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Old 07-16-2008, 10:57 AM
 
Location: West Texas
2,441 posts, read 5,246,318 times
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I'm spending a ton of money in a store where prices are rising as fast as the gas prices. Trying to feed my kids healthy, my wife and I are making additional sacrifices. I just bought a watermelon, 2 cantaloupes, and 2 honey dew melons... and I could have bought about 4 bags of chips for the same cost. Not only that.. but as often as we try to have salad and fresh vegetables with our meals, it's incredible! I'm spending $200-$250 per week for me, my wife, my MIL, 16 year old son, and 15 and 11 year old daughters!

Anyone else struggling to keep good food on the table? Seems cheaper to buy crap (junk) food than healthy! And they wonder why our society is getting fat. Exercise is only part of it.. the fact we can't afford healthy food should also be addressed?

Anyone else have thoughts, inputs, or recommendations?
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Old 07-16-2008, 11:15 AM
 
Location: Philaburbia
31,165 posts, read 57,302,589 times
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I hope to God your kids like peanut butter.

Seriously, though. First, don't buy anything that isn't on sale. Whatever's on sale, that's what you eat for the week.

Don't think of food in terms of pure cash outlay; think of food in terms of more bang for your nutrition buck. Skinless, boneless chicken at $1.99 a pound on sale is a nutrition bargain. Beans are, too.

Think of foods that satisfy, so that a little goes a long way. Serve whole oranges vs. orange juice. Whole grain bread instead of white. Get your kids to love tap drinking water!

Also, with the fruit and veggies: Buy in season when you can; for instance, citrus fruit will be most expensive now and in the fall, since their peak season is winter. And hit the farm markets, too!

Quote:
Seems cheaper to buy crap (junk) food than healthy! And they wonder why our society is getting fat.
Amen to that. It's outrageous that a sack of tasteless, nutrition-void Chips Ahoy costs less than one fresh canteloupe. And also points to why people wonder why low-income family members may be overweight: Cheap food is carbs, and carbs pack on the pounds. Also, full-service grocery stores with fresh fruit and veggies are as rare as ice storms in August in low-income areas.
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Old 07-16-2008, 11:16 AM
 
Location: Looking East and hoping!
28,227 posts, read 19,213,228 times
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I just mentioned this to DH when we were shopping the other day.

I am eating much heathier than I have since we moved here-lots of fresh vegs., salads, fruits and was amazed at the huge jump at the checkout. Told him "it costs bucks to eat healthy." I feel for you with feeding a family that size. Our daughter has 6 kids (4 teens) and spends over $800 a week. Food shopping is an Olympic sport at their house.
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Old 07-16-2008, 11:17 AM
 
4,899 posts, read 16,250,807 times
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i know what you mean. i cant believe the price of produce. and lately even walmart is not that great with the prices and they offer just a couple of choices, but put them in different areas to fill up.
the thing i do is go to different stores for different things. go for the sales, use coupons with the sales etc.
do you have an aldi's near you?
i dont buy much there, but they sell salad in a bad with shredded carrots and cabbage for $1--which is less than a head of lettuce alone.
i also buy TP and paper towels there because i figured out they cost even less than the "sale" ones at other stores.
when i see a sale on meats i go for it and freeze as many as will fit. a couple of months ago the local food lion had a sale on fryer chickens--$.59/lb--never saw any cheaper. they were about 5lbs each and i bought 6 of hem. still have a couple left.
another thing we are doing is we planted a very small garden. i didnt think it would amount to anything--but you know what?! try buying 1 bell pepper these days! i have gotten 2 so far and 3 more coming fast--"free"
same with tomatoes and i cant tell you how much squash. Basil basil basil--i love it on everything and we hae made pasta with pesto at least 8 times with just our small pot of plants. imagine having to buy that where i live. they dont even know what it is and when they do sell it in those tiny containers with 6 leaves in them for $4!
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Old 07-16-2008, 11:28 AM
 
2,790 posts, read 5,575,725 times
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Fruit is expensive, period. Because most are esily bruised or damaged, it costs more in handling them than many other products. Buying in-season fruit that is grown locally will help some. I am also trying to buy less and spread it further. When my kids were little, I thought nothing of handing them a bunch of grapes, or a dish of sweet cherries, or an orange that had been sectioned for a snack.

DH and I have developed our own versions of combining vegetables and fruit in salad. One is combining dried cranberries, orange sections, halved green grapes, and almonds with mixed salad greens and topping with sliced grilled chicken. We like this with Russian dressing.

The cherry crop here in Michigan was adversely affected by the weather so you practically have to rob Gringots Bank to afford them. Another favorite is pitting those dark sweet cherries, adding them with pecans or almonds to the mixed greens. Plate the sliced grilled chicken on top. Add a sprinkling of grated Monteray Jack and some creamy poppyseed dressing. DH would eat this every night if I would let him.

