Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Eating Healthy Is Just Too Hard & Expensive

When we started to change our eating habits, I was sure that my grocery budget was going to go through the roof! I mean, buying fresh organic foods, grass fed beef and cooking from scratch wasn't going to just take all my time but it was going to cost a fortune! At least that was what I thought.

Boy, was I wrong!

Now, before you think that I didn't have to get a little creative with my food budget in the beginning, let me set the record straight right now, I had to get REAL creative. But not for the reason you might think. It wasn't because organic costs so much more, it was because I was going to be doing a lot of cooking! About that same time, we decided that we didn't really enjoy going out to eat very much because the food just wasn't very good so we were going to be eating many more meals at home. I was going to be cooking 3 meals a day just about every day. I mistakenly thought that I had to cook 3 separate meals each and every day from then on out. Thankfully, I learned to combine cooking for several meals to save me some time and money. I'll talk about that some other time.

Let's dispel myth #1-Organic costs too much.
Truth- Organic does cost a bit more than some things but not everything has to be organic. There are lists floating around in cyberspace showing the Dirty Dozen-fruits and veggies that should always be bought organic, and the Clean 15-fruits and veggies that have very little pesticide residue. So you could save money by only buying the dirty dozen organically. One thing that works well, if you live in an area that has one, is to visit your local Farmer's Market. Sometimes, local trumps organic. Ask the farmers how they grow their product. Many times food is grown organically but just not certified. You could also grow your own. Gardening can be your best friend! It is a great workout and you get rewarded for all your hard work with wonderful, fresh, healthy fruits and vegetables.

Myth #2-Processed food is cheaper
Truth-You are right on this one. Processed food is cheaper. But not in the long run. You will spend all those savings (and much more) in higher healthcare costs. Not to mention all the fun you will be missing out on by not being as healthy as you want to be.

Myth #3- I don't have time to cook from scratch.
Truth-Really? What exactly is taking all your time? Before you leave me nasty comments, hear me out. Cooking from scratch does NOT have to take hours and hours every night. It is going to require a bit more time and a bit more organization but not the hours you may be worried about. There are several "tricks" you can incorporate into your routine that will save you oodles of time. Most importantly? Plan your meals. You cannot get food on the table if you A:) don't know what your having and B:) you don't have a properly stocked pantry.
Also, make 2 or 3 meals at once. Making Spaghetti with meat sauce? Brown a few pounds of meat for tacos or casseroles for later in the week at the same time. Making beans? Cook extra for meals that week or for the freezer.

The freezer is so important in from scratch cooking. Pick a day when you have a few free hours and make several meals for the freezer. There are sooooo many blogs and websites that specialize in freezer meals. Google it and get cooking. It doesn't take long to put up a weeks worth of meals in the freezer. In a few hours your freezer will be stocked with homemade meals that will nourish the bodies of your family. No drive thru can do that!

It doesn't take much longer to make homemade foods than it does to open and cook a box of nuclear orange macaroni and cheese but the benefits of that homemade meal definitely outweigh any draw on your free time.

Something I wasn't expecting is that my grocery bill actually has gone down since we changed our eating habits. Because I am no longer buying premade, prepackaged food, I use that money to buy staples such as flour (for breadmaking), sucanat/raw honey, etc. I can make many more meals from staple foods than I can from boxes, thus saving me money. Wherever I save, I can put that savings towards organic foods that cost a bit more.

With just a little time and effort, you can feed your family "good fuel" and give them the best chance at a healthy ever after. Isn't that kind of what us parents are supposed to be doing anyway????

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