I was reading with interest over at Like Merchant Ships when she conducted her experiment of eating with a frugal menu from a 1950’s cookbook. She then posted some other posts of her $50 a week menu and thoughts on whether it was healthy or not along with comments on cooking healthy on a budget. <p> I found it interesting along with Crystal’s dilemma on whether to raise her family food budget of $35 a week to $40 or not, as the things that people can think are huge things. <p> I work with a low budget for food, but I have worked with lower budgets for food. I have seen what eating badly or not eating will do to a person’s health from personal experience and I think there needs to be a balance. I am not personally convinced that eating all organic is all that much better for you, I think there is alot of hype involved with it and am shocked, totally shocked at the price that some farmers can charge for raw milk now! What a money making business! Having a cow is not that hard…..I would love one again! <p> Anyhow, this 1950’s experiment i mentioned above interested me because it was just simple food that was homemade. She lost weight, she did not spend alot of money and was in the kitchen alot. It makes me at least think that maybe i am on the right path! <p> Here are few tips I was thinking about that help me when I am shopping.
- Eat as close to the original form as possible- the least amount of processing that you can get.
- Grow your own food and put it up for the winter when you can, to save money and to have food that is better for you. I have raspberries, cherries, apricots, tomatoes etc. that I know how they were put up!
- Do the best you can with what you have and don’t stress about the big things. For me we eat alot of vegetables, but not alot of fruit year round. In the winter we eat applesauce, canned peaches and cherries and bananas. Sometimes we get oranges. For vegetables, we do not always have tomatoes, but we usually always have lettuce, cabbage and carrots. It may not be exactly what you were craving, but you can make some good things from them!
- If you like meat and use alot of it, double check and make sure you are not eating too much. Check serving sizes. It can help you save money as well. The same with milk and cheese. These are things that are good for you, but not in excess! We were going through alot of milk, so I counted how much we should be drinking with serving sizes and cooking and that really helped. I buy a certain amount for the week and that is all we have for the week. It helps because I do not ration it, but they start to realize that maybe they need to be careful and not waste milk too so they have it for the week.
- Do a little extra work for snacks rather than buying them- this week, one of the boys poured cereal (Raisin bran) and it got all soggy and gross. I used it and made some really good bran muffins (with no sugar added) from it and the rest of the buttermilk that left from making salad dressing. I made them with whole wheat flour too, so they were a fiber rich snack, but I used up food that would have been thrown away otherwise and we did not have to spend money for a different sort of snack. It was a healthy snack, fruit is a healthy snack too, but not as cheap and this was pretty good as far as health goes. We spent $2 for a treat and we all got a nectarine or a plum this week. It was nice, but not for everyday. Bananas are a cheaper snack for fruit,carrot sticks or cucumbers. Nectarines don’t taste that great this time of year anyhow!
- Toast that did not get eaten? Grind it up and add it to your ground beef before you make it into hamburgers, meatballs or meatloaf. We like mini meat loaves made in muffin cups with a bit of BBQ sauce on top. We use only 1 lb of meat, and use oatmeal or old bread crumbs added with an egg or 2 for more protein. Of course we only have 6 of us eating and we eat it with potatoes and salad! Yummy way to use up old dry bread!
<p> Of course some people just say they just can’t do it! I don’t know what to really tell them, but I do feel like we eat fairly healthy and we do not spend that much on food, so I think you just have to look at what you have to spend, what your needs are (health-wise etc.) and then make it an adventure to stay in your budget and get the food you need. I think sometimes the problem is that many people overbuy. I find i spend more if I do not plan meals weekly. I use what i have and only buy what I need for that week unless it is a good sale and I can use it or a staple I always need.