Well it's been almost exactly a year since I posted on here, (and what a year it's been!) and while I'm not exactly doing the same type of posts as I did before (although I might be able to get back into that later on), I'm going to use this blog to showcase my attempts at the All You Grocery Challenge! Basically, you sign up to compete for a $1000 grocery gift card and the way it works is that you have to commit to spending only $25 per person per week for groceries and eating out. Infants don't count towards the total, so for our family, we have $100 a week to spend. Luckily you'll be able to also use previously stockpiled ingredients as well. The contest begins June 20th and you can go here to sign up for yourself. Prior to the start of the contest, I'll be sharing the contents of our stockpile, the proposed menu and then during the contest I'll share our grocery trips and tips, recipes and cost breakdowns. I think it will be fun!!
I'm by no means a gourmet chef, but I do enjoy cooking and preparing healthy meals for our family. We've been working on switching over to a more healthful diet over the last year or so and right now at this point this is what it looks like for us:
- We eat "real" food and try to avoid man made, chemical laden processed foods. That means butter instead of margarine, sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup, real cheese instead of pasteurized cheese product, whole milk (we'd do raw milk if we could) instead of lower fat milks, etc.. You get the point!
- We steer clear of fake sweeteners (like those found in diet products).
- I make our own seasoning mixes, mostly taco at this point, to avoid extra chemicals (especially that dreaded MSG!)
- We use 100% whole wheat bread. Although for buns it's probably a 50/50 split on whether or not they are 100%.
- We use brown rice instead of white.
- We eat fruits and vegetables (without added sugar or sauces) with lunch and dinner, as well as for snacks. We're currently switching to organic produce, especially those on the top ten list, but we haven't finished that. Especially since I've got so many canned and frozen fruits and veggies to use up.
- We try to incorporate beans into at least 2 dinners a week.
- We buy locally raised (and hormone, antibiotic free) beef, chicken and pork at a smaller local market in the Dayton area.
We're not by any means super strict with the diet at this point, but we are working hard to give our children healthy starts on their lives. Our son, Noah, used to only want chicken nuggets for every meal. Now he eats vegetables at every meal (carrots are his favorite!), soups full of veggies and beans (and loves them!), homemade meals instead of boxed meals and he loves it. Now, that is. He didn't start out loving it. But we offered him the foods he wasn't too keen on with every meal, and he wasn't allowed treats (snacks or desserts) if he didn't eat the foods he was given and it took awhile, but now he's willing to try anything and usually likes it. It was a lot of work to switch his eating habits, but I'm so glad we pushed through the hard times and are where we are now.
While we are still a "work in progress" in regards to our diet, that doesn't mean we don't occasionally have boxed mac and cheese, hotdogs, or boxed cereal (although that's my current project: weaning off sugary cereals and going to a cheerios only allowance!). We also eat out sometimes. We frequent kids eat free nights at Skyline or Chick-fil-A. We also have lunch out after church every Sunday. And who can resist a Chipotle burrito?? Not me!! I'm happy with our choices at this point. I feel good about working consistently to better our diets and incorporate these healthy choices into our grocery budget. You'd be surprised how easily you can stretch the more expensive healthy meats by adding in beans, rice or pasta.
So anyway, that's what we're doing. I'm sure some of you would laugh at our efforts, saying it's not nearly enough, while others of you may find it useless to worry about. But we are doing the best we can right now and we feel good that we're working very hard to incorporate as much food the way God intended it, as possible. So that's our story and we're sticking to it!!! :)
More to come soon....