If you have ever spent any time with myself or with Dr. Keyes Ingredients, you know that we love a good bargain in our house. There are a few stores in our community that regularly advertise designers for 50-60% below retail and you can guarantee that those are some of my favorite places to shop. I love to play the “can I get it cheaper?” game with myself. When Dr. Keyes Ingredients left the large practice that he had been with for many years to start Woodlands Family Chiropractic as it is today, there were many costs that needed to be cut in our household, and cut quickly. Our children were attending a fantastic private school, we had a cable package, and our cars were more than what we needed. We learned to live without all of those things. The place where we did not cut corners, was in feeding our family. We did have to learn to do it a bit differently, though.
Our finances, like everything else in life, require us to prioritize. One of the most frequent ways families cut pennies is in the grocery store. Often times, that also means that the quality of food for the family also goes downhill at break neck speeds. This doesn’t have to be the case! Did you know that 100 years ago, 40% of a households income went to feeding the family? Times have definitely changed! We didn’t have the “food like products” that seem to be everywhere these days. We also didn’t have diabetes, obesity, cancer and heart disease plaguing our nation at record rates. I’m not advocating that we go back to a world where 40% of the budget is spent on feeding our families, but I’m here to tell you today, that you can feed your family high quality ingredients without breaking the bank.
One of the first things that must be done in order to have an economically sustainable kitchen is to make it a functional kitchen. This does require an initial investment of both time and money, but that investment will save you in many ways down the road. I encourage you to know what’s good, what’s bad and what’s ugly. Examine every ingredient in your pantry, your refrigerator and your freezer and make decisions about what is no longer good and what you either won’t or shouldn’t eat. Send these items to either the trash can or your local food pantry depending on what it is. Organize beans, rice, grains, spices, seeds, etc in clear containers. This will allow you to see what you have available in your pantry in order to not purchase multiples of an item that you just don’t need.
Use this time of a new beginning in your kitchen to swap out 5 simple ingredients. Your oil (vegetable for olive or coconut), your sugar (refined white for coconut), your salt (iodized table salt or sea salt for pink Himalayan salt), your flour (anything refined for a whole food flour like coconut or almond) and your attitude! These simple swaps will become your building blocks to recreate your kitchen in a cost effective way that feeds your family in a way that fights disease and grows them in health.
One of the best things that you can do for both the health of your family and the health of your budget is to meal plan mindfully. When you fail to plan, you plan to fail. A lack of a plan leads to eating out or convenience eating which will reek havoc on your families food budget along with your health. Variety is the spice of life! We suggest eating all of the colors of the rainbow. Literally anything can be put on a bed of greens and eaten as a salad. Kale and spinach are not only good for you, they act as a great filler for meals and are easy on your budget as well. A roast or a chicken will give you a dinner, a broth for use later, and leftover meat for salads for either lunch or dinner the next night. You can also use the leftover meat to make a soup, stew or chili. Meal planning allows you to get the most out of every meal with minimal waste.
When it comes to our feeding our families, we all want to do the absolute best that we can with what we have. I hope that this blog, and the next few to come will help you to be able to take your good to better and your better to best with the budget that your family has.
Once you have completed your pantry or refrigerator makeover, I would love to see those pictures over on The Keyes Ingredients Facebook! Please share those, along with pictures of your meal plan for the week and the creations that you are feeding your family.
Until we EAT again.