Monday, October 19, 2009

More on Our Food Spending

One of the comments to the previous post was that I worry too much. Maybe I do but it just strikes me as completely insane that Americans spend so much of their food budget on such things as salty snacks, carbonated beverages and frozen entrees.

I like an occasional chip or pretzel and I buy them on occasion though I can't remember the last carbonated drink I had. I don't buy frozen entrees because they are crap and expensive. Cooking from scratch is much cheaper and much more rewarding with the added bonus of controlling exactly what is in my food. The people that are spending so much on frozen meals are really missing an opportunity to improve their diet, reducing their food costs and adding an opportunity for a little creativity and fun into their meals.

I understand the pressures of time and the need for convenience in the modern world of two people working but a little creativity and knowledge plus some basic kitchen skills can put a meal on the table as quickly as you can thaw a frozen meal. There is nothing wrong with most frozen vegetables as a resource as they are almost always picked and frozen at the peak of freshness and if you check you will find that they are hugely less expensive than a 'frozen entree'. I noted the other day that virtually every store brand of frozen vegetable at Kroger was 88 cents! (Yes, I bought frozen green peas, lima beans, pearl onions and butter peas). Each package is enough for four servings and for the two of us that's two meals so that's a meal with two veges for under a buck. Having things in the fridge that keep well like fresh carrots, celery, onions, potatoes allows you to put together quick meals that are cheap and nutritious without having to pay for an expensive frozen entree. I will add that when you start adding meat protein to each meal you start to run up the cost greatly so the American habit of meat with every meal is a gotcha but you will also note that meat is not even on the top ten list of where we are spending our grocery dollar. The fact that the huge amount of meat that most Americans eat still doesn't hit the top ten is cause for another post on its own.

So the deal is that the list points out that Americans are spending a lot of money on prepared foods that they don't have to and that if we just stopped and considered how much we could improve our diets and pocketbooks with very little effort in the kitchen we would all be better off. /soapbox

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