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Gourmet on a Dime: DIY Health Food

Save money on four expensive and trendy health foods without missing out on any of the super-nutrition.

| March/April 2015

  • On her blog Lemons & Anchovies, Jean Pope gives instructions to make this beautiful, one-ingredient almond butter. Visit her at
    Photo by Jean Pope
  • Brown bread with pork fat spread is a traditional food in Germany.
    Photo by Getty Images
  • Blogger Paula Rhodes offers instructions and a video demonstrating how to make homemade Greek yogurt on her blog, Salad in a Jar (
    Photo by Paula Rhodes
  • You can order the Euro Cuisine YM80 Yogurt Maker for about $22 from Amazon (
    Photo courtesy Euro Cuisine

Keeping up with the latest nutrition news and food trends is exciting and empowering. It feels good knowing we’re eating foods with the highest levels of antioxidants, omega-3s, phytochemicals and other powerhouse nutrients. However, although eating the widest variety of whole foods is the smartest way to get all the nutrition we need, some health foods get expensive. Instead of cutting out the nutrients, let’s consider great substitutes and smart DIY recipes for healthful foods so you can get all the nutrition without breaking the bank.

The four following health foods are worthwhile additions to your plate. Here we offer them as examples of how you can save money and increase nutritional value when it comes to dietary trends.

Almond Butter

Perhaps you’ve heard about the many health benefits of almonds and converted the lunchbox classic PB&J to the lesser-known but power-packed AB&J sandwich. Almonds can help lower cholesterol; reduce risk of heart disease, inflammation and cancer; improve blood pressure, blood sugar, digestion, immunity and cognitive function—all while helping maintain a healthy weight. But so can other tree nuts. With a jar of almond butter approaching $10 in some stores, it’s wise to look for ways to save.

Making your own nut butters is incredibly easy and it’s a great way to save money. If you enjoy a range of nut flavors, including Brazil nuts, cashews, chestnuts, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts, you’ll be able to shop for deals on unprocessed nuts (if it’s a great price, buy extra and freeze some for later). Plus, by diversifying your nut intake, you’ll invite a wider range of micronutrients into your diet: Brazil nuts are packed with selenium; hazelnuts are filled with folate and heart-healthy proanthocyanidin; pecans increase metabolism; pistachios support the vascular system; and walnuts have more antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids than any other nut.

How to Make Nut Butters

Add whole nuts or nut pieces to a food processor or high-powered blender, such as those made by Blendtec or Vitamix. If you’d like to add optional salt or honey, a good ratio is 1⁄2 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon honey per cup of nuts. Process all ingredients on low speed at first, then faster, until a cohesive mass of nut butter pulls away from the sides of the mixing bowl. Scrape out and store in an airtight container; eat within two weeks.

Bone Broth

One of the world’s oldest comfort foods, bone broth is having a hip health-food moment right now. A spot in New York City sells 8 ounces of bone broth for the low, low price of about $5. I’m not saying it’s not delicious. But I am here to tell you that you can make a huge batch of bone broth at home out of ingredients that you might have thrown away otherwise—so basically for free. Extras will freeze perfectly for you, and the work involved is minimal.

5/28/2019 1:24:19 PM

Mom used her old Osterizer blender to make nut butter of what ever nuts we had available. Blackwalnuts were plentiful but a lot of work to crack. I liked Blackwalnut butter on apple slices and Brazil nut butter on celery sticks. Fresh Peanut butter was so good from fresh roasted peanuts that Mom had to put it away right away or I'd eat it by the spoonful.

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