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Author Topic: Feeding a Family E4H On a Budget  (Read 68317 times)

Offline Jo-Ellen

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Re: Feeding a Family E4H On a Budget
« Reply #15 on: February 22, 2008, 05:33:56 PM »
I find this topic fascinating as a Mother of four kids with a busy building contractor husband I always had budgeting and meal plans on my agenda.  When all four children were home (we homeschooled on and off thru the years)  we made EVERYTHING except pasta from scratch. (And sometimes we made the pasta from scratch too.) Soup, breads, treats... all of it.  But life hits the fast lane when kids start going to high school, even home schooled high school!  Even thought we make most foods from scratch, we also buy some premade foods.  Also the need for calories for active teens seems insatiable and they are more aware of the social aspects of eating.  With all this our budget has maintained between $800/mo to $1000/mo and goes as high as $1200/mo during holiday season. This is what it has been over the past 10 years.

 Now we have 2 teens at home and the food budget is the same.  I guess that is due to the increase in cost of food.  I grow a large garden, we can, we eat 95% organic foods including raw or organic dairy products, I sprout legumes and seeds, we create our own broths, dry garden produce and fruits when they are abundant and still I cannot lower the costs below $800/mo.  I need to add in the company that comes.  Tonight I have 8 teens coming for dinner.  Thank goodness the brocolli is side sprouting in the garden and that I have pasta in the pantry and they love garlic bread with herbs!

My friends that don't eat as clean as we do spend half the money we spend on food, but their families are often less healthy than our family.  So I see the pay off as health and good times at dinner.
Blessings for a Rich and Delicious Spring!
JoEllen

Offline AmandaL

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Re: Feeding a Family E4H On a Budget
« Reply #16 on: February 24, 2008, 11:17:35 AM »
Kelly- I popped into a Trader Joes on the way home from the Bay Area last week--  Not sure where I was, possibly Fairfield.  I was shocked.  I was only an hour or so from home and the prices we drastically higher.  Milk, Eggs, Bread, OJ were all a dollar more.   That adds up. 
Wife, mother, food lover, advocate
www.mydailydiner.com
Healthy Eating Specialist
Whole Foods Market, Arlington, VA

KellyT

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Re: Feeding a Family E4H On a Budget
« Reply #17 on: February 24, 2008, 11:59:35 AM »
Wow, Amanda, that's really interesting!

I have noticed a difference in items stocked and even in freshness quality between our local Trader Joe's. (I have 4 local ones: two in Concord, one in Walnut Creek, and one in Brentwood.) I wonder if they give the managers a lot of leeway in running the stores. I normally shop at the Concord store (next to the Concord Airport). I was at the Walnut Creek store yesterday and was amazed at the differences.

I know that Trader Joe's on the East Coast is completely different. In late 2004 and early 2005 we lived in Chicago for 9 months. The Trader Joe's there had such different items that I spoke with a manager who said that the company has two divisions: East and West. I was surprised at the differences.

Offline CarolC

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Re: Feeding a Family E4H On a Budget
« Reply #18 on: March 04, 2008, 03:54:14 PM »
I have decided to make my research presentation for the NE program on the topic of how low income families can improve their diets.  I am proposing a survey questionnaire for a target group.  I will have to limit the target group to English-speaking families, as I do not speak Spanish, which is the second largest group of low income families.  I hope I can find a way to help the immigrant community eventually but will need to plan to learn Spanish somewhere along the way.  In the meantime, any suggestions on where I should do my survey would be helpful.  I know a couple of Registered Dieticians in Santa Clara County and will contact them to see whether I could attend one of their community health fairs as a possibility, as well as contacting one of the food distribution groups linked with Second Harvest, but if anyone has other ideas, let me know.

KellyT

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Re: Feeding a Family E4H On a Budget
« Reply #19 on: March 05, 2008, 11:07:46 AM »
I think a good first step would be to define your parameters of "low income". That will help you to figure out where to look. If you use a governmental definition that covers the entire US, you will have a very different group of people rather than if you use a California definition. For example, the average family income in the US is around $45,000-$50,000 a year. However, in many of the counties in the Bay Area, the average income ranges around $85,000-$90,000. A family in the Bay Area earning $45,000 may be "average income" for the US, but would be earning only 50% of the area's income and be struggling to get by, especially when you factor in rent/ mortgage costs, food costs, and transportation.

If you go with families making say $24,000 to $50,000, you may be able to locate people through local parents groups. Another avenue to try would be the WIC office. Many of them are run by RD's, so your RD's might know someone. You could try the local school district office or local homeschool groups. (You would be surprised how many homeschoolers are low income, since we usually only have one income.)

Good luck with your presentation and let us know how it goes! It sounds really interesting and very much needed!!! :)

BTW - Only some of us are comfortable with calling ourselves "low income". Maybe you could "sell it" using a different term, like "nutrition for families struggling to make ends meet in our high-cost area".


Offline AmandaL

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Re: Feeding a Family E4H On a Budget
« Reply #20 on: March 25, 2008, 02:00:57 PM »
Not sure if Trader Joe's is raising their prices or if I have just become a more efficient shopper at Whole Foods, but I have been able to stick to my budget the past few weeks while buying all but my produce at Whole Foods. Produce is way over priced there and living in CA I have the option of year round farmers markets.
Wife, mother, food lover, advocate
www.mydailydiner.com
Healthy Eating Specialist
Whole Foods Market, Arlington, VA

Offline StephanieH

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Re: Feeding a Family E4H On a Budget
« Reply #21 on: March 26, 2008, 04:04:33 PM »
Amanda,
 Thank you for your abundance of information.I'm a family of 6 ( two adults and four children) I can use all the help I can get when it comes to our diet and high quality foods. We to soley eat organic and I'm spending way to much on food. I really needed a template for getting organized and you definetly offer that. Thank you!

