Thursday, November 5, 2009

Healthy on a Budget

A few months ago, there was some interest about how we menu plan and shop in our kitchen. I've put together a three-week mini-series on what we do addressing: (1) how we eat healthy on our budget, (2) how we menu plan and (3) our shopping habits.

Feel free to ask questions along the way, and I'll answer them as part of the third and final post.

I don't feel like we do anything out of the ordinary, or that hasn't already been said -- but, we've found something that fits with our family, and maybe it will fit with your family too.

Healthy on a Budget: How one family attempts to do this!

Over the past two years, Frog Prince and I have drastically changed the way we eat. Not only do we feel better, the change is also apparent in our grocery bill and the contents of our pantry and fridge.

When we first got married, healthy eating for us was occasionally cooking from scratch -- some of our family favorite recipes -- but mostly eating the "healthier" pre-packaged options. We ate a lot of pre-packaged pasta mixes, muffins, brownies, soups and more. These seemed like good options for us, because we always had coupons in the weekend papers for these products (read: we could save money), and they were marketed as "healthy".

Being the science nerd that I am, I began reading more about the production of our food and spent time reflecting about what Scripture says about our foods. I realized that the things we were putting in our bodies were not enabling us to be very good stewards of our bodies. With having a food allergy and struggling with trusting companies food labels, I began experimenting in my kitchen.

My earlier recipes were borderline from scratch. But, they were a start.

As soon as I found myself comfortable in my kitchen, I realized there were many foods we could stop purchasing, and that I could teach myself how to make: brownies, breads, muffins, syrup, cereal (okay, granola), pizza, crackers, etc.

Hubby and I decided it was a go. Without even trying to shrink our budget, we saw a decrease in our grocery costs because we changed our habits.

Instead of shopping in the center of the store, we shopped the perimeter... and the baking aisle. We purchase basics -- flour, milk, eggs, fruits and veggies and meat. I still use coupons when they are available for the items we purchase, but most of the time, the coupons are less than helpful.

As we did so, our shopping trip became simplified, and so did our pantry! We can make almost everything we eat from these simple ingredients.

The key to making this work for us: we're strategic about what we buy and when..... that was a big reason we still saved money when we stopped being a coupon shopper. We don't just buy these basic items as we need them - we are strategic.

Next Thursday, I'll talk about how we are strategic and provide some simple steps that work for us when we menu plan.


  1. I am looking forward to reading about this because since we started eating healthy and from scratch, my grocery bill has gone through the roof. It is discouraging.

  2. Thank you thank you thank you! I am eagerly awaiting the rest of this series because this is something that I struggle with a lot. It's hard for me to figure out if I'm actually saving money by cooking from scratch sometimes. And it's also extremely hard for me to find the time to do it with 2 kids. And I'm very curious as to what your strategy is because right now I don't really have a strategy other than trying to plan meals around the sale items in the grocery store ads. Can't wait to read more!

  3. I look forward to the next installment! I do try to eat healthier but I know I could do better. Maybe by taking some of your tips I will. Starting with shopping the perimeter of the stores, thanks!

  4. I agree with the other commenters...I'm excited to hear what you do for your meal planning and how you keep your grocery bills down. I have been planning my meals, but it seems like my grocery bills are about the same. I haven't taken a look at how much we are spending on eating out at restaurants though. That amount could very well have decreased. Thanks!

  5. Cant wait! I need all the help I can get! Thanks so much! ~ Blessings ~ Teresa

  6. I wanted to comment and thought I already had because someone else named Chelsey was the first commenter, and I've met maybe two people whose names are spelled the same as mine. Weird.

    Anyway, I love your blog. I just stumbled onto it a couple days ago. You cook normal, delicious, mostly healthy things that aren't hard to make. I like to cook and don't mind complicated things, but I'm a newlywed and pregnant and work full-time. There just isn't much time in the day. When I get a spare second, I want to make your foccacia bread and your cheese crackers (we love Cheez-its, too - right now we have 4 boxes in our pantry). And I hope to use your blog to teach myself how to better cook from scratch, because that's one of my goals.

    Thanks so much for all the resources!

  7. This series is going to be very resourceful. Thanks, friend!

  8. Oooo . . . I'm excited about this! I would love to make more things from scratch. :) Can't wait for your next post!

  9. What a great series of posts! I look forward to more. I find that the more from-scratch cooking I do, the less satisfied I am with convenience foods and sometimes even restaurant food.

  10. I'm still snooping around your blog! Ha! I would like to print out your recipes, but of course it would take several pages and ink because of the pictures. How would you suggest I go about this (bookmark the page, copy and paste, etc). What do you do when you go to a blog and there is a recipe you want to try but you don't want to print it out? Do you cook with your computer in the kitchen and bookmark the pages? Thx for the help.
    taychambers @ yahoo . com


Thanks for stopping by! I'd love to hear from you; especially how you're finding JOY in your kitchen.

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