Backyard Feeder

Backyard Feeder
photo taken through porch screen

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Stone Soup--or how to eat better with less

I'm not really ready to tackle this topic yet, but it came up in a conversation that it is too expensive and too much work to eat healthy. I just don't buy into that way of thinking. Yes, there is a lot of cheap and easy junk food out there, but there is also a lot of cheap and easy healthy food. How hard is it to bite into an apple? ...drop a chicken in the crock pot?...toss together a salad? ...make a sandwich from leftover sliced meat?

OK, I admit I'm a gadget girl--I actually HAVE a crock pot and a bread maker and a pasta machine and a twisty cutter and... so maybe those things are a little easier for me, but come on, there's so much more to food than Big Macs.

And while it is cheaper to eat nothing but Ramen Noodles or generic macaroni and cheese, unless you are a college student you're not going to convince me that you are doing that on a regular basis. Most of us aren't just buying cheap food, we are also buying overpriced and overprocessed foods as well because we think that they provide a convenience. Maybe they do, but at what cost?

One thing people seem to miss is that you don't have to put a lot of time and effort into cooking vegetables. Most of them can be eaten raw if you rinse them thoroughly and cut them into bite sized pieces. Use them to make a salad or serve them as finger food. Buy whatever is in season and cheap in your area and incorporate that into your diet. If you can't use it all, learn ways to preserve it--canning is work, but freezing can be as simple as putting it in an airtight bag. Some vegetables do better when partially boiled before freezing, but that's usually worth the trouble.

Another thing that seems to be common knowldge but we ignore it is that we really don't need as much meat. Did you know the most expensive part of your food budget could be cut in half just by eating half as much? The average fast food meal provides meat for three days, lots of white bread and starch and almost nothing else. Fill up on fruits, vegetables, nuts and whole grains. Sure those cost money but compared to the meat you are replacing they are an excellent value.

One of the books that I have in very rough draft form is a description of how we did, and how you can, create simple and healthy meals that satisfy your family, your budget and your schedule. Watch for Stone Soup to be released around Christmas 2011 as an eBook and later in paperback. The book makes this all much more concrete with meal plans and recipes that make food pyramid cooking simple.

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