How to feed your family for less!
Today I’m going to share how a shift in the order and prioritization that we give to the ritual of feeding meals to our families can save us sanity, money, and time.
Most of the households in the U.S. are highly reliant on the convenience of the grocery store when it comes to making their meals. This is actually a bit sad to me because it’s a habit we should all eliminate just as proactively as a bad health habit.
In the Philippines, refrigeration is a luxury in most homes and thus the families there HAVE to go to the market on a daily basis for their meat, produce, and dairy. But here, we’re quite spoiled. When we have a particular craving, we know it will be met by the local grocery store or restaurant. When we’re tired and lack the energy or time to cook, we know we’ll be saved by some unknown cook behind a cash register, so long as we are willing to pay the premium for the use of someone else’s time. When we lack the inventiveness or creativity, we can simply browse our local frozen food section for a solution, right?
I was listening to a speaker at a symposium about 6 months ago, a doctor somebody from some national bureau of health and human services. As you can tell, I wasn’t impressed with his credentials necessarily, but I sure did pay attention to a statistic he provided. “Less than 2% of the households in the U.S. have a two weeks supply of food.” This was just food he was talking about—let alone water and the fuel and knowledge necessary to prepare the food in less-than-ideal circumstances! No wonder so many people get a bit loopy or desperate when they hear of a winter storm or hurricane forecast!
Here’s the snag though. In a long-term survival scenario, we will regularly find ourselves confronted with a lack of energy, an abundance of cravings, and a lack of creativity. The scenario will also be compounded by ill-timed or unexpected events. So how we handle these scenarios now, in the days of our comfort, are actually critical to our mental and physical endurance in a time of crisis. What I’m going to share today will actually assist you, not only in preparing for a survival scenario, but it will also pad your wallet and your day with a little more luxury while ensuring that you also avoid a padded room. :D
So what’s the solution? Make a few changes in your order and prioritization.
How To Have Healthy Meals For Your Family
Create your meal plan based on what you already have!
1. Yes, plan a weekly menu, but don’t base it on what’s at the grocery store. Create your weekly menu based on what you already have on hand. You see, while planning a menu may give us a sense of purpose and direction during our weekly meal creations, it will actually cost us more money. Why? Because when we put something on your menu and go out and get it, we’re paying whatever the best price is on that item right then and there. If it’s not on sale we still buy it because it’s on our dang menu. Whereas if we prepare our meals based on what we already have on hand, then our grocery budget isn’t exhausted with the “I want.” Instead it’s used on the “I need” or some really great deals. You’ll understand how this method feeds into the other method in just a moment.
2. Go shopping only once a week (and even less as soon as you are able) and only go shopping based on what you have coupons for or what’s on sale. I can tell you from experience that your shopping may actually verge on “fun” if you are only getting great deals. But more importantly, this strategy alone has the ability to save you 50-80% on your weekly grocery costs. Not only that, but when you create your menu based on what you already have on hand, you will always be getting that meal for a great price because everything you bring into your home will be obtained via a coupon or a great sale price.
Here are a couple more strategies to help in this effort as well. Make sure you have comfort foods on hand when planning your meals. When I say comfort, I’m talking about foods that will be great when someone is sick, but also when someone just needs a little emotional pick-me-up. Also be sure that you and your family are familiar with the preparation of the meals and that they are “easy” to all persons who may end up making them. I may not be blessed with children of my own, but if I were I’d be certain to make sure that they could all prepare at least 5 basic meals for the family. I see many moms put themselves in a precarious position of being the only one in the family who can cook. What happens when they are ill (or worse) during a disaster? How will their family eat? And last but not least, be sure that the meals you have planned require little or no physical or mental effort to make. That criteria really comes down to practice. I have a friend on Facebook who posts her dinner dish for the day. She usually has it all ready by noon so that she can just put it in the oven at dinner time. To most housewives/husbands this appears to be time intensive because she always seems to have some fabulous muffin recipe to go along with dinner that would make any professional chef drool. But the fact of the matter is, she’s “practiced” making these dishes so many times during her days of comfort that making manicotti is old hat for her now.
This past weekend I was definitely sick. Nope, it wasn’t the H1N1, and I’ll spare you the details. But suffice it to say it hurt to move or think or do anything. But…I wanted something to eat that a was a bit more advanced than my husband’s macaroni and cheese repertoire. So, I psyched myself up to handle a whopping 5 minutes in the kitchen and made some real food. All I had to do was open, dump, stir, and I had a satisfying casserole. More importantly, I had everything on hand that I needed, and I had made the dish enough times that it was a “no-brainer” to concoct. Did you pick up on those two criteria? Everything was on hand and I was experienced in making it for one of our meals. Being able to say that about anything you prepare for your family is an important preparedness strategy.
I realize that in the beginning this may require expanding your horizons to come up with recipes to use based on what you already have on hand, but there are a lot of great websites to help you with that. Supercook.com allows you to simply input ingredients that you have on hand and it will provide you with a recipe to go along with those items.
If you employ this strategy regularly, I assure you that your supplies will increase very quickly, you’ll regularly obtain your supplies for 60-80% off of regular price, and you’ll find your mind and body more free to focus on the other ways to ensure your family’s safety and well-being.