Monday, 18 March 2013

When times get tough we eat brown rice...

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If theres one thing that I promised myself when I first started this blog was that I wouldn't ever pretend I was something that I'm not... And if theres one thing about this pregnancy is that I am getting great at over sharing... Telling you all things you probably don't need to hear or care about but its becoming like a diary to me, just a really public one,  so when I think of stuff I want to write it down, I'll tell you... And its true, life aint easy all the time.

When my husband and I first got together we always had money, we had our own money to spend on what ever we wanted to spend it on... We weren't rich but we could definitely always buy what ever we wanted... It was great!
When you have children things change, like really change, and you can NEVER plan for that. When we got married, life was still amazing and free of any worry. Well, really, what was there to worry about??? We could pay the bills, eat out, go to the movies when we wanted, I could go to a million dance classes a week, drink wine and not get a hangover, go out and dance the night away and not come home until early hours of the morning and then sleep all day, and just be what ever we wanted to be. We have never had credit cards, we didn't need them... Life was easy!

Now, a few years down the track, things are very different. We are struggling on one income, we still have no credit cards,  have (what feels like) no money, a mortgage to pay, bills that never stop coming in and almost 2 children to support and feed good food! Its hard work! And its stressful! We get angry, we get upset, we blame each other and then we laugh! We tell each other that we will look back on this tough time and be proud of how we survived!

When it comes to food, I have listened to so many people that say they cant afford to eat good, organic food and I have always been the one to shut them down in my head and tell them that its the choices they make, good food should always come first. But recently, I am beginning to eat my words... Eating healthy food is expensive and when times are tough, eating organic food is hard to afford. But I still do the shopping and I buy as much good food as I can... Why? Because eating good food is important and a priority to me and I want my babies to be provided with good nutrients.
I read in a great book called; Real Food for mother and baby recently; "You should eat the best food you can afford, don't go without it all together because you cant afford the best."
This has put things in perspective for me and helped me to accept when times get tough we eat a little differently.

So how do we make things work and eat the best that we can when the money is tight?

  • I dont meal plan! Some people think I'm crazy and this is because alot of people find it alot cheaper to plan the meals for the week ahead and only buy what they need. If I do that, I spend MORE money because I buy loads of ingredients and go by yummy looking recipes, then by the time we hit mid-week I am too tired to make the recipes anyway and the food sits in the fridge. I am a basic cook, no need for anything fancy, I just throw a heap of things together and it usually works out ok. My husband is also great at creating something out of nothing so I leave some of the dinners to him.
  • We can eat the same meal twice in a week, maybe three times even! Its no big deal, if its good food, we eat it. Lately we have been making big batches of whatever! Risottos, Soups, etc... We pack as many veggies in as we can and it can last us a couple of meals. This is also because I am so tired, its easy to reheat something for the family than create a whole new dish.
  • We always eat fruit and veggies! I go to the farmers market. The local farmers market is full of some good bargains and it comes straight from the farmer so it cuts out the middle man and you know its fresh. I do a loop around first and check out the specials and then grab what ever is a bargain. We can create our meals from the inspiration we get. If there are days at the end of the week when we have run out and the bank account is drowning, I do the loop at woolies to see if they have any organic produce on sale and if they dont, I might buy some conventional fruit and veg if its on sale, I grab it... I would rather us eat some fruit and vegetable than none at all.
  • We have started growing our own veggies. Since moving house over christmas, we have alot more room and have started growing our own veggies, this is so much fun and exciting and great to be able to pick what we need from the yard rather than buying it. You can check out ways you can make gardens out of limited spaces all over google.
  • We ALWAYS eat lots of eggs! I love eggs, they are so unbelievably good for us and they are a huge staple in our house. If I know we are eating 1 complete protein everyday it make me happy. I make sure they are organic and free range always and I try to buy straight from the farmer. This makes them cheaper and super fresh! My husband was mortified the day he found out I spend $7 on a dozen eggs a week. I told him thats a bargain, at woolies the same packet is $9 or $10. And who knows how long they have been sitting on the shelf?
  • I will NEVER buy conventional animal products! They are just too scary! Conventional animal products freak me out and I just cant bring myself to buy non organic meat, milk or eggs. The animals are poorly treated and alot of them hardly see the sun, meaning they are so nutrient deficient themselves that they have bairly any nutrients left in them to give us. On weeks we have more money we might eat quite a bit of organic meat but on weeks that we don't, then we might be more vegetarian. I try to only ever buy meat or chicken on sale and freeze it down and just get it out when we need it.
  • When life gets tough, we eat more grains. Yes, brown rice is cheap and its a great filler to go with dishes, as is quinoa. I still only go for the organic type as conventional grains are heavily sprayed with pesticides so its best to stick with the good stuff and there is no excuse because its sold at woolies and they always have specials to stock your pantry.

Image : Great little pocket guide when we cant always buy organic, you can choose to buy the ones that carry the least toxicity..
So there you have it, my version of the poor peoples tips to eating good food. Anyone else ever feel like their wallets are being taken from them? What are your tips to eating the best food you can?

Cass xox

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