Whole Foods, the organic grocery chain, is putting bars in some stores that will serve beer and wine. Their goal is to get you so drunk that you don’t notice their prices — Jay Leno, The Tonight Show.
Oh, relax. Not dissing the competition, nor editorializing about booze. Just making a segue into this blog’s topic – eating well without going broke in the process.
For many, the quest to fill the cupboard with good stuff is no laughing matter. I mean, domestically, wholesale food prices zoomed by nearly 10% this year. That was the largest such hike in 37 years. Most of it’s the price of fuel, but some of it’s crazy stuff like global politics, like when the Ivory Coast cocoa crop was held hostage some time back, affecting prices here. Anyway, a recent University of Washington study found that, yep, a healthful diet is difficult for the cash strapped to afford.
But don’t dispair, you can still eat well on a budget. Just takes patience, common sense and a few tricks. Cooking is, of course, cheaper than eating out. Groceries-wise, guess it would help to know what’s nutritious and what’s not. ChooseMyPlate.gov can assist with that.
Naturally, the more times you frequent a store, the more you’ll bag unplanned goods. So, make a list and stick to it. And if you plan your meals the less likely you’ll be to pluck extras from shelves. Check recipes twice so that all ingredients are gotten in one fell swoop efficiently using petrol. It helps to maintain a staples-packed pantry.
Is there a crisper or rotter in your fridge? It pains all of us to throw away good food, so consider freezing. Chop up and freeze veggies. You can also contain costs by buying in-season foods. While we’re at it, whole fruit is less pricey than fruit juices.
If you buy water, larger sizes are less expensive than single-serve packages (yes, you’re paying for the containers).
Shopping at one store saves you gas. Restrict the family to one large snack bag (if at all) each week. If you’re shopping frugally, avoid pre-cut stuff. Check web sites for sales, of course, but try to know what to do with the food!
Vegetables and whole foods are more nutritious and less-costly than processed foods. The point is to go to one damned grocery store. But eat first; we know not to shop hungry, don’t we? Stock up on stuff like eggs, which are cheap and full of protein, and canned tuna. Ditto.
At day’s end, the fewer bucks we shell out for the bad stuff, the more dollars we have for what’s right. Greenback-stretching is no excuse for poor nutrition, if we are smart.
Indulge a joke: Little Johnny and his family lived in the country, and seldom had guests. He was eager to help his mother after his father appeared with two dinner guests from the office. When the dinner was nearly over, Little Johnny went to the kitchen and proudly carried in the first piece of apple pie, giving it to his father who passed it to a guest. Little Johnny came in with a second piece of pie and gave it to his father, who again gave it to a guest.
This was too much for Little Johnny, who said, “It’s no use, dad. The pieces are all the same size.”