Food is life. Food is life, isn’t it? Whether you’re at home, at the office or traveling, life centers around what to eat for the next meal. So much of our day is spent eating food, shopping for food, cooking food or thinking about food. What to eat? When to eat it? Where to eat? I like to eat well and serve my family meals that include fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and meat (seafood, poultry and pork). The food I eat needs to be creatively prepared with lots of flavor, healthy, and not take lots of time to make. Think great tasting but with less sugar and fat and yet quick and wholesome. I know this is a tall order but you are what you eat.
Go Gingham Food Philosophy
- Healthy, good for you
- Tastes great
- Made at home with high quality, wholesome ingredients
- Inexpensive (but not because of low quality ingredients)
Eating food cooked at home is easily the biggest money saver in a food budget. The savings come from meal planning to reduce food waste, not going out to dinner or getting carry-out, and purchasing low-priced simple, wholesome foods. I also don’t use coupons as a means to save money at the grocery store. Coupons are generally for processed foods that don’t really meet the above criteria. Even with a coupon, the real savings can be found in the bulk-bin aisle of a no-frills grocery store.
Going out to dinner is at least 3 times as expensive as eating foods cooked at home. It’s also not as healthy. What you’re actually paying for is someone to do your dishes. It can be hard to resist, especially with hungry teens like mine! When they see advertisements on TV or on billboards for fast food like “The Baconator” or the more recent sourdough cheeseburger and their mouths start drooling I don’t say no, I just say, “Let’s make that at home!” And then we do.
Some of our favorite family meals that we cook at home, that include seafood or pork, cost less than $2.00/person per meal. With 1-pound of pork, an onion, and a head of cabbage, I can put together an incredible meal that feeds my family of 4 for 2-nights and takes less than 20-minutes to prepare. That’s less than what I’d pay at a fast-food restaurant and there are no regrets later.
Follow these 4 steps for simple cooking at home
- Use whole food ingredients (chicken, fish, pasta) – read food labels or purchase ingredients from bulk bins – look for fewer rather than more ingredients.
- Choose inexpensive vegetables – beans, lentils, cabbage – and serve weekly.
- Cook with spices, garlic and onion to give your food flavor with minimal butter or oils. Don’t forget to use your grill or wok to add flavor without calories.
- Make part of the meal ahead of time – utilize your slow cooker while at work, or the day before, to prepare part of the meal ahead of time.
This last point is important because it’s easy to get overwhelmed when thinking about eating all of your meals at home. For example, when I make hummus, I like to cook the beans the day before. Cooking beans and making hummus on the same day is lots of work and leaves my kitchen in a big mess. By breaking up the process, I keep my sanity and my kitchen doesn’t look like a total disaster.
If you cook food that tastes good at home, you’ll eat at home. You’ll also eat your leftovers if you’re food tastes good. Real food that’s healthy and wholesome is better for us to eat and what I want to serve my family. It’s also what I want to put into my body.
What’s your food philosophy?
Go Gingham related links:
Slow food gets prepared by slow families
Eat healthier – written for 2011 but still applicable!
Shopping from the bulk bins and storage tips
Frugal grocery shopping tips
Meal planning made simple – you can do it!
Could you give up fast food for a year?
Get those kids cooking dinners!!
12 thoughts on “Go Gingham Food Philosophy”
Good reminders. It doesn’t have to be expensive and fancy looking to be healthy and yummy! I’m on a bean crave kick lately,… So good for the body. Loving that it’s summer and easier to eat fresh.
Kerry, it is so much easier to eat fresh in the summer! I love it, too, and can’t wait for my beans to give us a meal like pictured above…that was a dinner from last summer. Picked outside and cooked outside – my absolute favorite!! Thanks.
Is anyone else wondering what the fluorescent pink dish is in the second photograph?
Liz, sorry I didn’t link to that recipe…it’s a beet salad that is the most wonderful color!!
your comment made me laugh because I couldn’t think what might be pink fluorescent in the photograph. Try it and you’ll have the same color. 🙂
I so want to be better about making food for my family. It is so difficult to please everyone – that I have essentially given up trying. Maybe this summer, I will turn over a new leaf (ha, ha – get the garden joke!?) and start some new habits. I have my garden planted – so that is a good start!
Annie, that is an awesome start! I know what you mean about pleasing everyone but we all say, “It can’t be a home run every single night.” That will get said tomorrow night – when we eat lentils. They’re good and tasty but all veg doesn’t always get rave reviews at my house. Or, I say to my husband, “It can’t be meat every night.” Moderation and knowing that wholesome, real foods and health have to be part of an overall good lifestyle. Love your garden joke 🙂
I agree, good reminders. I too don’t use coupons often – though I did use some shelf coupons for some pasta this week. Mostly I buy whole foods and fresh foods – and those don’t normally come with coupons. Also, I shop at a no-frills store (actually called No-Frills up here!) and buy store brand and bulk items, which keep my grocery bills low. Plus the garden – we had our first salad of mescalin greens and green onions from the garden last night.
Heidi, that’s too funny that the name of the grocery store is No-Frills! That’s my kind of store. My no-frills market is Winco and it saves me so much money! That’s where I do my bulk-bin shopping where you scoop the food yourself. We’re lucky and the bins are filled with Bob’s Red Mill products, just no packaging and lots of savings. Great news on the salad greens! I bet that was a good salad.
We, too, eat real food. Real food shouldn’t stack so neatly in a grocery cart. Real food (meat, fruit, veggies, grains, legumes) does not come as cubes in cardboard and plastic. And real food rarely has coupons available because the profit margin is not large enough on real food for a national coupon campaign. And real food simply tastes better.
(now to get down from my soap box)
Lili, agreed! Or come in a box…although I did just buy a box of old fashioned sourdough pretzels and then I came home and said, “We need to make pretzels instead of buying them!” I’ll be whipping up a recipe soon with my sourdough starter. Thanks for the comment and I loved reading what you wrote about chicken broth and veggie broth – 2 peas, same pod 🙂
I had to smile when I read your post today. Generally speaking, we fix meals at home (unless the teen begs her dad to stop somewhere on the way home from school). You’re so right about the cost as well. I had to laugh, thinking about our afternoon yesterday. We had a town hall meeting right after church, and it was a bring-your-own-lunch affair. Most families scoot out of church as quickly as possible and get in line at McDonalds, Burger King, Chipotle, Taco Bell, Subway, Wendy’s, etc.. We brought our lunch from home. It was a repeat of Saturday evening’s meal —— Shrimp Club Salads. (Everyday Food, Current Edition – Shrimp Meals in less than 30 min). Our cost per person for both Saturday night and Sunday was $4.21. Used large shrimp, sauteed quickly in butter and garlic, made home-made croutons (need to make more – after lunch and during the meeting, the bag was devoured by a herd of high-schoolers). Roger commented once we got home that he saw more than one or two or three long, lingering looks at our salads.
Cathy, I hear ya’ on those hungry teens!! It’s amazing what they’ll eat but given a choice, I think they like healthy, wholesome food better. Those shrimp sandwiches sound amazing, too.
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