You can also try making unusual combinations of fruit salad. I like to take the three melons you bought and using a melon baller, make a salad out of equal amounts. The pink, green, and orange look so pretty together in a glass bowl. And it can do double duty as a salad or a dessert. If there is any unused fruit, particularily the watermelon, I take it off the rind and cut it into cubes, & put it in the fridge so my family can snack on it at will. I would rather have them re-hydrate themselves with the melon rather than soda pop.

Another salad that can do double duty is a red, white, and blue fruit salad. Equal amounts of strawberries, blueberries and green grapes for the white. Tried using bananas, but the grapes are way more refreshing and they hold up better.

I am looking for ways to bring more meatless, nutritious meals into the house. DH's answer to the high cost of meat is hotdogs. I don't object to them once in a while, but I can't deal with the added salt. And unfortunately, many of the cheaper cuts of meats, while tasty when prepared properly require methods that really heat up the house.
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Old 07-16-2008, 11:32 AM
 
Location: West Texas
2,441 posts, read 5,246,318 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by findinghope View Post
ido you have an aldi's near you?
Thanks for the inputs all! So far it seems we're doing most of the things you all recommend.

FH, no.. never heard of Aldi's. Sorry.

It's too hot in west Texas (it's like a desert here) with caliche (sp?), sand, and clay for soil. Virtually no rain, water rationing, high heat doesn't help to consider a little garden, either.

We have a Food Saver (vacuum sealer). We buy bulk meat on sale that's about to expire (as long as it's not brown!!!), and break it into smaller portions, vacuum seal it and freeze it.

I don't know what fruits/veggies are what for seasons.. guess I have some homework.

We go to the commissary on base (retired military) for some things, H-E-B (local store) for other stuff, Sam's for bulk stuff, and WalMart for the rest.

Guess the bottom line is suck it up! lol. Thanks again for inputs.. and I'll be checking back for other recommendations!

Rath
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Old 07-16-2008, 11:37 AM
 
Location: West Texas
2,441 posts, read 5,246,318 times
Reputation: 3094
Quote:
Originally Posted by MICoastieMom View Post
You can also try making unusual combinations of fruit salad. I like to take the three melons you bought and using a melon baller, make a salad out of equal amounts. The pink, green, and orange look so pretty together in a glass bowl. And it can do double duty as a salad or a dessert. If there is any unused fruit, particularily the watermelon, I take it off the rind and cut it into cubes, & put it in the fridge so my family can snack on it at will. I would rather have them re-hydrate themselves with the melon rather than soda pop.
"Soda pop"... hehe... so northern/midwestern.

We do the same. I take the fruit (watermelon, canteloupe, honeydew) and take all the fruit off the rind, cutting them into bite-sized squares. I put them all in one large tupperware container (or more if there's a lot!) and we snack on it through the week. I work out 3 times a week, and I love it after I get back from they gym!!
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Old 07-16-2008, 11:41 AM
 
Location: Philaburbia
31,165 posts, read 57,302,589 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rathagos View Post
Guess the bottom line is suck it up! lol.
Unfortunately, that's about it, isn't it? *sigh*

Good luck!
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Old 07-16-2008, 11:55 AM
 
2,790 posts, read 5,575,725 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rathagos View Post
"Soda pop"... hehe... so northern/midwestern.
Well, honestly,.... what DID you think the MI in my screen name stood for?!?!? LOL

I spent part of my childhood in the South (including Texas), I can y'all and yeas'um with the best of 'em!

And considering that my family is from Canada originally, I can pull that off too, eh?
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Old 07-16-2008, 12:12 PM
 
Location: Ireland
650 posts, read 1,088,766 times
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We've had to break up our shopping to get the most for our money: some items like paper towels etc. we get at the discount store, fresh produce in the farmer's market, sale items at the supermarket, etc. I miss the convenience of one trip but can't afford it anymore.

We do have a large kitchen garden, and I don't know what I'd do without it. When we lived in the city, I kept vegetables inside in pots instead of houseplants: melons would be too big LOL but tomato plants, peppers, other small-scale vegetables and herbs like parsley can do well inside on a sunny window.

If you can find a farmer's market, go first thing in the morning to get your pick of the good stuff, then go back at the *end* of the day, when they're bagging up leftovers and selling them for a dollar-a-bag; you can even make some vendors an offer for whatever's left. I used to do that and take home big bags for soup, costing just pocket change (end-of-day vegetables are never the prettiest LOL).

You can also make a list of all the things that are still reasonably priced in your area (staples like eggs, rice, onions, potatoes, etc.) and visit the cookery section of your local library for some new and interesting recipes, so that you can serve up the inexpensive but nutritious standbys more often, without resorting to the same old dinners night after night.

Learn to like soups and stews, too; they save me a few times a week.

Another thing you might want to consider: we own our own business which is completely unrelated to food, but because we own *any* business, we're entitled to order food wholesale from distributors. It means ordering a pallet or more at a time and finding a place to store it, but it also means saving as much as 2/3rds the price on individual items. We do this for tinned food and dry goods like pasta. So you might want to check into what's involved in filing a small business in your area (based on any hobby or interest of yours), because if the filing fees etc. are small enough, it may well be worth it.

Just a few thoughts--good luck feeding your 'troops'! LOL
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