Thursday, October 8, 2009

Day 2, eating on $30/week

Okay, well this post was meant to be another somewhat informative piece so that you could get something out of my semi-struggles. However, it's been a long day, so it will be a little short, again without photos.

The good news: I didn't spend anything on food today.
The bad news: the point isn't not to spend, it's to stay within a budget. I guess technically my week should start on whatever day I do groceries, but whatever, as long as we learn something, right?

First, a couple of links:
An article I wrote on nutrition on a budget. It also mentions that according to a study, the price of food in Calgary is rather inflated.

“Read the food flyers and plan your meals around what is on sale that week,” said nutritionist Elizabeth Christianson. “Make a shopping list and stick to it. Don’t shop for groceries on an empty stomach, and if possible, leave the kids at home. Buying in bulk saves packaging costs and can cost less.”

Things you should not eat on a budget (or ever).

Today's munchies:
  • that hard-boiled egg from yesterday (eggs are cheap, but I should have combined it with old reliable: steel-cut oats which are also affordable in bulk)
  • a cup of tea
  • brown rice stir-fry with baby bok choy, onions, mushrooms and coconut milk
  • home made ginger snaps
  • weird Asian rice snack from my mum 
  • I had time to make lunch in the morning, and the process is a no-brainer for saving money if you're out of the house for lunch. Brown rice is high in protein and pretty filling. I think the 5 lb bag cost less than $10 at Superstore when I bought it months ago. Add some dark leafy greens and seasonings (I used soy sauce, coconut milk, peanut butter, hot sauce and sesame oil) and you've got yourself a sustaining meal.
  • Brown rice takes about an hour to cook though so it's a good idea to cook it up the night before and eat it for the next couple days. 
  • Spaghetti and tomato sauce with roasted pepper, zucchini and cauliflower
  • I got lucky again and had dinner at my mum's, but this is a dinner that's easily adaptable for a budget. Try making your own tomato sauce with a cheap can of basic sauce, a can of crushed, stewed, or whole tomatoes (i.e. whatever's on sale) and your choice of seasonings such as dried basil and thyme, hot sauce or peppers and onion and throw in some frozen spinach for a painless dose of greens. Roast whatever veggies are in season, they're the cheapest and probably travelled the least distance to your grocery store. Bonus if you can make it to a farmer's market and score something super fresh and local.
Tomorrow: will I brave the snow and cold to go to the Farmer's Market or will I wimp out and go to Safeway? How to overcome the desire for coffee on the first wintry days of the year...

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