Like so many subjects, when you ask the question “How do I save the most money when it comes to food?” You will discover that you can save a lot of money but that what you end up with in the tummy and body is not the best for you healthwise.
So I’ve made some choices regarding food health for my family.
Number one: I will have to spend some money. While I could potentially save lots of money, I will end up with products that are highly processed and often full of things that are not in our best interest.
Number Two: one way that I control costs of buying health foods is to really work with the family so that we learn proper portion size.
Number Three: A lesson I’m learning from European friends, EAT SLOWLY! Enjoy the food we have, savour each mouthful! Why? Well first of all, there is that whole 20 mins that the stomach takes to register with the brain that it is full. That would be my unscientific understanding.
Then there is the the study I read about chewing. It turns out, according to this study, that a person seems to have a set number of times they chew per meal. They would give a person the same food and portions and then regulated how many times each individual chewed each mouthful. They discovered that after a certain number of chews the average person would declare themselves full to bursting and refuse to eat more. If pressed the person would often report nausea.
Then there is the fact that if you inhale your food you can’t taste the flavour that I work so hard to put into the food in the first place.
Number Four: The best way to insure quality and nutrition is to invest my time. The best way to save money with quality and more expensive ingredients is to invest my time. I am going to have to invest my time to be frugal when it comes to food.
We all know there are foods and products out there that allow us to save time in the kitchen. We either pay for these with money or with a nutritional trade off. That being said, there are products out there that do save us time without costing a lot more and without any real loss of nutrition.
I’d consider cooked chickens one of those items. I also consider frozen vegetables on of those items. I like the veggies for another reason too. And there are definately some breads that you can’t reproduce at home in regards to health value and cost. As are some of the diet foods. There are times you can’t repeat various things at home.
Number Five: The biggest waste of food dollars is the food that I carefully select and bring into my home and then via my neglect have to throw away because they have gone bad. That is pure waste!
Some of my tips:
-frozen veggies: These are a staple in my freezer. I have replaced my canning with these. I find I can’t beat the quality of these flash frozen in the field vegetables. Their nutrition far out-strips my work! And they have the added benefit of rarely going bad.
-good storage containers: prevent the spoilage before it occurs. So I use Fridge-smart containers with my fresh fruits and veggies. I use the Tupperware Modular mates to store my dry goods, and I use the Tupperware Freezer-mates to store my frozen veggies once opened. This isn’t an ad Tupperware! At the time, they offered the best products I could find and by selling it for a while I was able to earn my products. On our budget that was a win for me!
-organization. I have a very organized kitchen. Now I have the work history of working in kitchens for pay from high school on. There were many jobs cooking in kitchens. I’ve learned speed comes from organization. And Speed means I’m more likely to eat at home than eat out. With organization comes the gift of making sure you don’t waste food that is perishable. It still happens, but it is something that I find has been dramatically curbed in our kitchen since we’ve been married. This is a lot of money savings.
-core recipes. I have a collection of well over 200 recipes I use frequently. Of those I have about 50 that I would consider my core recipes. These are recipes I know we like, I can make in under 30 mins from start to eat, and that I have the ingredients for at all times.
-shopping list and pantry. This is one of the things we struggle with. Namely because one of my participants refuses by Omission to assist me. But I have a pantry that is very stable. In weeks of lean I can live off our pantry for quite sometime. Now that we have our freezer full of meat, I can feed us for a very long time. However, there does come a point where we’ll be eating but at a reduced nutritional value. Sometimes that has to happen, but most of the time we can skip the groceries for about 1 month with no loss of nutrition. The shopping list belongs with a person trying to maintain a pantry because there is no way you can remember what you need when shopping with your assistants!
-lentils. Learn to cook lentils. Learn the ways you can suppliment your diet with these powerhouse dry gems. History shows that the amount of meat we eat now is rediculous. Lentils were the way that our Great-grandparents and back lived! If I could we’d go vegetarian several days a week. Kind of going every other day. My hubby won’t hear of that and isn’t on the same page as me, so I compromise by drastically reducing the amount of meat we eat. And often I will go vegetarian.
-shopping. Use a list!!! shop close to home and make only 1 trip per week at max, I manage on 1 trip per 2 weeks. Make this a rule! You will avoid more of those temptation buys! Also, find a good bulk store, frozen and dry goods. You will save money if you are rational and shop these stores carefully. Don’t give into the great bargains, for example the strange flavoured cheese or something 😆 And don’t buy a new item at a bulk store that you haven’t tried in small portions from a regular store. Why? You could very well end up with a wasteful $ dud. Skip the variety stores if you can. This is a bit of thing with me. I’d rather not keep the candies and ice cream easily available, the weight is very hard to loose. So I do shop at the variety store we can walk to for those items. In away I find the higher cost does help me think twice, and I get the healthful benefits of the walk to the store for the treat as well.
-most of all time. Seriously make the time. I try to have a rule that I must be in the kitchen daily by 4:45 p.m. That is to have supper ready by 5:30 p.m. give or take a few minutes. I don’t actually menu plan. While I thrive with planning in many areas of my life, I am at heart a creative person. I have planned out months of menus and so forth and found myself ditching them very quickly, usually after a week. But I kind of work on a few days ahead schedule. I listen to the family, to my cravings, and plan to make that dish in a few days. Since I now use dried beans, if it is something like chili I make a note to myself to schedule it for the next day and first thing that morning get my beans started. Unless the recipe requires Navy beans. I can never get them soft enough in one day, I need two for Navy beans!
Well, that’s about it for my mind right now. I’m sure I’ll think of something I forgot later on!