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!!