Grocery Geek Presents: Good. Cheap. Eats

Since my recent reading of In Defense of Food, it’s been difficult to walk through the grocery store, filled with boxes of food products that may or may not be that good for us. I really want to feed my family more home-made meals with fewer processed foods, but man, that is tough. I love me some convenience items.

That said, I made some baby steps in what I hope are some improvements in my shopping all the while still saving money.

Albertsons Trip:

I had three double coupons that were about to expire so I used them on three boxes of Kashi. The cereal was on sale for $2.99, and I had $1.50 coupons. After the doubling, I paid $0.50 for each box. I also had $1 coupons for Oroweat bread and got three loaves for $1.50 each. Finally, strawberries were on sale for $0.99. I bought a few other items like milk and eggs, but they weren’t any screaming deals.

Sprouts Shopping:

Sprouts is a health food store, much like Henry’s or Whole Foods. They usually have fantastic deals on produce and bulk items, so I stocked up on those things.

blueberries $0.99
tomatoes $0.88/lb
apples $0.88/lb
grapes $0.88/lb
green beans $0.88/lb
cukes $0.50 each
lettuce $0.50/head
quick oats $0.50/lb

It has been a fun ride, this healthier eating thing. I still love convenience, but I’m learning to make more of it myself.

Interestingly enough, even though we’re making baby steps, our tastes are already changing. The other day, the kids and I had tater tots and fish sticks. And they didn’t really like them as well as they used to. Their taste buds would now prefer a real potato and a piece of real fish.

Music to a mother’s ears….

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Comments

  1. So envious of the fruit prices where you are! But so glad you can take advantage of them :)

  2. I love Sprouts! Bulk grains, nuts, dried fruits, spices= joy. My Sprouts also carries some local items–honey, bread, citrus.

    As far as the journey to healthy eating, yesterday my kids requested carrots and hummus for snack–even though there were cookies on the counter! (homemade WW oatmeal cookies) And a little child will lead them.

  3. We are trying to make the switch to healthier eating in my home as well. I hope that planting our first garden will help in this area.

  4. You just gotta add more to your freezer cooking! Make a big pan of homemade baked beans (from dried beans!) and stick that in the freezer. Same with cheesy potatoes (minus the canned soup, I have a recipe on my blog). Chicken stock. Etc. It really is not that bad. I would also highly recommend getting into some fermented foods, like sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha, yogurt, etc. SUPER easy to make. I have yogurt incubating now. And of course you can still buy tons of fresh or frozen produce and let the kids eat it plain or make quick smoothies with it. Eating real food doesn’t have to be hard. :) I don’t buy anything packaged really and I don’t feel like I spend my life in the kitchen. Just a busy day every couple weeks. I spend a lot of time ignoring food that’s soaking, fermenting, etc.

    The fermented foods thing — I hated them at first but now I am OBSESSED, they make me feel so good!! I’m writing about that tomorrow and Sunday if you’re interested. :)

  5. We are making the same switches at our house, and I read that book last year. so good! I agree with you and your kids – real food tastes better. And there are still deals on organic stuff.

  6. Be careful when you think eating Kashi cereal means it is healthier for you. I recently got the free sample and coupons, too, and as I was eating my cereal I decided to read the ingredients and look at the nutrition label. My, oh, my… what fancy words they use for sugar ( cane juice crystals???). The cereal I was eating had 26 grams of sugar compared to the one gram in the Cheerios I usually eat. Cheerios may be “old news” but it is a simple multigrain product and with coupons, quite easy to come by for little money. In other words… don’t fall for the marketing techniques for all the “health” food today. Read those labels and “google” words you don’t understand. It can be a real eye-opener!

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      @Patti, that’s interesting. My box says 25g of carbs, but only 5g of sugar. I could be mistaken. But I don’t think that 5g is “sugar” in the sense of table sugar or even sucanat which is the brand name for “evaporated sugar can juice” which is what my box says. I think the 5g refers to natural sugars as well as others.

      I don’t know that I would make a case either way between Cheerios or Kashi. We love Cheerios, too. Coupons often dictate my choices.

      I think that if you read In Defense of Food, you’ll agree with the author, particularly about marketing techniques. It was a fascinating read.

      Just to clarify, my overall goal is to reduce of processed foods I buy for our family. For me it isn’t that “sugar is bad,” it’s “how processed is the sugar?” I am using more honey, maple syrup, and sucanat in our baking because those sweeteners are closer to the original form which I think is better for us than other sweeteners.

      I agree, labeling can be quite misleading and we have to be alert when making food choices.

      Thanks for posing such a great topic!

  7. It’s good to hear how someone is trying to eat healthier and inexpensively as well. We’re trying to eat healthier foods, for example, we’re working on getting high fructose corn syrup out of our diet, but it’s so hard to have the time and money to do this! I’m hoping to make a few batches of chocolate chips cookie dough this weekend and freeze it: make individual balls on wax paper, freeze and roll up and put in a plastic bag. Then when you want cookies, bake and enjoy. Not only is this NOT cheaper than buying store brand double-stuffs, it takes a lot of time and effort! It’s hard work to eat healthier! There’s a reason they invented convenience foods to begin with!

    Buying bulk foods is often a good way to go, I have a blog post about that on our site: http://www.greenlifestyleconsulting.com/2010/02/getting-started-with-bulk-purchasing-of.html

  8. You are doing wonderful!! We have Sunflower which is much like Sprouts. Love their produce deals!

  9. I love your new food choices! I was amazed that you were able to find coupons for such items. I was a total couponaholic until I moved to an area that doesn’t double coupons and I changed my eating habits tremendously. We buy very few packaged things. You inspired me!

    Your Sprouts store sounds amazing. My sale prices are roughly double what you just paid.

    I appreciated all the comments, too, we gain so much wisdom by sharing what we have gained!

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      @Momma Mindy, double coupons are very hard to come by in Southern CA. The store I mentioned has only offered them twice. The other stores regularly offer them, but in an extremely limited way. (Not more than one of a kind) It’s challenging, but I can still make couponing work to my advantage, even without doubles.

  10. After reading In Defense of Food last year, I also began taking small steps toward healthier eating for our family. I see it as a journey; we’re eating more fruits, vegetables and homemade foods than we used to, but there are still ‘many ways we can improve our diets.

    I’m thrilled when we can combine fresh air and exercise with healthy foods – meaning this morning we’re off to a u-pick farm to pick strawberries!

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      @Tracey, have a great day! That sounds so fun! I wish we lived in a more ag area, because I think those things would be less expensive. Picking strawberries would be fun, but pricey here.

  11. Wow. I can only dream of a store that offers produce at those prices. Every thing you mentioned is at least, at least 50% less than what we pay here in maine. We do not have stores with “doubler” coupons either. Okay this is depressing.

  12. Wow – great produce prices!! I’m envious!

    And that Orowheat bread is our favorite. I buy tons of it when on sale with a coupon and store in the freezer. Thankfully, my kiddos don’t even like white bread since we’ve never eaten it at home. (Unfortunately, I love it! I was raised on good ol’ white Merita.)

    Good food for thought! ( no pun intended…)

    -Lauren

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