Eating Less Poison, Not Going Broke, and Having a Life–It’s a Balancing Act!

We’re coming up on the holidays, so it’s time to take a look at my New Year’s Resolutions. Once a week, I will update you on the progress I have made on one of them.

Food is a major budget-killer for me. I love eating, and I love stocking up on healthy, organic goodness. When I am organized, I can make more food from scratch, which does allow me to buy healthy food on a budget. But, when things get hectic, it’s easy to overspend.

Last year, things really fell apart when I returned to work. My efforts to regain control of the situation were only minimally successful.

So, what is the plan for this fall? Well, I’m starting out with the menu plan that we used on the boat over the summer. The only nutritional pitfalls of this plan were its reliance on Crystal Light, the use of lunch meat, and the lack of non-organic meats. There was also a lack of variety.

In order to improve these menus, I changed on thing at a time. I started by simply cutting down on meat dishes. At home, we can eat pasta again, since we have no lack of fuel for boiling water. With pasta added back in, as well as stir fries and the like, we were able to eat more veggies and less meat.

Next, I started looking for organic (or at least hormone- and antibiotic-free) meats on Manager’s Special. I would aim for at least 2 meat dishes per week (depending on what was on special). If there weren’t enough specials, I would buy boneless/skinless chicken thighs, which are always inexpensive, even when organic.

After that, it was time to attack lunch. I began by stocking up on beans, rice, salsa, sour cream, and cheese, for buddha bowls. These are easy to do, when we’re at home.

For weekdays, it was time to transition to old fashioned PBJ’s. If we can live off of bologna sandwiches, we can definitely live off of those. I use natural peanut butter and all-fruit jelly. When we get sick of those, we can switch to cheese sandwiches, with lettuce and mayo. Egg or chicken salad would also work really well on sandwiches.

So, what remains are two steps: eliminating the Crystal Light and making more from scratch.

To accomplish the first step, I plan to keep hot tea on hand, since it always tastes so good in the fall and winter. That alone will solve most of our problem. I also would like to keep more milk available for Beanie. She got a little spoiled over the summer. (Next summer, we’ll probably stock up on milk boxes, even though I can’t stand the amount of waste they produce…Or we could bring kefir, which can handle inconsistent refrigeration).

Surprisingly, I don’t plan to eliminate Crystal Light entirely. I happen to have a crazy addiction to their mojito and margarita, and I don’t see a lot of harm in enjoying those in the evening. Much better for me than the real thing!

Finally, we need to add more homemade foods. I was good at this when I first started blogging! But now I need to get back into a routine. I think a great place to start would be by making some sour dough starter. That makes it easy to get back into the habit of soaking grains. And when grains are soaking and ready, it’s easy to whip up homemade bread and noodles!

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