Real food: Real costs

My first “real food” shopping trip was February 25. I am happy to report that the first month I only went to the store 3 times and spent a total of $320. I also purchased two bountiful baskets $30 and $35 at Winder Dairy for a monthly total of $385, less than the $400 I used to spend per month.

However, from the end of March through the end of April I wasn’t quite so thrifty. I spent $150 at Sunflower Farms on fresh produce, honey, nuts and dried fruits, a month’s worth of chicken, puffed whole grain cereals (enough to last several months), maple syrup and spices. I purchased 4 bountiful baskets for $135 which included a lot of bread, granola and strawberries (I’ve gotten too lazy to make bread & granola lately) and $170 of winder farms dairy and meat products. I also had to make a few regular grocery store trips for additional bananas, grapes, strawberries, nuts and apricots- spending another $40. for a total monthly amount of $495– quite a jump from the previous month.

Most of that extra was spent on dried fruits and nuts- we have been eating them like candy. My favorites are dried apricots and almonds, but we also buy a ton of dates, raisins and pecans so we can make larabars- which go really fast around our house! And the extra expense of bread and granola that I’ve been too lazy to make. Could I eat real foods less expensively? Yes! And during some months I will…but I LOVE food, and love cooking and am having fun experimenting right now. We eat pretty darn good for $400 to $500 a month for a family of five, which I think for organic food, is pretty reasonable. Overall, I feel that I’m not spending much more yet I’m feeding our family much better.

And I am amazed at how much better I feel focusing more on fruits and veggies. As a bonus, I’m back into a size 2 without much exercising (of course I wish I were still running- I crave running, it’s just not possible on a consistent basis right now, and pushing a stroller is only fun for about 2 miles…). And I’m still eating so-called “fattening” foods like peanut butter, regular butter, yogurt, cheese, bacon, nuts and avocado. My boys are super happy about being able to eat so many fruits and veggies and I’m having fun trying to “healthify” my old recipes.

Now when I do eat something that comes from a box, it just tastes fake and isn’t appealing to me at all. I love that the human body naturally craves what it needs. When you eat healthy, your body craves healthy food, which makes you crave exercise, which in turn makes you crave healthy food. On the other hand when you eat junk, your body feels like junk and you don’t want to do anything, which makes you crave more junk. I’m so glad I got out of the junk cycle and onto the feelin’ good cycle!


4 thoughts on “Real food: Real costs”

  1. If you're not allergic to seeds, pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, sunflower seeds and popcorn are good nut replacements. Edmame, roasted chickpeas and avocados are also good options! As far as replacing nuts in larabars, you could use things like sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, flax seed, etc… In that case I'd use mostly fruit and just a little seeeds- some, especially sesame seed, adds a stronger flavor than nuts do.

  2. We're working on getting a 3 month supply of food storage, and I'm wondering what you're doing for food storage. While I do have things like dried beans and quinoa, we also have lots of canned fruit and veggies- not that healthy, but with a longer life than fresh. Any food storage suggestions? Thanks!

  3. Janice, that is something I struggle with because I don't like to eat much canned food! We bought a deep freezer last year and I try to freeze as much as I can (pre-made meals, fruits & veggies), but obviously if the power were out it wouldn't last 3 months… I think of the 3 month supply as things I use for “regular” eating, so I try to store things that I would normally use in a 3 month period (oil, honey, yeast, canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, beans, quinoa, brown rice, dried fruits, nuts, applesauce, emergency mac & cheese, etc…). I try and rotate it out except for some of the boxed/canned food that I'm storing only for emergency purposes- then I either give it away or donate it to canned food drives. For long term storage I buy only things that can be stored for 10+ years and I only rotate the things I actually use on a daily basis (like beans, honey, spices) the other things I keep for emergency purposes only and if it goes bad I'll replace it. We eat enough whole grains and beans so that if there were an emergency we could survive just fine, but I'm not going to eat every day as if it were an emergency…not sure if that helps or not!

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