Post 3 of 5

As someone who loves to cook and also has to be cost effective, one of the greatest keys in my arsenal is having a well stocked pantry.  I am always looking for a great deal and when I find one I make sure to stock up.  If you really decide to switch to a whole food lifestyle having items on hand is not difficult because most ingredients are simple, easily acquirable and affordable.  Sure there may be a few items that are a little more pricy but on a whole I’ve found that eating this way has been easier on our grocery budget. 

I have posted a separate page on the site that details my shopping list and what you would most likely find in any Moroccan pantry.  It’s straightforward.  I spend about $75-$100 a week on groceries for the four of us.  It’s a little harder in the winter because of where we live and there’s generally not a lot “in season” (imagine that, produce doesn’t grow well in 2 feet of snow and ice…)    I will add I don’t cut coupons.  I used to but really for the items that I purchase food-wise it just is not with the time to scour and look for coupons to fit in.  I also found that just shopping smart and sticking to eating in season and cutting back on meat consumption saved more money.

I also don’t like to spend a lot of time hopping from store to store so the fewer stops the better.  Here are some ideas for locations to consider picking up items;

– a local farmer’s market, often they have the most in season produce and to me I like to meet the people that grow my food.

– bulk food stores; they purchase large quantities of a product and then break them down into smaller more manageable sizes and the prices are often much, much cheaper.  I can buy 10lbs of organic flour for about $8 compared to $5 for a 2lb bag in the grocery. 

Pick Your Own Farms.  Not only is this a great way to save some money especially on fruit, it’s a ton of fun to go as a family!  Everyone gets involved in the process and has a great time.  Look for farms offering this service, generally in the late spring to late fall. 

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA).  This is a trend that has really picked up recently.  Essentially shares of farm produce are sold yearly.  They vary in price by the farm and what they offer and usually can be a full share or a half share, sometimes with the option to work on the farm to pay for part of your share.  Every week each shareholder receives a basket of the harvest for that week.  What is in the basket is dependant on what is being harvested that week but generally there are several items present.  While generally focusing on produce some farms also offer egg shares, or meat shares.  If you’re interested make sure to check out farms in your area in the fall or winter to sign up before spring. 

– Grow Your Own/Neighborhood Share.  Remember my post about my little container garden?  Part of why I started my garden was to help generate some produce that I wouldn’t have to purchase.  If you can’t plant in the ground using containers or trying out square foot gardening might be something to try out.  Also never underestimate the generosity of neighbors.  Where we live a lot of people have gardens, it seems almost a summer staple to have a backyard garden.  Often my mom and dad will end up with BAGS yes BAGS of produce from friends who have an over abundance of produce that they don’t plan to eat and are more than happy to share.  If you’re in the food community in your area perhaps arrange a neighbor share!  Also check out Neighborhood Fruit.  This is a neat site that people can add in the location of free public fruit trees in a community.  There’s nothing better than free food! 

This post is part 3 of 5 in Switching to a Whole Foods Lifestyle series.  Part1 and Part2 can be found here.

Do you have any other shopping suggestions that might be helpful to me or other readers?