I made it through the entire week of my challenge. Actually, let me amend that - I made it through the entire week of my challenge, less Saturday night dinner.
I was rather surpirsed by the outcome. I had expected to run low on food, completely depleting my supply of fresh fruit and vegetables, and resorting to dry, unappetizing menu options. As it turns out, I actually still have food from my original shopping cart left. I did not touch the cous-cous, chickpeas, green beans or falafel mix. The pork chops are still in my freezer. My crisper still houses half a bag of carrots and a significant number of apples. I still have left-over eggs, bread, raisins, sunflower seeds, oatmeal, and pasta. Shockingly, I even have a small cube of cheese left. I think the groceries that I bought for just over $40 could have fed me for ten days at least. What I did eat more or less met the Canadian nutrition guidelines.
There are nutritious and appetizing options out there for the budget conscious. Lessons learned:
*One pot meals, such as chili which is healthy, yummy, and easy to make, can easily be stretched by serving it with healthful brown rice.
*Cheaper meats are extremely versatile. Two large turkey drumsticks, simmered in the crockpot to make the meat tender (and to provide a week's worth of stock) provided many warming bowls of soup and the base for a delicious stirfry. The soup was fortified by the addition of grated carrots and brown rice.
*Proteins such as beans/legumes and eggs are a wonderful low-cost substitute for meats. They also are an eco-minded alternative to livestock production.
*Organization is key. Plan your menu, buy only what is needed, and cook in advance if possible. Using your stove for the bulk of your cooking only once a week also helps to reduce costly energy bills.
*The cost of one Starbucks tall latte, can feed one person for an entire day!
I know that over the holidays I am likely to be plied with cookies, chocolates, meats, cheeses, and all manner of delectable dishes. My goal for the New Year though is to try to continue this lifestyle as a general rule of thumb. I have a tendency to be self-indulgent and the continual New Year's Resolution to lose weight or be healthier is meaningless, and typically tattered and broken by February. It is easier to make a lifestyle adjustment toward less seld-indulgence when you hear the repeated news of lay-offs, record unemployment, foreclosures, etc.
My early best wishes for a year of stability and recovery in 2009.
Turkey stirfry, with green pepper, onion, carrots and bean sprouts. Cooked in turkey stock and soy sauce, and served over brown rice.
Sweet treat to cure a dessert craving. Apples sauteed with brown sugar and a little water to make a caramel sauce; raisins and sunflower seeds tossed in for good measure.