Monday, June 14, 2010

Food, Food, Food

When I was an undergrad student at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, my roommate (the lovely Katy over at A Mama Being) and I used to spend $60 a week on our groceries.  We'd each chip in $30 and head to the store together with a calculator.  We didn't splurge on things like Tropicana Orange was always frozen, from concentrate.  Times were tight on our student budgets, but we always managed to have yummy, although quite processed, foods.   

Now that I shop for a family of 4, things have changed.  Every day I am tackled with the following questions:
  • What's for breakfast?
  • What's for lunch?
  • What's for dinner?
Providing this many meals daily gets overwhelming at times, especially when the kids don't eat what we do most of the time.  Even if I prepare a dinner they can have (allergy friendly that is), they rarely eat/enjoy it.  I made Shepard's Pie last night and they didn't even want to look at it.  The little guy just pushed it around on his tray and kept pointing at the hot dog I had microwaved as back up (my mistake for having the back up option displayed on the table!). And the babe had to be fed, bite by bite (in the form of an airplane, train, car, etc.), by her father.

I try and use fresh produce as much as possible, and stick to whole wheat add ons.  I rely heavily on veggie dogs, soy nut butter/jam, and organic chicken nuggets (which cost a boat load) for the kids.  All the choices I make at the grocery store always seem to end up costing an arm and a leg.  Organic is great, but pricey.  Getting meats and fish that are not tainted with a gazillion poisonous chemicals costs money.  And, as you probably well know, it can really get overwhelming when you go to the grocery store as much as parents do.

My days of $30 a week for food are long gone, but I am trying to think of ways I can trim our grocery bills down.  We are blessed we can spend more on our food than I was able to as a student, but sometimes I wonder about whipping out the 'oll calculator and trying to stick to a shopping list a little more than I do.  At the same time, I have accepted that healthy food costs, and the cost is worth it when you consider the alternative.  Our diets are so intrinsically linked to our health.  I am convinced that it's best to get in front of potential health problems while also setting the kids up for a lifetime of healthy eating.  In the end, our health is really the most important thing we have.   

So I suppose I will continue to keep our garden growing, look for the sales, try and buy bulk, and use everything that I purchase.  If you have any tricks of the trade, feel free to share!

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