Reflections on life, marriage, and a young woman who is constantly learning how much there will always be to learn!

Friday, March 03, 2006

The Culinary Arts on a Budget #2

I have known families whose regular meals--in the name of frugality--consisted of little but the cheapest carbohydrate dishes. Cheap white bread, potatoes, rice and pasta consumed day in and day out, with very infrequent appearances of anything green or fresh on their plates. While this might indeed save money in the short run, we need to question the long-term consequences upon health, enjoyment and even the pocketbook! It's much cheaper to eat right all along then to pay the doctor bills for poor health later on.

For this reason, we can't start with money as the sole consideration when it comes to buying foods to feed our families. A huge bag of Cheezo Chompers at the discount warehouse is always going to be cheaper than a small bag of mixed nuts. Day-old white bread is cheaper than whole-grain. Strawberry jello or fruit snacks is cheaper than real strawberries, and so on. Better to start with health and quality considerations, and then figure out how to get the best for our families in the most inexpensive ways!

Rule #2: Eliminate The Fluff Foods. My mother rarely let me eat "The Fluff Foods" at home when I was younger, so I've had good training in this area. But I'm often amazed at what I see people putting into their carts at the grocery store! Mothers with little children, buying nothing but sodas, potato chips, boxed cookies, "juice" boxes, along with a week's supply of convenience meals. (By the way, have you noticed that it's usually these junk foods that constitute the store's loss leaders, go on sale the most often, and most often have corresponding coupons?)

Fluff foods are all the things with little to no nutritional value that we buy out of habit, for convenience sake, or just because they taste good. They can be cheap or matter. Even if that bag of Cheezo Chompers only costs 50 cents, that's too expensive for something that provides absolutely no real value! A short list of Fluff Foods would include all sodas (diet and regular), candy, potato chips, just about all supermarket pastries, cakes and cookies, most cold cereals and many breads, sugared-up juices, many frozen dinners...the list goes on. Anyone with a basic knowledge of nutrition could identify the biggest offenders!

I suppose I'm lucky, because I don't have a taste for many Fluff Foods. (Although I do like sodas and chips!:op) I wouldn't accept a box of Little Debbie cakes or twinkies or Captain Crunch if they were free. But I'm married to a guy who likes to snack (especially on carby, crunchy, munchy things), so I can't get away with only making spinach and cawliflower. Nor would I want to.

Getting rid of Fluff Foods isn't a matter of deprivition, but substitution for items of value. I'm learning myself and am by no means an expert (Besides, all families have different tastes, even if I was an expert concerning my own family!), but in the next post I'd like to share a few things we do in our home to stay satisfied without the Fluff Foods.


Blogger Carrie said...

You have some really good posts on frugality, and I like your foodie perspective! I agree that it is better to spend more money and buy healthy foods now than to pay for it in doctor bills later - it seems like every other frugality site is centered around buying cheap, white carbohydrates so I don't find much help from them. I'm looking forward to your future posts! :)

*off to add you to my blogroll*

5:05 PM, March 03, 2006  
Blogger Erin said...

Thanks Carrie! I added you to my sidebar as well:o)

7:20 PM, March 03, 2006  
Blogger Mrs.B. said...

I really like your perspective on this's unique and I agree with you about the 'white' foods and carbs. I'm so glad I found your blog!! (o:

8:17 PM, March 03, 2006  

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