Sunday, January 25, 2009

Grocery Totals & Ponderings

It's been awhile since I've listed my weekly grocery totals. But my grocery budget has been on my mind quite a bit lately. Last year my journey towards healthier eating for the family began by learning to cook meals from scratch instead of buying boxed, convenience foods. I've even impressed myself with the things I've learned to make on my own. Dave is especially pleased because when we were first married the extent of my cooking was baking frozen chicken breast in tin foil tents and mixing canned veggies with instant rice.

As I read more about whole foods and traditional diets, I feel this is the direction I want to take our eating. However getting there can't happen overnight. And for us it may not mean going "all the way". But just continuing to educate ourselves and make better, healthier choices along the way.

The amount of information regarding nutrition is at times confusing and overwhelming. There's a pro and con argument for almost everything under the sun. I'm also trying to resist the urge to jump into this with both feet and just focus on the following small steps:

(1) Continue to cook meals from scratch; focusing on simple dishes to save time and expense.

(2) Increase the amount of organic vegetables and fruits in our diet (while shopping with the Dirty Dozen list in mind)

(3) Begin using natural sweeteners for baking (not sure what I'm going to do about my sweet tea!)

(4) Learn how to make from scratch versions of meal components like cream of soups, broths, soup mixes, etc.

(5) Explore the benefits of cooking with coconut oil (I have to admit, I'm a bit hesitant when it comes to coconut oil because it is high in saturated fats. But there seems to be a ton of health benefits associated with it).

(6) Begin eating organic or free range eggs (since these can be pricey, it may mean learning to cook with inexpensive egg substitutes like ground flax seed)

With this new undertaking, I'm going to have to get back to the basics to make sure our grocery budget doesn't go spiraling out of control. That means consistently shopping with cash, keeping a price book and meal planning.


Total spent: $112.36
Total savings: $37.73

Whole Foods:
1 can pineapple chunks
1 can organic tomato sauce
2 lemons (sale 2/$1)
3-6ct frozen Organic whole wheat tortillas
1 bag frozen organic corn
1 whole chicken (sale .99/lb)
2lb organic bananas
1 organic green pepper
2lb organic braeburn apples (sale .99/lb)
1/2lb fresh green beans
3lb organic red potatoes
3/4lb organic seedless raisins

Total oop: $29.49

Harris Teeter:
1 reduced bag of organic tomatoes -- 1.17
1 reduced bag of organic roma tomatoes -- 1.15
1 reduced bag of organic zucchini -- .80
3 gallons HT organic milk -- sale 4.99 ea

Total oop: $18.45
Total savings: $1.80

Lowes Foods:
4lb bag sugar
3 Fixodent denture cream (for my Mom!) -- Lowes Q 2.49 - .75/1Q doubled
1 LF chili powder -- sale .99
1 dozen Full Circle Cage Free brown eggs -- sale 2.79
1 Smart Balance oil -- 2.95 - 1/1Q
3 Quaker Old Fashioned oats -- sale 1.50 - .60/1Q doubled
1 Pace salsa -- sale 1.99 - .50/1Q doubled
1-3 lb bag PAWS dry cat food -- sale 2.49

Total oop: $15.71
Total savings: $23.33

10 Juicy Juice -- sale 2.49 - .50/2Q doubled

Less $5 Promo

Total oop: $15.35
Total savings: $12.60

for diapers and shredded cheese -- $33.36


Still Learning said...

Hi Mary Ellen, I have been through this same dilema many years ago. I was a Produce manager for Publix Supermarkets for years too so I do love my veggies. I will caution you about one thing as I was in the produce business. The only "real" benefit of the organic stuff is not having the pesticides residue. But, you can wash that stuff off real good in the sink. Now, if you could buy organics from a farm that gave their fields rest periods so the nutrients that are depleted from the soil have time to replenish themselves you would have a better veggie for sure. Also, if you buy organic fresh veggies try to do it from a busy store because I can tell you that the organic stuff sits there a long long time so a lot of it is old and depleted of a lot of the good stuff. Does this sound preachy? I hope not, I just used to be in the business for 18 years. I did the whole coconut oil/ flax thing but the family complained so much I quit doing it. I use peanut oil and olive oil for everything now. I was doing all of the good "nutrition" stuff but the family hated it so I began to look at how the Europeans and the Asian people were eating as they are typically very healthy and thin with much less disease. So for my family's picky tastes we went that way. Flax is good, if you can use it I would. Just be careful, it makes you go poo. Definitely keeps the colon healthy, which is great. Just in the beginning y'all may get a little gasy and need to use the facilities quickly. Ahem. But I sold lots of flax seed over the oil. Kids need much less flax than the adults so most of my flax people would spread the seeds in a salad or grind them for their own dishes. I also learned you can cook foods in juices instead of oil. Pork chops for instance taste wonderful cooked in pineapple juice. We love plantains and they cook up beautifully in pineapple juice. Apple juice works too. I like the pineapple juice best because after I use it to cook I can pour a little from the carton in a glass and add some coconut rum and suddenly cooking dinner is a little more delightful. Ha ha.
Wow, what a long comment. I wish you luck, it's a big switch and potentially an expensive one.

Mary Ellen ~ Carolina Momma said...

Doesn't sound preachy at all Jen! Thank you so much for the advice! And you're right about buying from a busy store. I purchased a bag of organic oranges from one of the Kroger stores here. The very next day, one of the oranges had already rotted! So now I go to a larger, busier Kroger.

Pork chops in pineapple juice sounds delish!