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Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Year of the Snake

I am not a huge believer in New Year's resolutions, but I do believe in self improvement. So while I won't decree that this is the year I lose ten pounds and learn a new language and travel the world, from time to time, I will mention my long term goals and my strategy on how to accomplish them.

Like most moms, one of my goals is to feed my family in a healthy, tasty manner. I spend a lot of time each month planning and shopping for our dinners but its a struggle to balance healthy eating, taste, and cost. If 2013 is the year of the snake, than 2012 was the year of the chameleon for me with regards to how we eat. I tried out two very different strategies, extreme couponing and green/clean eating.

Let's start with couponing....my extreme couponing was never getting $600 worth of stuff for a penny but I followed the same strategy as those dedicated ladies on tv.

  • It's super easy to get started.
  • There are a lot of really good deals out there if you know how to find them.
  • My pantry was overflowing!

  • It can be time consuming.
  • It's very stressful if a deal doesn't work out the way you thought/hoped/planned.
  • I had a ton of food in the pantry but it wasn't food we would always eat and it wasn't the most healthy. 
I did a lot of research online about green/clean eating before I got started. I learned far more than I ever thought I would about how food supply and what goes into the things we eat. To say its eye-opening is an understatement.

  • I felt confident about the safety of the food we were eating.
  •  We tried a lot of different types of food and vegetables.
  •  Since most of the stores near me have somewhat limited selections, I ended up doing a lot of running around.
  • This was definitely a costly endeavor.
  • It was a hard sell for my husband, a diehard junk food eater and green skeptic.
To be honest, neither of these lifestyles (and it is a lifestyle) was really for me. I have since adopted a hybrid of the two. I do use coupons more than I originally did and I watch the sale circulars, but I tend to coupon only for household items, personal items, and things my husband can't live without. As for the green side, I found that knowing my son's food is safe is far more important to me than convenience and the cost so we still go organic for our meats, milk, and produce. I have found that the added cost of organic foods can be offset in unconventional ways, including going meatless two nights a week (up from one night), reinventing leftovers, and making use of the freezer.

I've got a few other ideas up my sleeve as well so stay tuned!