Happy New Year! With the resolution season in full swing now, I thought I’d take a step back from diapers for a moment and talk about something else: eating healthy on a budget. I know that two of my resolutions include my health and fitness, and also keeping our finances in order, and I’m sure some of you are in the same boat.
A lot of my friends have asked me how I manage to spend less than $100 a week on groceries and eat so darn well. I’ll say this first: I don’t have any special tricks like others do. I don’t use coupons, because most of the food I buy does not have them. I don’t buy in bulk, I usually don’t buy what’s on sale, and I don’t buy the cheap stuff.
The first step is to set your budget. My husband and I look every month and decide that we will devote $100 per week for groceries. If we go over, well, we have to decide if we want to splurge on that ice cream or not. Simple as that. Every family should look at their needs, financially and food-wise, and make their own budget from there.
The next thing I do is create a monthly meal plan. This is only for dinners, because breakfast is typically the same thing (scrambled eggs with veggies, and fruit), and lunch is usually leftovers or something simple like soup. I used to make a weekly meal plan but it started getting out of hand because I had no idea what would happen the next week, and if I could save certain meat or veggies for another day. Seeing the month in full really helps.
The last thing is to go to the store! Keep an eye on what you’re buying. I spend the majority of my time in the produce department, and 90% of my cart is full of fruits and vegetables. I very rarely go down the aisles, only to pick up replacement foods such as spices, various canned foods, and coffee for my husband. I don’t buy cereal, I don’t buy pasta, and I’m definitely not getting processed junk!
If you stick to the outside of the store you will see it’s the healthiest food: produce, meats, dairy, etc. That’s where I spend my time. I only buy enough food to last us that week, so that come next Tuesday when I go shopping again, my fridge and pantry are down to the bare bones. Nothing goes to waste.
So there you have it: A quick run down on eating healthy on a budget. Make a budget and stick to it, create a monthly meal plan, watch what you’re buying, and stick to the outside edges of the store where the healthiest food is found.
Chantal Shelstad, a self-proclaimed “crunchy” stay-at-home mom who lives in Alabama with her daughter, Penny and her husband, a pilot in the Army. Chantal is more than happy to own up to the fact that cloth diapering parents have to face plenty of difficulties, transitions, stigmas (and yes, plenty of poop!) …but it is still worth it in the end.