Friday, August 2, 2013

F#18: Fast vs. Frugal vs. Fresh

Many things are once again conspiring to have me be healthier and lose some weight: wedding in t-minus four months, cholesterol that's just this side of high, and a fun new development--high blood pressure.  (Plus, one of my bridesmaids, a nurse and the mother of a toddler, is kicking some serious physical fitness ass, and I want in on her success.)

So, I joined, I've started a couch-to-5K app on my phone (finished week one, thankyouverymuch), and we are now back to my problem area--food.

This is going to sound like a bunch of excuses, and it probably is, but I really want to vent about the problems I see with suggestions for eating healthy AND cheap:

1. Buy in bulk, cook all of it; food for a week: Okay, yes, a bag of dried beans and a bag of rice are going to be dirt cheap, especially at Target. But now I've got five pounds of beans and five pounds of rice.  And you know what, I'm bored after day two, meal four of this.  And my freezer is tiny, and my condo doesn't really have a place for another freezer, so I can't exactly store it all.

2. Don't buy meat/dairy: Several things wrong with this.  One, I like meat.  Two, I like dairy.  Three, my fiance would only tolerate the all-vegetarian diet for about a month (if that) before begging me for something that once walked the Earth or swam the ocean.  Then we're eating out, which rather defeats the purpose on several levels.

3. Buy veggies at the farmers' market: This can be both cheap, and not.  Obviously, really fresh produce, not the kind you find at Stop & Shop, is going to be more expensive.  However, this is probably the "cleanest" food I can eat.  Flip side, this produce doesn't stay as long because it's so clean, and I don't have any convenient markets in my area that I can visit on a daily basis to resupply with veggies and fruits.

4. Plan meals ahead of time; shop the sales: This is probably the easiest thing to do, in theory.  This goes back to, however, buying ten pounds of chicken breast (or whatever is on sale) and then having to either cook it all and eat that for a week and a half, or try to freeze it (see #1).  

5. Don't eat out; cook at home: Numbers 1-4 all preclude that a person prepares meals in his or her own kitchen.  And, let's be honest, I don't love to cook.  I enjoy it from time to time, but it's not something I look forward to doing after coming home from work.  (I wish I had gotten that passion from my mother; it would make life easier.)  And yes, I could just make everything in the Crock Pot, but with only two people eating, I'm once again back to eating the same thing for a week.  (Sidebar: my Crock Pot is about ten years old and getting a little crotchety.  Fingers crossed that it wows someone shopping off my registry.  Also, blender is pretty much done.  No more smoothies for now.)

So, what's a girl to do?  I don't buy frozen meals (unless you count pizza), but I do buy a lot of frozen veggies, because they are cheap and I don't have to use them right away.  I see recipes that look delicious (Thanks, Pinterest) and I'll try some of them out, but then it's all, "I just spent $X on one meal and still have six other days and twenty other meals to eat."  And because I don't cook often (or rather, I don't cook things that are complicated, often), it usually takes me longer than it's supposed to, and then I get impatient.  (Yes, I know, as with anything, if I did it more, I'd be better at it.)

The forum is now open for comment/suggestion/berating/mocking/etc.