Sunday, March 22, 2009

Realize your Economic Limits When Grocery Shopping

At the request of one of my friends, this Sunday we met at Whole Foods.

Catherine wanted to shadow me and learn how and why I make the choices that I make when I do my grocery shopping.

Talking through my choices with Catherine made me aware of two things:
  1. It's important to realize our economic limits around food purchases and consumption.
  2. It's possible to buy your weekly groceries for less by staying away from packaged foods and purchasing whole, unprocessed produce, protein and dry goods in bulk.
As Catherine and I stood at the check-out, ahead of us were a couple who'd spent $86 on a bag of groceries which included over $10 worth of carob treats. Spending that amount on sweets is fine if your budget allows for it, but if it doesn't, don't buy expensive sweets!

It's a simple formula: If you can't afford it, don't buy it -- realize your economic limits!

I'm not suggesting that if you're on a budget you should never treat yourself -- since I buy myself a small treat every week -- rather, treat yourself within your means.

Oftentimes I'll buy a bar of chocolate, or something sweet from the bulk section, like maple-covered pecans, or dates, or chocolate covered almonds and at the most, I'll spend 2-3 dollars because that's within my budget.

As for the second point, I spent the amount I usually spend on my weekly groceries, approximately $60, and my carry bag was larger and overflowing with whole foods compared to the couple ahead of me who'd spent $86 on less food.

As we all feel the pressure of living during leaner times, it makes sense to spend within your means by making healthier, whole food choices at the grocery store.

Today I have a simple meal suggestion using items from the March 19th shopping list.

Spicy Buffalo
1) Over med-to-high heat, saute big chunks of chopped onion and eggplant in olive oil with garlic (1 or 2 cloves).
2) Once eggplant has browned toss in buffalo, stir it around, breaking up ground beef, then turn heat down, low-to-med.
3) Add half a jar of the 365-brand salsa, stir into beef and veges.
4) Once mixture starts to bubble, turn heat to low and put lid on. Cook slowly for about 15 mins.
5) Do a taste-test and if you want it spicier/hotter, add more salsa or if you have 'hot sauce' on hand, add that.
6) At the last minute, toss in lots of chopped cilantro, stirring through before serving.

Asparagus, Chard & Cherry Tomatoes
1) Break off woody part at the bottom of asparagus spear.
2) Boil rapidly in an inch or so of water for 3-5 mins. with a couple of chopped chard leaves.
3) Strain greens, drizzle with olive oil, season to taste.
4) Toss through some cheese, letting it melt.
5) Chop cherry tomatoes in half and serve on the side with greens.

To Serve: Spoon spicy buffalo and asparagus into separate serving bowls for the most effective presentation at the dining table. You might like to include a small bowl of extra grated cheese for sprinkling over the vegetables, and additional salsa to serve with the buffalo.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A lovely Sunday afternoon shopping with Louise at WHOLE FOODS at a relatively quiet hour there -- if there indeed IS one!

Shopping with you was eye-opening for this down-the-street-from King Soopers kind of shopper. I was genuinely surprised that you found items on my weekly shopping list that were CHEAPER than at KS -- including my beloved Alvarado St. Sprouted Multi-Grain Bread and Horizon 2% milk!

Folks, Louise is "writing the book" on landfill-friendly grocery shopping. Get this: Inside her recycled plastic shopping bag, she brings her used zip-loc bags from home to fill with herbs, bulk items, vegetables that she buys.

Plus she also brings plenty of plastic containers from home -- the kind often found at the olive bar or in the bulk aisle-- she fills them with walnuts, peanut butter, or the dark chocolate that she loves! These are the ethical shopping habits of the future that we need to adopt TODAY.

Louise, I also liked how you didn't even go there with highly packaged items -- even organic spinach in plastic containers. Why buy them when you can bring your own plastic bag and fill it up yourself -- only takes a sec!

AN EYE OPENING EXPERIENCE for moi! Louise, you are a gem to our community, a boon to healthy living, and a generous-spirited friend.