Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Budging the Organic Budget Part 1

I am desiring more and more for my family to eat as healthfully as possible, especially since 2 out of 3 of my children are very picky eaters. Unfortunately, our grocery bill is through the roof and I STILL pass up important organic foods because of the expense.

So, I am starting this series, Budging the Organic Budget, as a sort of brain storm of ways to keep the grocery budget down and healthful foods up.

Part 1

Eat more simply.

Variety is the spice of life, but now that I am a busy mom of 3 going on 4, variety can be an added burden. I used to love making all those ethnic, different and gourmet dishes. Planning all those different meals is time consuming and expensive, not to mention all the leftovers that go bad in the back of the fridge because heaven forbid you eat chicken twice a week.

With 2 picky children, making dinners such as casseroles, or gourmet flavorings means a lot of waste. They don't eat it. So, I am taking inventory of simple, healthful meals my children will actually eat and sticking to the healthiest versions of those ingredients that I can afford.

I grew up with the idea that you HAD to have variety in your meals. Then, I found out that back in the old days, meals were quite simple and healthful. Lots of soups, stews, bread and cheese, eggs, oatmeal, apples, etc etc etc. Quick, simple, healthful. Our foremothers had enough to do without spending HOURS and expense on meals. It's ok to eat simply! It really is! Not only that, but you'll savor and enjoy the flavors more! Want variety with less expense? Buy in season!

Here's my first week of buying more organic:

I spent a grand total of $124.00

.29 lbs olives
Marble Jack cheese

Hunt's Natural Ketchup
All Natural Heidl Raisin Sunflower Bread
Dried Zante Currants
Kate's Sea Salted Butter quarters
Store brand baking soda
Sorrento Mozz. Cheese
Bimbo Whole Grain White bread
Attitude Eco-Friendly Biodegradable Diapers
Half Gallon Whole Milk (from a local source)
Organic pickles

Naturally Raised Stew Beef
Angus Loin Tips
Natural Breast Cutlets
Nitrate-Free Bacon

Organic Department
Evolve Kefir
Organic Frozen Green Beans
Organic Frozen Mixed Veg.
Organic Frozen Blackberries
Organic Frozen Blueberries
Organic Brown Basmati Rice
Dried Pineapple slices

Mini Watermelon
Organic Apples 3 lbs
Organic Potatoes 5lbs
Slice Mushrooms
Organic Spring Mix
Organic Celery hearts
Organic broccoli crowns

I get my eggs and raw milk from a local farm.


I should get organic ketchup, especially since my family treats it more like a food than a condiment

Bimbo Bread....yeah I know, but hubby is a Wonder Bread sort of guy. At least Bimbo doesn't have high fructose corn syrup in it!

I don't buy organic milk because it is ultra-pasteurized. The milk I get is from local dairies that do not use growth hormones. This pasteurized store-bought milk is used to make my yogurt.

The watermelon was probably not a wise buy. It is most likely imported and definitely NOT organic. But it was on sale and looked so good!

Where To Save $$:

I'm going to start cloth diapering and cloth wiping to save $$. The Attitude diapers are only $9.99 a pack, but there's fewer diapers in a pack than Earth's Best or Seventh Generation. I chose Attitude because it says they're biodegradable. The other two brands don't say that. I'll use Attitude for traveling and nighttime.

The raisin bread....yeah...that was nearly $4.50 a loaf! I can make that at home AND soak my grains beforehand, making a healthier loaf for less.

The hummus I definitely have to start making on my own. My youngest LOVES hummus, but store bought hummus is so expensive and has questionable vegetable oils in it.


glojo said...

If you buy garbanzo bean flour (I used Bob's Red Mill), it's a short cut to making hummus. It also makes a smoother hummus. My daughter makes hers from dry beans she cooks and then she manually removes the skins before she purees them. It's delicious, but a lot of time intensive work.

Just One said...

The hummus caught my eye too :) I usually just use a can of chic peas from the cheap store and whiz it in the oster. I add various items to it, but usually besides olive oil and fresh garlic I have herbs in the freezer to add the green (basil, oregano, parsley, pre-"whizzed"). Easy peasy.
Cloth diapers I was going to suggest but you already did also!
Ketchup is so high in sugar that unless it was for your husband, or absolutely critical to get nutritious items eaten, I'd try to come up with another substitute. You know best on that one :)
So, I had to look up what Evolve Kefir was - a milk kefir. Want some grains? I have some from a year or so ago that I enjoy, and that's an easy way to save some money if you're up for the learning curve. I typically just use vanilla and stevia (just a tiny bit) but I've been known to add fruit when I'm feeling fancy. Let me know, and I'd be happy to send them to you. (no charge/no pressure/no strings)

Nurturing Faith and Family said...

sounds like a good start! i was going to suggest cloth diapering, then i saw you covered that at the end!
we too started shopping this way a few months can be a little more costly sometimes, but we cut back in other ways-example: bye bye cable tv! planning does help, i need to do better on that part!
We buy fresh, organic produce whenever possible, and grown our own as well. We just started buying our meat and chicken from a local farm, so much better for you, and i know the conditions in which the chicken was raised!
make sure you're careful of the "natural" label on different foods and meats..there really is no standard for a company to stick that on there, anyone can. Make sure it has the USDA organic symbol, and for meats i think it's just good to get direct from the farmer! :)


Kate said...

Brenda, I would love your kefir grains, but my VERY picky and strong willed 3 year old daughter will only drink the strawberry kefir from the grocery store. I even tried making my own strawberry kefir and putting it in the store bought bottle. She knew the difference and refused it. She drinks kefir because she has digestive troubles and it helps. Although, I'm limiting the kefir to one bottle every two weeks rather than 2 bottles every week because I've learned what foods to avoid for her AND I found Nature's Plus Animal Parade children's chewables Tummy Zyme which has helped her tremendously.

Jackie, yes, I read labels and the "natural" chicken I bought today is substandard. The chickens are devoid of antibiotics and hormones, but are fed a vegetarian diet. Not to mention, it's boneless and skinless. Ugh. I buy most of my meats from an organic grass-fed farm, but it is next to impossible to find chicken on a regular basis. Also, my order from the farm hasn't come in yet, so I had to supplement with store bought inferiority. Thus, I get the best the store offers.

Also, Jackie, you're reading my mind for my Part 2 on this series! :)

Thanks, ladies!

Nurturing Faith and Family said...

can't wait to read! and so crazy, but i just "liked" a comment on facebook...and realized it was yours! haha how random!

Kate said...

That's neat, Jackie...what comment did you "like?"

Nurturing Faith and Family said...

i agreed with you on whether or not to salute the flag in homeschool