I’ve been posting lately about saving money on groceries and chilling out about eating “perfect” food all the time.
This post sums up how I think I have personally gotten a little out of touch with reality when I scoff at bins overflowing with beautiful produce just because it isn’t all organic.
I’m thankful for the peace that has come with letting go of some of my ‘rules’ and inviting God to speak to me about how I spend our money and how we can be more generous with it if we are willing to simplify and let go of some things.
However, I do believe that the food we eat has an impact on our bodies.
Junk in = junk out.
I think life is precious and that our bodies are a gift and should be treated with care. For me this means trying to eat food that will be good fuel and not just empty calories.
Plus, Andy and I have both slimmed down and feel overall so much better when we make wise food choices.
All of the recent convictions I’ve had about our grocery budget have challenged me to think about what things matter most to me and what things I can loosen up about in order to save money each week.
I’m a list girl, so naturally I’ve made a couple of lists to help guide my purchases each week :)
First there are some things I’m loosening up about…
- Cheese. I’ve decided that having a little cheese here and there in a salad or a Mexican dish makes it so much tastier and more satisfying. A little bit of cheese never hurt anybody!
- Produce. I go to an independently-owned produce market that has incredible prices. It’s not all organically grown, but I’m ok with that. I save money there and feel good about supporting local business and I’ve decided that eating a big salad, albeit not organic, is so much better for me than so many other things I could be eating.
- Rice/Quinoa/Oats. For a while I swore off grains almost entirely (save some occasional pizza because a life without pizza just seems sad) but I’ve come to terms with the fact that grains are a good way to bulk out a meal and as long as they aren’t highly refined and processed, I think they are just fine. Brown rice, quinoa and steel cut oats in particular have made a comeback around here. I’m still weirded out about wheat although we do eat it sparingly.
Then there is a list of my non-negotiables. I’m not going to fall on my sword for these things, but I have decided that they are a priority for us, so I make time and room in the budget for them…
- Quality meats. We shop at a local Amish market that sells grass-fed, humanely raised and slaughtered meat and I just feel so much better about it than conventionally raised meat. For the record, I would never EVER scoff at any meat that I was served at an event or someone’s house. Relationship trumps all food rules for us PERIOD. I just like to vote with my dollars when I can, so I spend our meat money at this market.
- Organic Carrots and Celery. As much as I’ve let go of the idea of eating all organic produce, these two I just can’t seem to get over. It may have something to do with reading that whole crops of carrots are sometimes planted to purify contaminated acreage because the carrots draw so much out of the soil that they actually “clean it up” (being underground growers). That image never left me, so I decided to spend a little extra on organic carrots and celery.
- Quality Oils and Fats. From all the reading I’ve done, coconut oil and olive oil are some of healthiest oils to consume. I won’t go into all the reasons why, because you could totally google it if you’re interested :) I stay away from corn oil, vegetable (soy) oil and canola oil. Margarine is also a no-go around here.
- Natural Peanut Butter and HFCS-free Jelly. I’ve mentioned that my Grace goes gaga over PB&J sandwiches, and I feel better giving them to her when the PB isn’t loaded with sugar and hydrogenated oil and the jelly doesn’t contain High Fructose Corn Syrup. Walmart and Aldi are great places to get natural PB and HFCS-free jelly at low prices :)
- Organic Milk, Butter and Yogurt. Butter isn’t as bad as the diet industry has made it out to be. Organic and grass-fed butter (if you have the money to spend) is stable at higher heat and offers great taste in baking and preparing things like eggs, potatoes and fish. I spring for organic butter as often as I can because contaminants and pesticides tend to be more concentrated in the fat of the animal, so you’re getting a higher concentration of them in things like butter and cream. I also believe in spending extra money on organic milk. We don’t consume tons of dairy around here, so I feel like it’s worth it to buy organic. Raw is best, but it’s hard to come by (because it’s nearly illegal to sell in MI and costs $$$ when you can get it).
- Juicing. I kind of fell off the juicing bandwagon for about a month because I got busy and kind of lazy. Andy and Grace both mentioned several times that they missed our green juice, so I climbed back up and made a batch of juice the other day. Juicing requires time and extra produce, but it’s something I feel good about and that we as a family enjoy, so I’m trying to commit to juicing 3 times each week.
The main way I’ve been able to save money on groceries is to prepare simpler meals. Instead of coming up with a very full weekly menu including lots of exotic dishes with long ingredient lists, I’ve been making around 3 simple meals each week and making bigger batches so that we have leftovers. Eating soups, stews, chili, salads, and simple meat/sweet potato/veggie meals keeps things very simple in the ingredient department and it has totally saved money.
Again, I’ve not perfected my new system, but I’m saving considerable money over my prior weekly budget, so I’m thankful for the progress I’m making!
Do you have any tips for saving money on groceries? Any favorite meals that are budget-friendly and healthy?
I’m always open for new ideas and inspiration!
And don’t forget to give back this season by helping feed 5o families for Thanksgiving! Click on the graphic below for details!