Saving Money on Groceries: Part 2

29 Apr

Here is part 2 of my grocery tips.  Don’t miss part 1 here

Tip #2:  When buying & serving  food, I get the most nutrition for my money that I can.

For example, when buying food for breakfast, I very rarely buy cold cereal.

First of all, it can hardly be called a food.  It’s like processed flour, sugar, chemicals, and sprayed on vitamins (do those even get absorbed?  highly doubtful.)

Second, cereal isn’t very filling (in other words, it is not cost effective.)  My teenage boy can eat an entire box all by himself.

What do we eat instead?

3-4 days a week I serve “soaked oatmeal”  That is yogurt with raw oatmeal stirred in.  You can find delicious recipes for this on theyummylife.com.    My kids like it very simple, just plain yogurt, raw old-fashioned oats, brown sugar, and craisins.  Most of my children prefer this to cooked oatmeal.  However, in the winter I often serve hot cereal (cooked oatmeal, steel cut oats, or cracked wheat mush.)

Other Breakfast items I often make are whole-wheat  pancakes, muffins (make enough to have again for after school snack) biscuits, fried potatoes & eggs, bean and egg burritos, toast & eggs

Think about the price per pound of the snack items you usually buy.

Bananas vary in price from 29-50 cents per pound.  Crackers cost anywhere from $1.50 to $4 for a box that is usually less than a pound.  Also, like cold cereal, crackers from the store are just processed flour, sugar, and chemicals.  No real nutrition for your money.    See Saving Money on Groceries,Part 1 for more after school snack ideas. 

When buying vegetables, consider the following:

**more color = higher nutrients, so I often get red potatoes or sweet potatoes instead of russet potatoes, red cabbage instead of green cabbage, and so on.  Ice burg lettuce is the palest of the lettuces.  I almost never buy it.

**buy what lasts longer in the fridge.  Romaine lettuce & Kale last way longer than spinach, so I usually choose them.  If I do get the quicker perishing veggies, like cucumbers & spinach, I make sure to use them within the first 2 days of buying them.  If I don’t use all my spinach within a couple days, I put the bag in the freezer and use that spinach in a smoothie or soup or lasagna, rather than let it go bad.

When buying fruit, I stick to what is $1.50/pound or less unless it is a really special occasion.  This includes canned, fresh,  and frozen fruit.  If it costs more than $2/pound, I don’t buy it.

I plan my meals according to what produce is on sale, or make substitutions at the supermarket if I am surprised by a sale.  For example, you may have a Chicken Cacciatore recipe that calls for green bell pepper, but Zucchini is on sale for $.99 a pound and bell peppers are $1 each.  Make the Cacciatore with zucchini instead.  Your family will love it, maybe even more than when you made it will bell pepper.

When bananas and strawberries are on sale at ALDI, I buy as much as I am able and freeze them for making smoothies.

I soak lentils and alfalfa seeds to make sprouts.  I like to eat them plain.  My family will eat them in salads and sandwiches.  These are super high in nutrients and so inexpensive.

When buying meat, I only buy chicken and pork at $2 pound or less.  I only buy beef for $3/pound or less.  If it costs more, I just don’t buy it.  This usually means I have to wait for sales, or buy a 1/2 a cow at a time from the butcher.

In most recipes, like soup or spaghetti sauce or casseroles, you can reduce the meat called for by half, and your family will never notice.  Since we eat mostly meat-free, I regularly sub in beans for meat.  Navy beans for chicken, lentils for ground beef, etc.  But your husband has to be on board for you to get away with that.

Two winters ago, we super lucked out, and a white-tail deer wandered into our yard and hung out for about an hour.  My husband finally called our bro-in-law who is a hunter and he came and shot it for us.  Thirty-five pounds of ground venison fed us for a whole year.  I think venison is delicious and very economical, as long as your husband doesn’t go crazy buying hunting gear.  This year, my husband spend quite a bit of time hunting, but had no luck actually shooting anything.  We have high hopes for next winter.

That’s all for today!  Join me again for part 3!

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