Family Food Habits
This week I’m talking about food, which is a huge topic and I could write forever about it, so this week Im just going to focus on the changes I’ve made over the last few months to reduce wastage, save money and eat better.
I’ve shopped in Tesco all of my adult life. I’ve never really stopped to question it, or consider other options. My mother always shopped in Tesco when I was a child because it was the supermarket nearest to us. When I was a student I bought the value noodles, when I finished and brought in a salary I bought the big brands because it’s what was familiar to me.
Now I’m a mamma and questioning what’s in all this identically sized and coloured food. Even more so since Miss P started on solid food. I decided it was time to make some changes to move my family towards healthier and more eco friendly food habits.
The first thing I did was to order a weekly veg box. I felt strongly that we should have good wholesome organic vegetables that are grown locally or sourced in a sustainable way. When I added up the cost, I realised that I spend a similar amount in the supermarket but usually end up with a lot of wastage because it’s hard to get small quantities and multiple offers tend to mean I buy more than I need. Getting a weekly box means I get exactly the right amount, it tastes much better (who knew carrots could be so sweet) and I know I’m not feeding Penny any unnecessary gm or chemicals.
I also get a dozen eggs delivered as I know that they are coming from properly looked after chickens. (I buy from Riverford organic because they are based nearby and I like their policies and prices.) I’m happy to pay a fair price for good, fresh food that’s delivered to my door.
The second thing I did was plan. This is much harder to stick to than I first realised when I started doing this. Foodwise our whole week now revolves around the vegbox delivery, which comes on a friday. To help me with this, I did buy a few proper cookbooks to inspire me, as all my other books were based on sweet baking rather than wholesome cooking! I now plan exactly what we are going to eat sunday to thursday. Friday’s and saturdays are jackpot nights because we use up whatever’s left from the previous week. I’m not usually one to plug things but Hugh’s Three Good Things cookbook has been absolutely invaluable. I think 70% of our weekday recipes come directly from or are inspired by this book.
I do find it hard to be really disciplined about planning though. I try and sit down on friday when the box arrives and plan straight away, but sometimes other demands mean I don’t get around to it until saturday or sunday. But making sure the planning gets done also means that the rest of the shopping list gets done without overspending. Now when I go to the supermarket for all the other bits and pieces, I have the list and I stick to it. This has saved us a huge amount of money over the last couple of months and also means I know exactly what I have in the kitchen cupboards. No more out of date flour or beans in sight!
The third thing is possibly a bit controversial. We introduced veggie days. On a normal week we now have vegetarian meals on monday, wednesday and friday. Although not intentionally, we both seem to have made the whole day meat free too. I found this has meant we rarely have wasted veg at the end of the week, we’ve both got creative in the kitchen and to be honest, I find lots of our veggie meals as equally tasty if not more so than a standard meat and two veg dinner.
I’ll be the first to admit that it’s not always possible to stick to these three things (except the vegbox) completely. I find that disturbed nights with Penny will often end up with lazy shopping and cooking. When this happens though I try to get back on track as quickly as possible. I think overall it’s made a big difference to our spending and our nutrition. Plus because we waste a lot less food and we don’t buy more than we need, we’re also being a more eco friendly family.
I think there’s more that we could do, but it’s a start!
I hope you found this post useful, do comment if you have any other ideas that could help or if you implement any of the above for your lifestyle!