Stretching your dough
and loosening the cinch knot on your families budget
Money has the ability to tighten the cinch knot around our housing budgets, squeezing it to the
point of near suffocation. Saving Money is something we all would like to do. Here I
would like to help you loosen that cinch knot, and put a buck or two back into your
budget while preparing and eating wholesome foods.
It is important to know that this is attainable with some commitment, a little planning & some
determination. It doesn't come without sacrifice though: some sweets and salty foods.
Maybe not eliminating them completely but drastically reduce your consumption of
Well if you haven't closed this article you are on your way to budgetary relief. You will also have
piece of mind in knowing you are feeding your family wholesome foods.
This process involves cooking, planning, purchasing and a “stick to it” attitude. You may not know
everything there is to know. It is important to know that success of this for you is not
determined by a single event, week, or day in the kitchen. Your success will more likely
be determined by your ability to share these ideas and convince others that everyone
wins by their success, and sticking to it.
We will commence the loosening of the budget knot by looking at the following topics:
Balancing your meal
Knowing your food
Preparing the correct amount
Not using processed foods
Using wholesome ingredients
Balancing your meal sounds like a topic for nutrition. Nutrition is a sound topic and it is important,
however here the balance is more like that of a parent sitting on a see saw with their
child. The balance between starch, vegetable, proteins and salad. Just as a parent sitting
on a see saw weights down the one side so does too much of one item, here protein.
From a nutritional point of view we eat to much protein in our society. If we get 4 – 6 oz. Of protein
a day that is enough for our body. For our purpose here protein is usually the most
expensive part of the meal. Balance here levels out the see saw by getting the balance
between starch, vegetables, protein and salad.
You have to plan appropriately for your family. If your family doesn't eat salad try doing an
additional vegetable, starch etc. Starches, depending on what they are and their
preparation can be heavy in terms of their negative nutritional value. They can be high
in fat and calories if they contain flours and high in fats. Ex. Rich pasta dishes, baked
potato with sour cream or butter, bread stuffing. There are some starches that are good
ones: Ex. Brown rice, whole wheat pastas, roasted or boiled potatoes, barley pilaf.
If your family isn't opposed to salads, they are a great source of nutrition. They are a great source
of raw vegetables. They can be fairly easy to prepare and they have reasonable cost. You
could be the trend setter of your family's history.
If you have taken any of these steps, you have decreased your protein costs, and increased your
health while lowering your costs.
Knowing your food is important in preparing a dish that is enjoyed by your guests. Most likely you
are not going to be cooking fried alligator or kangaroo stew so don't be alarmed. What I
am referring to is more commonly the proteins you buy and the appropriate cooking
methods for them.
If you are cooking under budget you are probably not going to be buying a tender cut of beef for
grilling or broiling. You are more likely to braise a reasonably priced cut, or marinate
and quick cook it. The importance for here is to use the appropriate cooking technique
to cook your dish so that the flavors and tenderness are maximized through the cooking
When you are doing your planning look for sales in the grocery flyer's. Look for proteins that are
on sale. Figure out what primal cut they come from. Usually you can determine from
the primal cut what cooking procedure you can use for the appropriate protein. If you
can't determine this go to More about beef, veal or pork and you and can find these
Preparing the correct amount can save much time and money. This is something that can easily get
out of hand. The best place to start is something you know, your family. You know who
eats what, you know if someone needs 12 oz. Of protein, or double vegetable.
Planning portions can assist in balancing diet. Planning on portions is a good way of controlling
what everyone eats. If you only prepare as planned then everyone is less likely to over
eat. When planning the portions, you are going to purposefully balance the meal to get
enough to fill you.
When you plan on portions you are using a measure to guide your purchasing, production, and
consumption. There are some standard portion sizes that you can use to gauge this. You
can start with this information and then adjust it according to your knowledge of your
family's consumption. When entertaining guests it is good practice to use generous
portioning. You don't know their needs as intimately as your family.
