Friday, March 5, 2010

Grocery Shopping, Gardening, and a Confession

I think I will start off with the confession. We are a meat and potatoes kind of family. Glad I got that off my chest. Trying to cook from scratch and make healthy meals is really a challenge for us. My kids have been eating processed food for so long that I make things and sometimes they never eat any of it. The almost 20 year old it is not a big deal for because he is gone most of the time, between work and school and doesn't really eat here very much. I like salads, but not really any other veggies. My children have followed in my footsteps. I am still trying, just not succeeding very well.

Grocery shopping today was depressing. I read all these wonderful blogs about people getting fresh locally grown food. We live in a small town with only two produce stores and they don't really carry local grown food. I have a friend with chickens and as soon as the weather warms up I will be purchasing or bartering for her eggs. I have looked in to organic beef online and I just can't afford it. We have a friend at church that know most of the county and I am going to check with her about local beef and chicken. Here is what I spent for groceries that will barely last us two weeks. 13.00 at the produce store for cherry tomatoes, bag of red potatoes, 6 pink lady apples, bunch of bananas, bag of spinach for salads, and a bag of red seedless grapes. At Walmart I spent 49.37 for nesquick, cocoa pebbles, sugar, three bags of chips, taco seasoning, two boxes of mac and cheese, spaghetti noodles, clothesline and pins, bread, toilet paper, two bottles of diet soda, dishwasher detergent, two packs of muffin mix, cheezits, and a gallon of bleach. At Ingles I spent 66.58 for taco shells, dry milk, cereal, beets, choc. chips, spaghettios, pizza sauce, two bottles of soda, shredded mozzarella, gallon of milk, block of Cheddar and mozzarella cheese, cage free eggs, roast, three containers or ground beef, pepperoni, frozen burritos, frozen biscuits, chicken nuggets, and fried chicken from the deli. I know there is alot of processed food in here and items I could make myself, but the kids won't eat it. So do I just let them starve and fix it anyway? As soon as it warms up we will be container gardening on our decks and landing (we don't get enough sun anywhere else to garden in the yard) and we plan on planting blueberry bushes, lettuce, herbs, strawberries, tomatoes, and some carrots and potatoes down at a neighbors house. Sorry this has been so long. I think we really need to get out of the thinking that every meal needs a meat on the plate and that will cut down on money per meal. Any advice would be appreciated.


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The Zoo Keeper said...

The town is started a community sustained garden where the sod farm is. I have the info and will give it to you. The 1st meeting is tomorrow (I think). You can buy ground turkey that is 85/15 for good prices and I use it like ground beef (much cheaper and no one knows the difference). You can put Mother's Oats in most sauces and up the fiber content of foods and no one here knows it's been done. Buy only the "red X" meat and I am buying chicken legs for things like soup and chicken pie. I have an easy recipe for chicken pie that Grace should eat. We need to get together!

Tracy said...

Oh Diane! I hear your struggle!!! To the very last letter!!!! We have strived to be more frugal (as you know) BUT that would mean eating unhealthy as the processed foods are soooo much cheaper! I was about to blog this evening about our we choose to spend more money now in order to save on health care costs in the future? Or do we pinch pennies now, eat the processed food and deal with the health consequences when we get older (or in the near future?). Joe and I discussed this many many times and we came to the same with the spending of extra money now in order to save on our health in the future. So with the new meat and raw foods we are buying, our budget soared to almost $250 more every other week!!! It seems ridiculous I know, but I have cut corners in so many other areas, that we are not doing too bad. I bought wheat and rye in 50 lb buckets for almost $1/lb less than what I would have bought at the health food store! I had to spend a bit for the wheat grinder, but that was a one time cost. The wheat is great....for every 1 cup of wheat grain, I get 1.5 cups of wheat flour.

