I try but I don’t seem to succeed

I just can’t seem to figure out how to balance eating healthily, sustainably and keep within a moderate budget.

It is the fruits and vegetables that break my budget every week.  We manage to probably just about average 5 a day for each person which after multiplying by 5 people is 25 servings a day or 175 servings a week.  I get some frozen and no longer even attempt organic but still my budget is busted and that is before considering sustainability.

I would love to eat mostly local foods with the seasons but I have found a couple stumbling blocks.  One is that the local farm shop/organic box schemes are pricy and another is that I need some variety.  We used a local box scheme (about 2-3 miles away) for about three months.  I was paying £40 a week on the biggest option and still found we ran out of fruit within a couple a days.  The veg was unvaried as well which meant that for at least 6 weeks straight we got piles of beetroot.  Now I don’t hate the stuff but 1-2 beetroots a week would have been plenty but we were getting 8-10.  Short of borscht a couple times a week it was just too much and I had to buy other vegetables in each week to be able to make enough meals for us.  It just didn’t make sense so after the week when we got on onions and more beetroot we quit that scheme.

Today we checked out a farm shop located about 10 miles from here.  It was very nice and I could get everything except sliced bread there.  The food was fresh and there was even bulk frozen veg bins which was novel.  I mostly got basic veggies and fruit though we did sneak in a giant pasty for my husband and some veggies burgers for the kids and I (though only for the one lunch with a total of 4 burgers) and the total cost was £75.  I know I will still need to get a few other bits like the sliced bread, more milk, almond milk and bits for lunches. 

This will easily wipe out £100 a week and for the next couple weeks I only have £60 a week to spend.  I can go to Asda (also known as the kingdom of the Dark Lord Walton) or Tesco (the home of the horse burger) and get the Monsanto specials or frozen pizzas and skip the produce but that goes against all that is good in the world.

What I need to do is find a way to expand my budget over the £500 a month I have for food and household items.  I wonder if that farm shop needs any part time help….Will Work For Food!

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6 Responses to I try but I don’t seem to succeed

  1. hollycgodbey says:

    I have the same problem! I typically have $50 a week for two people and, once I add in household or pet needs too, it’s really difficult or impossible to buy only organic.

  2. SimplyShal says:

    I agree that this is such a difficult part of trying to be healthier! Two things really help us – 1) To be okay with a mix of methods, none of which are perfect and 2) Focusing on only the most important organic products (I use EWG for these kinds of lists, but it may only be U.S. based). I know it’s not always easy, but we aren’t alone in these challenges : ) Also, the fact that you each get 5 produce servings a day is AMAZING – we’ll keep working on that!

    • fivebeansoup says:

      I have already had to give up on organic…even the cheapest produce is expensive. I did say we averaged about the 5 a day. My kids likely don’t as they often eat at school (poor quality/nutrition and high cost) but I usually get about 7-9 servings as I am actively trying to lose weight and bring my blood pressure down. My husband also does a good job of eating his 5 a day or so.

      • SimplyShal says:

        Wow – way to go on eating your produce!! I think we all have certain changes we’d like to make and cannot afford; however, I think the other healthy habits we can do help ‘make up’ for that and that we’ll still be healthier than we used to be…and that’s the hope : )

  3. sophielgw says:

    I think frozen is the way forward – I buy loads of fruit and veggies frozen and it usually seems to be cheaper 🙂

    • fivebeansoup says:

      I agree that frozen fruits and veg are helpful. I always have one of my two fruit servings in my smoothies as frozen berries or mango. I am ok with frozen veg but haven’t found a really good selection from which to choose. I need to make more effort with that…perhaps ordering online so I don’t need to get cold.

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