Develop portioning for the regular members of your table adjust from:
4 oz. salad
4. oz. Protein
6 oz. Starch
4 oz. vegetable
When purchasing foods look for sales on whole chicken, pork loin, ground beef, cuts of meat. Buy
carrots, potatoes, onions in large bags appropriate to your cooking needs purchase
frozen vegetables. If you are cooking regularly you will go through these items. If you
have access to a warehouse supplier like Sams, Bjs, or Costco purchase your vegetables
and starches here. If you have access to a farmers market buy your vegetables here,
they are often cheaper in farming areas.
If you have the time and space grow some vegetables. Vegetables such as carrots, tomatoes, green
beans, beets, herbs are all easy to grow. Root vegetables such as carrots and beets can be
stored all winter in a cool area.
Your approach should take aim for cheaper cuts of meat:
chuck, eye of the round, shoulder, stew meat, bottom round, brisket, cube steak, blade
steak, arm roast. Look at using balanced meals with starches and vegetables.
Healthy wholesome foods are free of chemicals and preservatives, and in the case of organic they are
grown without the use of pesticides. In our culture eating food the way it is meant to be
is actually more expensive then eating fast food and unwholesome foods loaded with
additives and preservatives.
There are two main versions of eating wholesome foods, the purist or extreme version we will refer
to as organic, and the compromise or most realistic version. The common thread in both
methods is that cooking meals without the addition of preservatives and chemical
additives yields a wholesome food product that your family or guest will benefit from.
The main difference between the two is that organic tends to stay obedient to using
organic foods. Organic foods are grown specifically avoiding chemicals, pesticides and
Our bodies are an amazing creation designed to take in foods and turn them into fuel for our brain,
muscles, organs, and heart for daily functions. It has the ability to filter these foods
removing toxins and things the body can't use. The liver is used to detoxify, while the
kidney filters the blood of toxins in our bodies.
On a daily basis we are exposed to toxins in our every day life. They come in the form of smoke,
chlorine, preservatives, vapors, pesticides, fats, drugs, etc. The common element to all
of them is that they are not meant to be in our bodies, so our bodies do their job to get
rid of them. In the process our organs can get bogged down by the extreme processing of
There should be no big surprise to us that when we consume excess calories they are processed and
the excess is stored as fat on our bodies. Our bodies need a degree of fat to perform
functions such as protecting our organs, and insulating our body and transporting
certain fat soluble vitamins. Aside from the body sustaining functions, fat is stored in
excess on our bodies as a home for toxins our liver has excreted.
Combine with 15 – 20 minutes of physical activity each day combined with eating balanced
wholesome foods will lead you to healthier lives. A healthier lifestyle will lead to a body
that has a good preventive maintenance plan. This will not eliminate illness but will lead
to feeling better, and having a stronger immune system.
This preventive maintenance could:
Prevent Dr.'s visits,
reduce missed time off from work
increase self value
teach your family better health practices
Other Obvious benefits from eating more wholesome foods:
aid in digestion
less toxins in our foods allows for healthier organs
savings in cost because of more home prepared foods
Do not use processed foods if you can avoid them. Processed foods are the result of someone
capitalizing on mass production of foods. These processes utilize technology that is
available that aid in the reduced cost associated with the making food products. These
foods are to be consumed at a later time. They often times have the addition of
preservatives and additives to extend the life of a product, and sometimes to enhance
There are some processed foods that are available that do not have preservatives and additives.
These would be considered more wholesome. However these products can be very
expensive. They are doing what you would be doing if you did it yourself. They are using
wholesome ingredients while minimizing artificial ingredients. This can be a viable
option if you are balancing working with providing good wholesome food for your family
and don't have the time or energy to cook.
Other advantages of producing your own meals are:
You can put your signature on a dish
Make your food more wholesome
You will be eating healthier
You will save money
The following begins some simple suggested recipes. There are 28 main recipes that would give you 4 weeks
of dinners that can be produced for around $1.00 per/person. You could pick some that your
family likes and rotate through them, or have 4 weeks of meals.
28 no repeat meals
Breads and pastries