Eating Healthy as a Family and on a Budget
Many people already know that I like to be “frugal”. Ok Frugal may be a little gentle, I am CHEAP! I like to get a big bang for my buck with everything in my life, if it is a new pair of shoes, clothes, vacations… anything and everything. When it comes to saving money, NEVER make a purchase without first searching for a coupon or promo code, almost everything out there has a discount. For example I purchased contacts today and I found a 15% off promo code… ChaChing!
Saving money does not have to stop there. When I talk to people about eating healthy the first response I get is… “but it is so expensive to eat healthy” Actually, it is NOT. If you choose to eat Paleo, Flex dieting or whatever method you choose, it is all about choices.
First, you need a support system, if it is your friends, co-workers, gym mates, anyone.. The biggest support system will come from your family and those that eat most of your meals with you.
Second, do NOT make seperate meals for others. As a mother of 2 (12 and 9) it is sometimes hard to not make something extra for them, but I quickly discovered children love to mimic what you do. Stick to your guns, but do not make it a huge deal. Get them involved in the prep and they will be more likely to at least try what they prepared. My daughters new favorite veggies are brussel sprouts and she only tried them because she helped make them.
Third, make a meal plan. Start by knowing what you have on hand and then look at the local sales in the area and see what proteins, fuits and veggies are on sale before planning out what you want to prepare for that week. If you plan first and then make purchases you will find that you spend twice as much money. I also purchase all my items and then start deciding what to make, if a recipe calls for a particular item that I do not have, I just adjust the recipe or go to Plan B. Making extra runs to the store for that 1 recipe/item will add up quickly. Get the kids involved at the store as well, have them pick out the veggies or fruits from your list and they will take ownership of this and again be more willing to try it.
Do not steer away from what is on sale, I LOVE blueberries and cherries, however I know they can be very expensive so I do not buy them unless they are on sale. Also, get to know your grocer and ask questions, there are certain days/times that they reduce their meats, and use your calculator, just because it is “on sale” does not mean it is cheaper than other places.
Most importantly, stay away from the interior aisles as much as possible. This is where all the junk is anyways, these items are not part of your meal plan AND this is where it adds up on the bill as well. When you buy less junk you will automatically see a reduction in the total grocery bill.
Of course, we have treats in the house, but of course only treats that are on sale 🙂
If it is possible in your budget, buy in bulk. I recently purchased a 1/4 cow, up front it was expensive and I had to buy a freezer (which I found on craigslist for $80 regularly priced $400). In just 2 weeks I have already seen a reduction in cost as well as time. I have the meat on hand at all times and know exactly what I have for meal prep. Also, the quality for the price is so much better. Prior to purchasing the cow with a family of 4 my average grocery bill was less than $100 and I rarely go over $300 in a month. It is possible to eat healthy on a budget. Cut the junk and help your wallet at the same time.
Just a few thoughts to help you stay on track physically and financially as you continue on this journey.