Sure, I can get that bottle of genetically modified soybean oil-based dressing basically for free, but as someone with thyroid disease and a history of anxiety and depression disorders - do I really want to be putting that in my body? Yes, I pay more for the organic cold pressed olive oil I use for salad, but I know what it is, where it came from, how it was grown, harvested and pressed.
Canned soup, in additional to having ridiculously high levels of sodium and additives, often contains hidden starches as thickeners, soy (see above), and are virtually void of nutrients. Besides that, homemade soup is so easy to make, and can be so deliciously comforting.
Fruit snacks just crack me up. Take something nature has gloriously provided us, smack the work "snack" on the end, charge $3 for a box...and parent think they are giving their kids the best of the best. "Why, it can't be bad, it has the word "fruit" in it..." You know what is in "fruit" snacks? (I can assure you, very little fruit): Pears from concentrate, Sugar, Maltodextrin, Corn Syrup, Partially Hydrogenated Cottonseed Oil, Acetylated Mono and Diglycerides, Sodium Citrate, Malic Acid, Xanthan Gum, Locust Bean Gum, Vitamin C (hey guess what, this is also found in REAL FRUIT!), Natural and Artificial Flavor, Potassium Citrate, Color (red 40, blue 1). Here's an idea. Buy the apple at about $0.20 a piece and call it a day.
So here is what I do buy with my precious grocery dollar each week (the products may vary contingent upon price and special offered by my providers, as well as by season, but the average budget remains the same):
- An organic pastured chicken, at approximately $15 will provide a roast chicken dinner, leftovers for sandwiches or another casserole-type meal, and the carcass will be put in the crock pot with fresh water for soup broth x 4 people in my family. 12 meals at $1.25 per meal
- A little over two lbs of grass-fed eye roast for roast beef set me back about $14, and at a four ounce serving per person (grass fed beef tends to lose much less weight when cooking - and has a way better nutritional profile than - than does conventional grocery store beef) will be about 8 servings at $1.75 per meal
- One dozen pastured eggs $4 (farmer's market)
- One pound organic grass-fed butter-$7 (farmer's market)
- $3.75 each week on organic lettuce and wash it myself, spin it dry in my salad spinner, and bag it with lint-free towels to absorb moisture. That provides my husband and I salads for the work-week lunch. For a little over 37 cents per meal (farmer's market).
- At my local farmer's market, a 2-quart basket of honeycrisp apples (or peaches, or pears, or whatever is in season) runs about $6.00 for roughly 12 pieces of fruit (farmer's market)
- For the sake of argument, lets say I spend $15 a week on vegetable/grain produce in each item's growing season. As an example, last week I bought 4 acorn squash for $3. Halved, 8 servings at a little over 37 cents each. Corn when in season is $5 a dozen (41 cents per serving). Farm stand near me sells zucchini & yellow squash during its peak at 25 cents per piece, and eggplant for 50 cents. Tomatoes & herbs in season are free because I grow them.
- Milk, yogurt and cheese $25: I grew up running underfoot on my grandfather's dairy farm, so the idea of unpasteurized milk is not something that concerns me as long as it is sourced carefully from reputable farmers. However here in NJ I have yet to find a good source, besides the fact that the sale unpasteurized milk is illegal. So we do our best to find organic, NOT ultra high-temperature pasteurized sources of milk.The kids drink whole, my husband drinks 2% (and I couldn't convince him to change if I tried) and I stick to mostly yogurt and cheese for my dairy, since I am not very fond of the milk as a beverage thing.
At the end of the day though, the biggest savings is that of our health, I no longer struggle with mood disorders. I eat whole foods without hidden ingredients, including olive oil, butter and full-fat dairy, and I have LOST nearly 20 lbs. My son's delays are improving with good nutrition and the total elimination of food dyes. My daughter's endurance when playing sports has improved, My husband no longer craves sugar in the way he once did. We are all better for eating this way, and if it cost us $500 a week to do it, we would find a way.
(This post is part of REAL FOOD WEDNESDAYS )