“Eating healthy is too expensive.”
How often do I hear that? All the time.
One of my friends that reads this blog, asked me to do a blog on that issue, to explain how I do it, and how I feed a family of four kids and two adults, 8 cats and 2 dogs on the money we spend.
Before I start, I should say that I don’t shop at Aldi or any half price anything. I don’t grocery shop at WalMart although I do buy supplies there for the household. However, were I given a small town choice, that carried what I need, I would take it. Sadly, living in Rural Iowa, that simply doesn’t work much of the time. While a quick “oops need that” run will suffice at the small town stores, they simply don’t have enough selection to justify me shopping there weekly like I do otherwise.
“Why don’t you shop at Aldi?”
- The food is green/unripe/damaged, picked over, packaged in groups that are not useful to me usually, and tends to spoil faster for all of the listed reasons.
- The food really isn’t that much less expensive in the long run, mostly for the above reason.
- Their food is lower quality than I prefer to feed my family.
“Why don’t you use coupons?”
- Coupons are typically for items that I do not buy, or for quantities that I will not use in time to make it worth the money to buy.
- coupons entire goal is, as an advertisement, to get you to buy their product and buy MORE of their product than you intend
- I resent being used that way, and keeping track of cost and waste has made me choose, for me, against couponing. If it works for you? Grand.
- I used to be a cashier and I HATED coupons. The instilled resentment is probably coloring my opinion – won’t lie.
- In all my years of clipping and using coupons (about 3 years during a determined stage of my life) I never saved any long term money on anything. I did the math and when coupled with my personal dislike of stray bits of paper and clutter, it really just didn’t work out for me.
“Why shop at Hy-Vee?”
- They are “employee owned” … which I don’t completely understand but I know the workers there have been there a long time and seem very happy. I see a lower turnover than other stores.
- Their produce is well tended and handlers are trained – no bruised fruit here.
- Their prices are competitive.
- They offer a member card – certain purchases earn me pennies off my gas prices which adds up quickly.
- The “friendly smile in every aisle” is no joke. I enjoy my time there.
So there’s my free ad of the day for Hy-Vee.
I spent roughly $67 on apples (2 bags), pears (1 bag), oranges (2 bags), spaghetti squash (1), 2 boxes of fresh sliced mushrooms, baby carrots (1 lg bag), carrots (2lbs), shredded lettuce (4 bags), 1 lg bag of potatoes, and some corn husks (tamale style).
Last week I bought green onions, onions, mushrooms, apples, oranges, fresh curly parsley, 1 zucchini, 1 yellow squash, and a bag of cranberries. For roughly the same cost.
I typically buy all of the above and sweet potatoes, bananas on sale, grapes on sale, cabbage heads (red and green both), cucumbers, and occasionally squash.
As I have stated before, it comes down to using these things before they spoil. And as aware and careful as I am, I still sometimes lose items to waste. IF I was a single woman, that $70 would buy me a month supply of the same veggies listed. That’s not bad at all.
In comparison, processed food costs more to feed the same number of people the same day. It just seems less expensive – even when it’s not. It’s easy to eat and prepare. It doesn’t go bad if you forget it. And it tastes “good” to you. But in reality, once you go to raw food, you’ll never be able to go back to that cardboard tasting stuff ever again.
When you stop buying processed foods, you’ll discover you eat less, not more. This is due to there being less sugar and less chemicals that are designed to make you eat more. Chewing your food also changes how you feel after you eat it. Raw food requires you to chew it up and the process of chewing is satisfying. It’s why we like potato chips. If you are serious about your health and weight loss, try the following things for that crunchy and satisfying snack:
- slice up celery into bit sized bits to snack on in place of chips
- use snow peas or sugar snap peas in place of unhealthy snacks
- baby carrots are easy to eat and satisfying to chew
- baby cucumbers are a thing – try them!
- cut up broccoli and cauliflower as a healthy snack
- cut fresh fruit into slices to eat as finger food
- pineapple tidbits or chunks are a great ‘sweet’ treat
There are also healthy alternatives to chips such as sweet potato chips that you make yourself. Slice up a sweet potato into slim wheels and lay on a sprayed cookie sheet (I use olive oil spray). Spray lightly with oil and bake for 15-20 minutes. Or, as an alternative, place pepperoni on each slice and then layer another on top. Spray lightly and bake for 20-25 minutes.
Here are a few rules of thumb when eating raw food and keeping it fresh:
- Process your food into sealed containers such as cut up celery, sliced green onions, chopped fresh spices, or lettuce. Never leave them out in the air either in your kitchen or in your frig.
- Place onions, potatoes, and sweet potatoes into a dark, cool, dry place to keep them fresh and unspoiled for weeks. Do not keep these items in plastic but in a breathable sack or their original mesh.
- Place fruit in baskets in the open air and do not leave them in sealed or plastic containers. If fruit flies are an issue, place some apple cider vinegar in a cup and place the cup near or beside the baskets (or between them).
- Process sweet fruits such as bananas once they start to turn brown skinned. Mash into a bowl and add a splash of lemon juice and some honey – then freeze for later.
- Process stone fruits by slicing thin and placing on a wax sheet after dipping into a mix of lemon juice and honey. Freeze overnight and then peel off and place in freezer safe sealing plastic bags such as Ziploc. (This works for apples too.)
- Freeze tomatoes whole and in their skins in a freezer safe bag. When ready to use, run the tomatoes under hot water and the skins will peel right off. They will be ready to core and use, or process in a food processor.
- Only buy enough fresh spices and herbs for you to use in a week as they spoil quickly – even in a closed container in the frig.
As you can see, eating raw and healthy is not more expensive but it IS more work. No, you can’t just grab a frozen dinner and pop it in the microwave but your body, your health, and your pocketbook will thank you.