Stephanie
stephanie

Offline AmandaL

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Re: Feeding a Family E4H On a Budget
« Reply #22 on: March 26, 2008, 08:04:37 PM »
Thanks Stephanie.  Here's a rule of thumb when meal planning:  If you are trying to save TIME, meal plan before going to the store.  If you are trying to save MONEY, buy your big ticket items (for me thats meat) first.  Buy whatever (meat) is on sale and then come home and meal plan around what you bought.  You have to go back to the store so for many this is too time consuming. 

Sometimes if Whole Foods is having a really good sale on meat I will stock up.  A few weeks ago they had whole chickens for $.99/lb.  I bought 10.   

Sometimes if Im really in a hurry I will go to Whole Foods, look at the meat and then  go over to their recipe section, look through the magazines and right my weekly menu there in the store and then finish my shopping.   :D

The farmers market is the best place for produce in our area---its much less expensive. 
Wife, mother, food lover, advocate
www.mydailydiner.com
Healthy Eating Specialist
Whole Foods Market, Arlington, VA

Offline LucianWayne

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Re: Feeding a Family E4H On a Budget
« Reply #23 on: March 27, 2008, 08:41:34 AM »
Sometimes if Whole Foods is having a really good sale on meat I will stock up.  A few weeks ago they had whole chickens for $.99/lb.  I bought 10.
Are you kidding? $.99/lb? Were the birds organic? I can't seem to find organic chicken for less than $8-10 and we're also just starting chicken processing season. Meat has so far been the bane of E4H plate, it's very expensive to eat clean meats. I get my meat and poultry at one of my local Farmer's Markets and usually spend an average of $20 a week (a couple pounds of meat and a dozen eggs). Sometime's I'll spend $30 so I average $100 a month. This feeds my girlfriend and I (and our cat who likes organ meats as much as I do). Raw dairy (a quart of milk, and a pint of creme) is about $18 a week depending on where we get our goods too.
As was stated earlier, good clean, nutrient dense food is expensive. Even with WIC and EBT I don't see how some people/families cope?
Specializing in helping people gain pounds of muscle through E4H, and realizing a stronger, healthier, more confident self.

Offline MiraD

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Re: Feeding a Family E4H On a Budget
« Reply #24 on: March 27, 2008, 09:09:26 AM »
I think, as Amanda pointed out, some of it really comes down to planning.

I've been monitoring our foods costs since this discussion thread started and our food costs have gone up from an average of $100 a week to $130 a week.  But in the interim I now have a fully grown child at home, a teenager, we eat better and foods costs have gone up overall so I think we're still doing okay.

On thing I plan to look at more carefully this year is long-range food planning, keeping the E4H ideals in mind.  We belong to a food co-op and when I had time or energy I would set food aside but this year I plan to take more advantage of it, including things like the herbs and when the farmer offers gleanings.  This is a good way for me to ensure that my family has access to the highest quality produce.  Although I always make pickled goods this year I also plan to try more natural fermenting methods as mentioned in the Bauman cookbook and in Nourishing Traditions.  I figure this will probably save me a little money but should immeasurably increase our E4H plan.

Offline AmandaL

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Re: Feeding a Family E4H On a Budget
« Reply #25 on: March 27, 2008, 12:33:49 PM »
Lucian--Yes they were organic.  I thought it was a joke.  Then I thought I had hit the motherload, which is why I bought 10!

Eating well on a budget really comes down to planning.  We waste very little here since I only buy what we need for the week.   I really dont "stock up, even its a good price, $.99/lb organic chicken excluded!!!! 

This is goofy but I feel really great if on Thursday (since I shop on Fridays) my cupboards and refrigerator are bare.  I love to not over purchase groceries---its like a game only the winner is our savings account!   
Wife, mother, food lover, advocate
www.mydailydiner.com
Healthy Eating Specialist
Whole Foods Market, Arlington, VA

Offline Catherine McConkie

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Re: Feeding a Family E4H On a Budget
« Reply #26 on: March 29, 2008, 12:21:26 AM »
Yep, I saw that too at Whole Foods and about fell over. Would have bought 10 myself but wasn't going home...

Offline tigerlily

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Re: Feeding a Family E4H On a Budget
« Reply #27 on: April 04, 2008, 03:45:38 PM »
Last time whole foods had that sale I stocked up for the month! They even cut, separated, and packaged it freezer ready.

Carol~ do you know anything about farmers markets accepting EBT (food stamps)? I read an article about it awhile back. My daughter's preschool teacher also mentioned that our area (N. CA, Sacramento) is trying to bring produce stands to the school, so that lower income families who may have transportation issues have an opportunity to get fresh, local produce.
I would love to know how your research paper turns out!
Monica

Offline tigerlily

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Re: Feeding a Family E4H On a Budget
« Reply #28 on: April 04, 2008, 04:42:01 PM »
Here is a website that gives more information about ebt/urban farm stands.
http://www.soilborn.org/head_start.html

Also, I googled CA farmers markets that accept EBT and was given a pdf file of all locations in different counties.

Offline VanessaZ

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Re: Feeding a Family E4H On a Budget
« Reply #29 on: April 09, 2008, 09:17:26 PM »
A very simple way to spend less on groceries is to grow your own.  I do not have a large area to grow food, but I use the small area I have to grow some.   I have kale, strawberries, tomatoes, parseley and a few others.  When I lived in an apartment I had plants growing on my balcony in planters.  After the initial time it takes to plant the plants it takes a few minutes every few days to water them.

 


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