our town happens to be right on their delivery route. Yep, for a small delivery fee, North Star Neighbors delivers meat right to our doorstep. We pick up our milk and eggs once a week from friends. In addition, we take advantage of our farmer’s market each summer and fall. If you’re looking for local healthy food options, I encourage you to check out LocalHarvest.org to see what resources are available where you live. Also, start asking around to others who you find are interested in healthy eating to see what their food sources are. You might get a few crazy stares from people, but hey, you might also find out who sells raw milk or grass fed beef in your area!
We grow food in our own garden.
Our garden provides us with green beans, tomatoes (for sauce and soup), peppers, potatoes, corn, and a variety of other yummy foods that are simple to preserve. Also, if we don’t have space to grow something, but others around us do, we aren’t afraid to make a trade or work out some sort of deal in exchange for picking some produce in their garden or on their fruit trees. Again, it never hurts to ask! Often, we get garden/tree produce for free when people have an abundance. Then, we get to work, canning, freezing and dehydrating all the produce. Here are all of my posts detailing what and how we preserve foods.
We work with our local grocery stores to special order food.
Have I mentioned that it never hurts to ask? In the past, we’ve talked to our local grocer about special ordering cases of food for us, and they’ve been happy to accomodate. They have even given us a good deal on these purchases since they know that since we’re buying the entire case, none of that food will spoil on the shelves.
As always, remember that we are all different, our food sources are all different, and we all have different family sizes and budget amounts. We’re all on the same team here, just looking for ways to encourage one another on our healthy eating journeys.
What are the best healthy food options where you live? Have you found ways to think outside the box when it comes to whole food purchases?