As a mom I believe part of my job description is not only to feed my family but feed them nutritious food that helps their bodies thrive.
New International Version (NIV)
"27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."
While we are to be wise in our decisions for healthy eating and living healthy lifestyles, I do not believe God wants us to have a spirit of fear about it. I think we need to eat the best that we can with what we have been given. If that means that we can not buy all organic food then we should be at peace with that in knowing God is watching over our bodies and our health and will protect us. I'm not saying that we can go eat fast food every day and just expect God will protect us from having a heart attack (which He's perfectly capable of) when we are making poor choices.
I once became caught up in that. I was spending beyond our means to eat healthier organic foods because I was fearful of what the articles I was reading were telling me... that non-organic products could be harmful to our family. While eating organic may be an option for some families, it was very straining on our budget and stressful on me. Then God revealed to my heart that I needed to place my trust in Him not what the latest health food magazine or article was saying. I needed to trust Him for His provision and protection. If He didn't provide it, then we must not need it because He will provide for ALL our needs.
New International Version (NIV)
5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,
“Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you.”[a]
God also wants us to be good stewards of our money and spend what He has given us wisely.
So with four kids, myself and a husband to feed, how am I able to feed them nutritious meals on a budget? Today was my grocery shopping day. I took pictures of the products I bought and will explain why I bought them. This will give you a glimpse into how I feed my family. :-) This was not a HUGE grocery order but it's enough to use as an example.
Since this is 3x more expensive than white refined sugar I use this cane sugar in beverages, toppings, etc. I still use white refined sugar in my baking but just reduce our "sweets" intake. If you're wondering what the difference between white refined sugar and cane sugar I found this article very helpful.
This Stevia sweetener is my back up sweetener in case I don't have any calories left for the day but would still like a sweetened glass of tea, coffee, etc.
Honey is a great alternative to white refined sugar. It has a higher glycemic index and breaks down slower in the body. I use honey in beverages, on bread, on cereal, and my friend even uses it on her chicken. :-)
I'm so glad that for the last few years I've been eating ground turkey since there is all this controversy surrounding the "pink slime" in ground beef. I always bought ground turkey because of the lower fat content and price. Since I used this ground turkey in sauces and casseroles the difference in taste was minimal. Ground turkey is cheaper than ground beef and better for you.
I buy iodized sea salt for my baking salt, table salt, etc.
My goal is to be making my own condiments and dressing, but until I find the time I try to buy natural products (not necessarily organic, but free of preservatives, artificial ingredients, etc).
Now cheese is one thing I just buy whatever is on sale or the cheapest and try to reduce our use. This bag was $8.38 for 32oz. Usually I will stick this bag in the freezer and make it last a while. **Check the comments below. Missy pointed out that shredded cheese contains cellulose (found in drywall) and her family buys block cheese and shreds it themselves. Great tip; thanks Missy. (I think you will be finding block cheese in my frig from now on!)
I like buying a lot of Tomato Sauce, Diced Tomatoes and Crushed tomatoes and making my own spaghetti sauces, pizza sauce, salsa, etc.
These are great for making homemade salsa or for topping any Mexican dish.
I used to buy Skippy's all natural peanut butter and then Great Value came out with their own brand that is cheaper. .Only peanuts, oil and salt. :-)
This is something new I'm trying. I've never had liver before but I've read there are many health benefits and it's rich in nutritional value. I will be looking for some recipes to help disguise this so my kids will eat it. :-) It was cheaper than both the ground turkey and ground beef.
I LOVE sweet onions. I don't buy these organic either. I just make sure to peel the first couple layers off and throw them away. I also will chop these and freeze them so their ready for use.
Yum! It's always nice to have Jalapenos on hand! I will keep these as is and use them as I need them. Whichever ones I haven't used by the end of the week I will chop and freeze.
I almost never buy nacho chips anymore. If I do buy chips I stick with ones that only contain corn, oil and salt. :-) These go great with homemade salsa and are a lot healthier than Doritos and store bought French Onion Dip.
Simply switching from white rice to brown rice is a lot healthier and won't hurt your budget that much.
Carrots are one vegetable I do buy organic. The price difference is next to nothing so I see no need to stick with the regular carrots.
Eventually I would love to start making my own whole wheat tortillas but for now these are the ones I bought.
I always buy the unsweetened Apple Sauce to avoid any high fructose corn syrup. Then we just add a little cinnamon at home. I like my kids to be used to the more natural flavors of foods rather than the overly sweetened products.
Bananas are healthy, cheap and my kids LOVE them. Everyone has a banana as we head out the door in the morning and sometimes as an after school snack. So this bunch may not even last until the end of the week. :-) I really do have little monkeys running around my house.
I usually do not buy any beverages other than milk. I make my own homemade iced tea and lemonade. It's better for you and, in my opinion, tastes better. :-)
One of the ways I am going to try to offset the costs of eating healthier is by using cloths diapers for Joey. I will still use disposables when we go out, but when we're at home I will use cloth diapers. I will post more about cloth diapering later.
I am also using cloth wipes. They are better for sensitive skin (which we all have) and more cost efficient. Another option is making your own disposable from paper towels.
Some Other Ideas:
More ideas I have about saving money and being healthier are:
- Making my own spice mixes (taco seasoning, crock pot seasonings, etc) and having them ready to go.
- Making homemade crackers
- Making homemade bread
- Making homemade dressings and condiments
- Making meal plans
- Watching sale flyers, buying sale items (healthy ones) and making my meal plans around that
- Try to stop running to the store for one or two items until I REALLY need them to save on gas.
- Stop buying boxed dinners and make my own "boxed" dinners by assembling dry ingredients and "wet" ingredients for meals in ziploc bags and keeping them in the cupboard or frig.
- Have a snack/meal on the go bin in the frig. I will have pre-cut veggies in small portions, juice boxes, premade sandwiches, etc. That way if we're in a rush we can grab something from home quickly instead of buying fast food.
- Use coupons when I can (a lot of coupons are for products I won't use so my coupon selection is limited).
- Make my own cleaning products and hygiene products (that's already in the works!)