Changing Food Habits

I’ve seen quite a few posts over the past few weeks talking about how the changing economy is affecting how people eat.  I don’t mean people aren’t eating because they’re sick to their stomach over the $700 billion bailout plan, though it’s enough to make me lose my appetite!  These articles have been looking at ways to cut back, save money and eat healthier meals.

Serious Eats has an interesting post that correlates a bad economy with more people eating at home and leading to an increase of food magazine subscriptions.  Now, this intrigued me because there are a couple magazines I was thinking of adding to my Christmas wish list.  It’s not really a surprising correlation when you think about it.  After all, a year’s subscription to 2 magazines is cheaper than a night out at a decent restaurant without wine.

Today, Nona at Everyday Yogini had an interesting post about food prices in Rome vs the US.  Unlike in the US grocery stores, local produce is much cheaper.  In my local food stores, Whole Foods and Harvest Co-Op (Shaws doesn’t count b/c nothing there is local), the produce from area farms is sometimes nearly twice as expensive, and while I’d love to support local businesses, I just can’t afford it.  It’s hard to reconcile.

What are you doing to help out your personal budget and not starve?  I know Spinstah’s been running a pantry challenge and some of her meals look amazing.  Any suggestions for someone (me) who already eats healthy, makes breakfast, lunch and dinner in her own kitchen 7 days a week, and would still like to cut her food budget?

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10 responses to “Changing Food Habits

  1. Try growing your own produce. Even apartment dwellers can do this in containers. Check our farmers markets for all kinds of fresh foods and check out the discount bread store for all sorts of cheap goodies.

  2. Those are some great suggestions — and I love me some Farmers Markets!

  3. I know of a yard and a greenhouse (once rebuilt) that could grow some great produce!

  4. I plan to increase my intake of various combinations of rice, couscous and beans. I think I might also start getting frozen veggies to toss randomly into things instead of eating salads all the time.

  5. I def. second Alison’s suggestions. Beans, rice, grains and frozen veggies are our staples through the winter. I buy lots of veggies during the summer season (either the specials at the grocery store, or extra from the CSA) and freeze them. Doesn’t quite get us through the winter, but it is close and we supplement w/ frozen or canned from the grocery store, which is certainly better than the yucky winter tomatoes and zucchini.

  6. Andrea – can we do a recipe swap sometime? I’d love to do more with beans and rice, but I get stuck in such a rut! Would love to hear what you cook.

  7. I make a lot of soup, it creates large amounts for not too much work. I then bring this in for lunch for sometimes an entire week. I am also a vegetarian and I think that helps the food budget. I can feel a difference in my food bill but not a huge amount. I also watch for sales and then stock up on things that won’t go bad.

  8. I second Sarah’s comment: Soup, soup, soup! Apart from being among my top three favorite foods (first: sammiches; second: pie) it can be quite economical. We tend to only buy what’s in season, and really only see a rise in our grocery bill when we spend too much money on processed vegetarian foods.

  9. Though I’m bad at using one myself (wait – I don’t cook… what am I thinking?), a crock pot can be great for soups and other bulk-made stuff that you can leftover the crap out of for a couple days, at least. I’ve been eating a lot more veggies and a little less meat and chicken, which for a born-and-bred meat & potatoes kid, is a complete 180 for me. I crave the veg now, so that’s a good sign. Definitely cheaper than frozen or packaged foods any day. I’d also love to start growing some of my own, and really need to look into the apartment gardens. Hopefully my brown thumb won’t ruin the experience.

    As for magazines, Mike had simultaneous subscriptions to Gourmet, Bon Appetit, and Food & Wine. In trying to scale back the waste, he chose Food & Wine as his one to stick with. I didn’t check them out as much, but while the other two are definitely prettier, I think F&W had more chunky content.

  10. oooh, oooh – We’re also going to farmer’s markets more now, too, which is so much cheaper! Stock up for a week at a time and have meals already planned out to cut back on buying more than you need.

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