Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A Whole Foods Budget

I had planned to do a post on dairy foods and where to find them today, but I have decided that I should start with a rough break down of my grocery budget instead. I thought it might help to see where I am coming from and what I have to work with.

I would like to start out by saying that I realize every person has a different budget. Some have more to spend then others as well as more mouths to feed. I feel it is extremely important not to get bogged down with the numbers or to think that what one person is able to do should be what you strive for. Each family should try to do the best they can and be good stewards of what the Lord has given them. So if you can only put beans and rice into a whole foods budget instead of grass fed steak and organic produce that is completely OK as long as you are doing what is right for your family.

I would also like to say that I do not feed my family a completely unprocessed, organic diet. I too am still working on trying to transition everything over as I am able to. I am still in a learning process as well. Sometimes I am not able to get organic things into my budget so I try to at least strive for a whole food such as conventional produce, beans, or cheese. At least it is real food.

I promise tomorrow I will start into each food group and navigating the grocery store, but I felt it was important to get the basics down first.

My budget every month is typically $250-$300 a month feeding 2 adults, a 4 year old and a 19 month old. Before I started a whole foods diet I would spend around $400-$500 a month. So I am actually saving money. How you may ask? Well we quit buying junk and convenience food. Yes they may be quick and easy, but at what expense?

I would also like to say that I feel it is OK to spend money on good quality food. I went through a time recently where I was so concerned about paying off debt that I thought our grocery budget was a good place to skimp. I have since learned that it is better health wise to cut other areas of the budget and try to keep as much money as possible in the grocery budget. Think of it as preventative medicine.

Another way I save money in our budget is by making almost everything we eat. You may think that I spend all my time in the kitchen, but you would be surprised. With all of the modern conveniences that we are spoiled with these days I am able to get things done a lot quicker. For example a bread maker, food processor, crock pot, and a yogurt maker. These things take minutes to get started and save me a ton of time in the kitchen.

What are some things I try to avoid in our foods? Hormones, antibiotics, MSG, high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors and preservatives, hydrogenated oils, white sugar, and white flour. If you look at the ingredients in most store bought items you will see at least 1 if not many of these. Even in the so called "all natural" items. Don't let yourself be fooled.

I think I have gotten a little off track here. Back to the budget.

Beef $25 a month
I typically buy our meat once a month from a local cattle ranch. I know where my beef is coming from and how it was raised. They even offer tours. The nice thing is they have a store here in town and they have Fill Your Freezer Friday where everything in their freezer case is 50% off! This make things like ground beef $2.50 a pound. Not too bad. If you live around here the ranch is called Satchel Creek Steaks. Go check them out.

Chicken $? Not sure. I stock up when it's on sale and it lasts for several months
I try to buy Smart Chicken brand at Dillons when it is on sale. I can also get it at farmers market or Satchel Creek Steaks.

Fish $10-15 a month
I live in a land locked state so I have to buy this frozen at the grocery store. I usually find wild fish fillets on sale for $1 each at Target. This can easily be stretched by making fish sticks or fish patties.

Grains and Flour
I buy these in bulk from an Amish bulk foods store in Yoder. If Azure Standards would ever start delivering in my part of the country I may get it from them. I buy 25 pounds of locally grown whole wheat flour for $10 and freeze it in smaller freezer bags. I wish I had a grain mill, but not yet.

I buy beans from a local health food store in bulk.

I try to buy these in season at the cheapest price possible and freeze or can the extras. Today I had a ton of apples that I decided to make into applesauce. I often get these at farmers market, grocery stores and Aldis (Not always organic, but it fits in the budget)

Milk $30 a month
From a dairy or conventional if I have to.

Misc. What ever is left.

Like I said this is a really rough breakdown of my budget, but hopefully it gives you some kind of idea of what I have to work with.

Stay tuned for my series on transitioning to a whole foods diet and navigating your way through the grocery store to find the most nutritious foods.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks! This post was great, and sounded just like what I've thought in the past! It really helped!