Anyway, as for your kids, remember that kids will not starve themselves. Georgia did get sick when we took away all sugars, but she also rebounded VERY fast! She does eat quite a bit more foods than she used to....eating salads, tried a few bites of carrot, and quite a few other things I can't remember right now. For the most part, she is still a picky eater, BUT she no longer wallows about trying something new. She eats a bite and if she doesn't like it, no biggee. She even eats my whole wheat pancakes WITHOUT syrup (so does everyone else). Since we did the sugar free thing for 5 days, it seemed to help all of us to not crave it any longer. I would only recommend taking that jump if you are ready to go processed food free. And yes your kids may not like it, but the bottom line I tell mine is...."This is what we are eating for dinner (lunch, etc) and if you don't like it you don't have to eat it, but you may not have any other food". I do not hold it for the next meal though. And if say they like 2/3 items I made, and they want seconds of those, I tell them "Not until you finish your....". Works VERY well.

So I know this is long, but I want you to know you are not alone! So many women are struggling with the same exact issues! This economy is horrible and we have to do the mest we can with what we have. Say some extra prayers and allow God to lead you and your family to better health. He has truly helped us in so many ways! I will say prayers for you too!

Tonya @ Live the Adventure said...

Is there a co-op that you can buy from? If not, if there is enough interest with your homeschool & church friends nearby, you could start one. This would allow you to purchase in bulk and save money that way. In Ohio we had a bulk food store that I would visit once a month the savings on bulk really added up if it was stuff that could be frozen or could be used up fairly quickly. Sometimes I would divide it with friends just to get the best prices.

Is there a Farmer's Market near you during the summer? I try to find one nearby when we're traveling. We found an awesome one when we were staying in a hotel in Virginia. I'd get my fresh produce and goat's milk soap there ! Loved it!

To cut costs on meat prices, ask the stores you shop at what day they normally put out the reduced meats, buy them and spend the day browning the meat or freezing it right away to be used at a later date. I did this at home on a regular basis and saved a ton of money because we are also a meat and potato family.

Also, I cook a lot of meals that have meat in them, as this appeases my husband but doesn't use as much meat if the meal was focused around the meat. We'll eat a salad with chicken breast, soups with meat pass at our house. I'm trying to remember some meals. If you are interested and email me I'll send our favorites.

We do eat a lot of fruits and veggies, but I don't necessarily get them grown locally, it's too hard to keep up with as we travel. Just when I get accustomed to someplace, we move.

When we first began trying to eat healthier, I beat myself up each time I thought we failed. Now I've come to the realization that we'll get there little by little. If it's processed and we can cut it out, good for us. If not right now, we'll get there.

Hang in there!It will get easier. Blessings!:)

Tanya said...

Lots of wisdom there from those ladies. It's great when you enjoy reading the comments every bit as much as the post.
My daughters could be a bit fussy about vegetables so we disguised a lot in mince meat in the early years. I used a food processor to mince carrot, zuchini and celery then added this to mince. With this mix I made lasagne or used it as a pasta sauce, like bolagnaise. This was helpful for getting the vegetables into the kids but also helping to stretch the budget. To this day Emma happily explains to people how I got her to eat vegetables so she didn't know it but enjoyed it.
Do you know what else...they hated silverbeet or spinach and they weren't big fans of tofu, but they LOVED my version of Spanikopita (spinach pie). I used loads of silverbeet, and substituted the ricotta for a block of mashed tofu and used only a little cheese. It's a very economical meal and contains loads of iron, folate, calcium and protein. The girls liked the filo for a change (spray olive oil between sheets, not butter) and the poppy seeds on top.
They are just two of our favourite healthy low cost meals we used to love as a family. I was a single Mum and my total income was $23,000/year (one third of most households) and I still was able to pay my mortgage and eat good food. Like Tonya said, little by little you'll get there. The processed foods have got to go though because they are killing you financially and physically. Learn to ignore a lot of comments from the children, especially "There is nothing to eat" they will still say this at 24 with a kitchen groaning in food. Luckily the other thing they will always say is, "If you're coming to visit, do you think you could make....". Blessings