Family Nutrition on a Budget
Lead Your Family
Family men are required to care for the lives whom they are responsible to. This means leading your wife and your children to reaching the standard which you’ve set.
This post is going to cover the subject of nutrition and how I am keeping my family of four eating healthy while on a budget.
This is the first post where I will be collaborating with my wife who periodically writes on her twitter @sassy__sub. She is the main chef of the house & she manages the budget, so it only makes sense that she be involved with my post covering how we feed our family healthy foods and don’t break the bank in the process.
*Before anyone says anything snide about her being ‘the chef’ or ‘managing the budget’. I can cook, she just cooks more often as she enjoys tending our family and both of our credit scores are over 800, never missed a payment. There’s no reason for me to take either of these roles from her as she has performed her job exceptionally well and has for years since taking on the bills because of my multiple deployments.*
As the masculine leader of your family it is your responsibility to ensure that your family is not only eating what they should, but also that they’re aware of why they should be eating a certain way.
If your family’s nutritional plan has been running amok, than this transition may require a little more focus, energy, and attention than you’re used to providing. Messing with someone’s dietary intake is a big deal and you need to be fully confident in your decision to do so as you will be tested.
I am in a unique situation as my wife has food allergies, so our entire clan has had to support this. At no point did I ever make it an ‘us vs. her‘ situation. She had to eat a certain way so we supported that, end of story.
How did we make the shift to healthier eating? How were we able to break the all too comfortable routine most people find themselves in?
The routine of:
- Fast Food
- Sugary Snacks
- Excessive Liquor
- ‘Quick Meals’
I’ll let my lady tell you for herself.
The Mrs. Writes Her First ‘Post’ on TFA
I had spent my entire teen to adult life wondering constantly if I had to calorie count this or low-carb that. When I married Hunter we were young, naive, and we bought the cheapest things we could find; our budget was cheap foods in bulk. But, when I became pregnant with our son I realized that this lifestyle had to change as I was feeding another life.
After having my son via c-section I realized many things had changed. I felt horrible, I wanted to get back to my ‘pre-baby’ body but my whole grains, low calorie dieting to lose the baby weight wasn’t working.
I went to the doctor and requested testing be conducted as I knew something wasn’t right, and I was correct. After the tests results came in I received a phone call which revealed that I had 3 food allergies, all of which my body was rejecting and not digesting properly. I was absolutely blown away.
Men will never know how much having a child changes your body; I went from zero food allergies to three, that’s crazy.
This also highlights the necessity to listen to your body.
Had I never gone to the doctor’s office I could still be suffering from allergic reactions to these foods to this day.
My results came back and I discovered that after 22 years of living on this Earth with zero food issues, I was now allergic to Milk, Eggs, and Wheat!!!
As I ended the call with my doctor I looked down at the Iced Coffee and Milk I had in front of me, with a pastry, next to my sister-in-law and my son at a little farm stand and sighed.
I got up, promptly picked up what was in front of me, and I threw it in the trash to begin anew.
From there I bought 5 books, booked marked 10 sites, Pinterested numerous “pins” and tried to understand what the hell I was going to do.
I cut out all of the allergens and lost about 25lbs in a month.
My body wasn’t digesting any of that “diet crap” I was feeding it or any of my “regular” type of foods either.
(At this point you may think, “gluten-free is in though”, well it wasn’t…not then)
At this point Hunter was deployed again and I was nervous to see how he would react to coming home to veggie based meals, gluten free pastas, etc…
He took it as fuel for us to begin a healthier regimen of eating.
Thus, beginning our message here:
7 years after a food allergy diagnosis, I feel I am pretty much a pro at reading labels. I read for ingredients, things that sound fake, and calories, carbs, sugars etc. I know what to cut out, what is a real vs. fake food and I’m honed in on nutrition and the food my family will eat each night.
Planning out Meals
So how do you decide how to shop in this modern age where all you hear is
- ” I don’t have time” You Do!
- “It takes too much time” It doesn’t
- “I don’t know how to cook” Learn!
The Rule of thumb
The outside section of the grocery store is your friend and the middle consists of your acquaintances.
I don’t have the money to go to whole foods and spend $400.00 to fill my shopping cart with ‘organic’ foods. I just don’t. So what do I do? I menu plan and go from there.
You don’t have to be worried about breaking the bank when you shop. Do so with a plan and you’ll be able to get exactly what your family needs without spending too much $$$.
Shop With A Purpose
There are 4 Easy Rules to follow:
- Go with a list based on your menu plan. (Have a menu plan! A plan for meals you’ll have for the entire week)
- Don’t go to the store hungry!
- Most of us know what the layout of our grocery store is. Follow the layout to get what you need and get nothing more. (This saves the craving and spontaneous purchases of cookies +$) List each section of the store and then list what you need in each section.
- Avoid aisles that you need nothing in (per menu planning), it keeps down cost, “maybes”, and most importantly valuable time.
Fruits & Veggies:
This is usually the entrance to any food store. It also should be the largest part of your list. Make sure you are getting items to compliment your menu plan, what you need in your plan and additions in case you need snacks (that aren’t the cookies you found in aisle 5, just because you walked down it)
What do you really need? Sauces, canned veggies, seasonings, a little EVOO, but not much else!
For me it is the almond milk, non dairy butter and that is about it.
This really depends on your family’s preference. Know your menu plan, don’t just buy what looks good buy what your family needs and what they’ll eat. Buy what you need and leave it with that, otherwise you’re stuck with a package of pork that no one really loves gaining frost bite in your freezer because it was on sale. (I have it in there now and I’ve decided to take on a vegan challenge recently, the thing will be in there for a while…)
Budgeting for me isn’t couponing (I never have them!).
It isn’t about knowing what is and is not on sale at any given store. The budget for me is knowing a price point, planning a menu, and getting exactly what I go for. Not only am I budgeting my money but I am budgeting my time. I don’t spend hours at the store thinking of what to buy and I am not buying unnecessary things; I am buying with purpose.
The purpose to make healthy meals and heavy wallets.
My lady laid it out there and I am hoping that the guys who read this along with the few females reading take it to heart and look at their own practice of meal prep and planning.
- Write out an entire week’s worth of meals
- Break that down to ingredients
- Get ingredients
Don’t buy more than what you need. Get the necessities and eat it, ensuring that you’re shopping more frequently as you’re buying fresh ingredients and not the shit which can exist for years on a shelf.
If you have questions, Mrs. Drew is all about helping people eat healthier and do so in a budget friendly manner.
Acta Non Verba,
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