I went grocery shopping the other day and at the register, the cashier told me that I cannot use my debit card but have to either use cash or my credit card instead. I never believe(d) in credit cards. I am a cash girl, always and forever. I love to have money in my wallet instead of taking out these plastic cards. My friend lost his walled the other day and we realized that it is crazy to get money without these cards. He had to cancel his cards and order new ones but in the meantime had no access to money. Then again, carrying too much cash is also not the ideal. I remember the time when I was a child and all my parents had in their wallets was actual money. What I am aiming for is to always carry $60 at all times, “just in case”. Other than that my rather very slim wallet contains 89 cents, a debit card, a credit card that I never use and membership card for museums.
I am a student at The Institute of Holistic Nutrition in Ottawa and not a Holistic Nutritionist yet but my life already revolves around food 98% of the time. Most of my money these days is spend on food for my son and I. He grew a lot and changes; most of his clothes no longer fit and he eats so much. I included some meat in his diet because he craves it. To make him happy and nutritionally satisfied, I rather put the $60 in cash or any money actually toward organic meat and produce than purchasing clothing or anything for myself. Since we have to calculate and live on a very small budget, there is no way I can splurge too much on books, toys for him and personal things for myself. But there is always the library. And secondhand clothing. And local produce. Besides, I see this time of my life as a challenge which I make fun on a daily basis. My son understands that we have to be more considerate with money these days; he understands because he is a smart kid. Thankfully I was never into fancy handbags, clothing, and shoes. I share how we shop as healthy and nutritionally- dense as possible in one week; I included some recipes with keeping minimalism and a small budget in mind.
$ 130 for most of the groceries for the week
This is a pretty standard shopping day for me. I go pretty veggie-heavy at Farmboy for example where I purchase local produce with minimal packaging. I also choose two to three proteins that can be stretched throughout the week (like chicken breast, eggs, turkey or ham). 80% of the produce is local which is important to me. I have to calculate our meals and aim to bring the amount of cost per meals per day for both of us down to $10. These days, I eat less so my son can have more.
Simple is key. For lunch, we had tuna sandwiches on buckwheat bread that I made. His favorite bowl of steamed broccoli not depicted. There was a time when we used to go out for dinner all the time even though my fridge was usually full of organic, healthy food that I purchased at Whole Foods. I have to shamefully admit that I was a huge food waster. These days, I try to save eating at a restaurant for the weekend after I used all my groceries I purchased at the beginning of the week.
For breakfast, we had homemade blueberry/banana buckwheat muffins with my mom’s jam. After, we had to run some errands and came home for lunch. I made us a small salad with homemade bread and cheese. Dinner was organic chicken, roasted asparagus, Brussel sprouts, and quinoa.
We both had a banana/blueberry/coconut smoothie for breakfast. For lunch, we each had a Mini Mason Jar Greek Salad with a baguette. Mini Mason Jar WHAT? Put oil in a jar (2Tsp), 2 Tsp of Apple Cider Vinegar, 2 Tsp Maple Syrup, Oregano, Salt, Pepper and shake in a mason jar. Then add sliced cucumber, a sliced hardboiled egg, tomato, tuna, black olives, bell pepper, red onion, feta cheese, avocado or whatever else you feel like. Shake again and enjoy.
Since it is so hot these days, I prefer to eat light. I made an Avocado Salsa and we had Blue Corn Tortilla chips with it. For the Avocado Salsa: Chop tomatoes, bell pepper, cheese, cilantro, add lime, cumin, salt, pepper, a bit of cayenne pepper, oil (these days I use avocado/coconut oil), cilantro, and avocado. Mix it all up in a bowl. I added shrimp as a good protein source.
We spent the weekend at the cottage and ate “garlicky bites”, enjoying a cold beer and wine (just me obviously and not my son), steak, potatoes, steamed veggies, omelets with fresh veggies, garlic, and bread. Life is always good a the cottage!
I did not list every single thing my son and I ate in a week but keeping track of my spending while writing down most of the meals we had each day was definitely interesting. It made me think where and if I can save more money somehow by making smarter choices. Keeping a food journal is something most nutritionists recommend to clients and it is definitely helpful in the beginning. I also think it is okay if most of my money goes to quality food that nourishes my son and I and supports small farmers.