If you looked closely at this picture before you started reading, you probably noticed I made a few food choice changes. Nothing huge. Nothing drastic. But, Casey and I feel that our family should continue our journey toward Real Food eating. I say "continue" because I've been reading about eating Real Food for a few years and do make a lot of our food from scratch but we're no where near the 80/20 yet. We feel making babysteps is best for a lasting, more natural formation of a healthy-eating habit for our family. There are some people who have switched and never looked back and I admire those people, so this slow-paced attempt is just how we do it and not really meant to be advice for anyone else unless it appeals to you. I'm just learning and attempting to implement changes as I go.
One reason that has spurred these changes in our diet has been a slight increase in our weekly budget. Another reason is because Casey is, for the next month or so, working two full-time jobs and needs the best nutrition I can offer him because he simply doesn't have the time to get sick! I'll share more about his new job on Thursday!
We by no means plan to avoid all processed foods or discontinue eating at restaurants. I want to get that out in the open first thing! ☺ Making the decision of what changes to make was time-consuming and I researched prices and source-options. I didn't have enough of a food budget increase to make bulk orders from local farms or from online websites that truly do offer awesome deals when you purchase in bulk but you need to have cash upfront. I'd prefer to get the cheaper price on one item at a time. ☺ However, I could go to my local stores and purchase a few items organic which means that I get foods with no pesticides and higher nutrient content and are GMO-free. I still have a freezer and pantry full of food items that I plan to use up as I usually would and replace them with better options as my budget allows.
I am still working out the kinks and experimenting with menu planning that limits or stretches the meat so that I can afford the better quality meat (grass-fed/organic) within my budget. Of course, the best prices I've seen on meat are to buy a half a cow or bulk order whole chickens which require the monetary investment up front as well as the storage space. I don't have a deep freezer yet where I could store bulk meat (or any bulk purchases) even if I had the money to invest. I will need to do a lot of stretching but I'm still in the planning phase. ☺
I really like the term investment used for our diet. I don't think a clean or local diet is the magic pill to preventing all illness in our lives for God alone knows the number of our days. However, I desire to be a good steward of my own body and that of the lives entrusted to me (my husband and children) so I consider the money I spend on food to be something worthy of research, thought, and discussion with my husband as we would do for any other investment.
This week I spent a grand total of $115.94 on mostly organic pantry staples, fruit/veggies, and milk. I also bought a few "regular items." A few items I purchased which added to my increased bill included items that will last me far longer than a week such as:
- A large bag of onions - these are not organic (they are listed as #1 on the "clean 15" list.
- A bag of flax seeds - these will last me a long time and are mainly for grinding and using as egg-replacer in some baked goods instead of the more expensive organic eggs.
- A jar of coconut oil.
- The organic celery will easily stretch out for two weeks and can even be chopped and frozen.
Next Week's Menu:
- Banana bread and fruit
- Muffins and fruit
- Waffles and fruit
- Oatmeal with peanut butter
- Two days eating out (1. We're were invited to go out for a children-priced movie with my husband's aunt and lunch afterward and 2. To support our local Chick-fil-A on Wednesday!!)
- Grass-fed hotdogs with leftover chili, oven fries, veggie, Birthday Cake!! (I'm making a chocolate zucchini cake homemade and then "ruining" it by smearing on pink store-bought frosting with sprinkles. Okay, I admit it! I don't know how to make frosting without butter and butter alternative just doesn't taste the same. Its a combined birthday cake for my birthday - I'm turning 26 today and my daughter's birthday - turning 2 on July 31st. ☺)
- Spaghetti, cornbread muffins, veggie
- Breakfast for dinner X2
- Refried beans on homemade corn tortillas
- Tortilla soup X2
Its not perfect...but I never aim for perfection. ☺ Casey is working three closing shifts at his new job this week so three nights I will probably serve either breakfast for dinner or beans on tortillas for me and the kids. Our snack options this week are: carrots/celery sticks with peanut butter, popcorn, fruit, and any leftover baked goods I make.
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