Growing (in the dirt) by Katie m. Berggren

Growing (in the dirt) by Katie m. Berggren ~ snag a print here

Recently, as I packed my filled Trader Joes reusable bags into my trunk, I was thinking ~ “$190? What on earth did I just get for $190? I spent One Hundred and Ninety Dollars and I don’t even know what I am making for dinner a single night this week!”

As I put my groceries away in the kitchen, I looked at each item: salad, carrots, broccoli, dried pasta, lots of nuts, avocados, peanut butter, several boxes of organic cheese sandwich crackers, 4 boxes of bars…. Hmmm ~ those blasted bars and crackers really do add up, and what do we get for that money?

Sure, they are TJs brand so I trust them to be non GMO, and they do not have hydrogenated junk in them, and I like supporting Trader Joes. But really, do I need to spend $30 on snackies alone? And have you looked inside those boxes? There is 2-3 handfuls of goodness in there ~ and the rest is air. And packaging.

I am 100% all-in on spending a large percentage of my earnings on whole fresh food for my family. I know that organic produce costs more (but really not all that much more, and it is worth it) and I’m aware that choosing brands that do not use GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) in their recipes is a better choice for our bodies. I despise GMOs. I despise cheap food that fills our bodies up but (I believe) affects them negatively cell by cell.

I despise supporting companies that use “floor sweepings” to create their products (as my dad used to say) and care more about the all-mighty buck than the health of our nation’s people. We need to be and feel more than “full”.

 Phew, that was part of my rant. You may (meaning: you will probably, most definitely) hear more at another time 🙂

So, I began to think about the wisdom of my friend Jaynee, who as long as I’ve known her (3 years) has been preaching (kindly) the value of planning your menu. The value of sitting down one night per week and letting the family help you choose the next 7-10 menus.

In the past, as my boys were very young, I had ALWAYS strived for this, and I’ve tried a variety of methods to make this happen. I’ve invented a lovely Meal Wheel that helped me determine how each night’s leftovers would work into a new menu for another night ~ and allowed me to set up about 18 meals in advance on paper.

But, I rebelled after only 2 weeks… It was too structured and I seem to rebel against structure. I don’t like being told that I have to make or eat a certain thing on a certain night. I rebel!

At the end of May, I sat down and calculated how much I spent on groceries the whole month and the number surprised me! I feel like mostly all I eat is salad and fruit, and dark chocolate, (although I know that is not entirely true!) and for the boys in my family: salad, fruit and a small variety of other healthy things and some not-so-healthy (although I know that is not entirely true, either!) but I just didn’t see where that low four digit number came from!

Coming next week: My Steps to a Healthier Grocery Budget ~ surely different and most likely inadequate in another’s eyes. But my steps nonetheless…

I would LOVE to hear your thoughts for how you tame the grocery budget ~ do you have any secrets for efficiency or feeding your family without spending in the four digits each month? But the trick here, is the standard for food. I’ve looked at the coupon systems, and the coupons they offer and promote frequently feature items I would not put in my cart.

I greatly value your input and feedback 🙂

Love & Sincerely, Katie