Fresh Eating on a Budget Without Coupons! [Choosing Joy]
With all the amazing produce at our new Meijer, we ate a lot of fresh fruits and veggies last month. I was so proud to see my family enjoying such healthy food, and it was really fun trying new ways of preparing plant foods. But, with all those “quick trips,” I wasn’t surprised when my husband pulled me aside this past weekend and said, “We need to have a budget meeting.” Busted……
So what’s a mom to do? I want to feed my husband and kids from the produce section, but I don’t want to blow the savings account to do it. So I told my husband to prepare me an envelope with cash (the card is too easy to swipe!) and for the month of July we are going to eat fresh within budget!
As always we can take our lead from God’s Word and Proverbs 31 (NIV).
- v. 14 “[A wife of noble character] is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar.”
- Eat what’s on sale. – Before going immediately to the grapes and oranges, take a stroll through the more exotic fruits and see what’s on sale this week. Let the prices of the produce determine your meals. A couple weeks ago Meijer had raspberries for $.77 a pint! And yesterday Kroger was offering mangos and kiwis for $.69! And if all else fails you can’t beat a banana for cheap produce.
- v. 18 “[A wife of noble character] sees that her trading is profitable.”
- Only buy the amount you will eat. – Just because grapes and cherries come in labeled bags does not mean that you have to buy the whole bag. They are priced per pound but many of the prepackaged bags actually contain 2 pounds! Get yourself another produce bag and only buy as much as your family needs. This also applies to bulk foods like nuts and grains. It is much cheaper to scoop from the bins only the amount your family will eat.
- v. 17 “[A wife of noble character] sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.”
- Do the prep work at home. – Yesterday I bought a huge head of romaine lettuce for $.99. That same amount of lettuce prepared would have cost $4.00. It took me less than 10 minutes to cut and wash the lettuce myself, and I saved $3.00! Go ahead and plan for produce prep time on grocery day. Before you even put them in the fridge, get your carrots peeled and chopped, your lettuce clean, your cucumbers sliced, your peppers cut up. Then it will be easy to put together salads and snacks for the next few days. 30 minutes of work will save you several dollars.
- v. 15 “[A wife of noble character] provides food for her family.”
- Stock the freezer. – We eat most of our fruit fresh, but the majority of our vegetable intake comes from the freezer. Freezer veggies are inexpensive, already prepped and a lot of them just require sticking the bag in the microwave to prepare. My family enjoys that California Blend about twice a week. Last night my daughter (our pickiest eater) actually said, “I like that white stuff (cauliflower).” Praise God!
- v. 27 “[A wife of noble character] watches over the affairs of her householdand does not eat the bread of idleness.”
- Measure and portion. – When you prepare meals for your family take the time to measure out appropriate portions. People tend to eat as much as you put in front of them, so if you portion out just 3 oz. of French fries for each family member, they will get a generous amount and not go overboard or waste food. This is also a great idea for cereals! Cereal is pricey and by measuring out a single portion, you keep the cost and the sugar down.
Eating well on a budget is not impossible! God has given us so much, and we must be good stewards of our money and our health.
v. 28 “Her children arise and call her blessed;her husband also, and he praises her.”