Saturday, 25 June 2011
Feed your family
A well known supermarket has been running TV ads claiming that by shopping with them you can feed your family for £50 a week. My earnings have taken a hit, and my bank balance is struggling to fund the grocery bill, so I took up the challenge.
Their definition of a 'family' is probably 4, but as some student finance guides allow a budget of £35 a week for one impoverished student, I stuck to the £50 for the 3 of us.
Colourful menu pictures in the leaflet showed tasty dishes with pasta and rice. But a large proportion of menus had potato wedges homemade from 'Basics' potatoes. The £50 shopping list had 5 kilos of potatoes on it. This 'family' must be eating a lot of chips! It also had 3 mega sized loaves of sliced cheap bread - presumably for sandwiches/toast. Also 5 large bags of frozen veggies. Our freezer wouldnt take all this on top of what is already in it, and anyway I dont think cheap doughy bread is very healthy.
Once you've been diagnosed with cancer, the quality of the food you buy suddenly becomes more important. You become drawn (if you hadnt been buying it already) toward organic, free range, 'free from' products.
So that ruled out the Basics fruit and veg. And the battery farmed value chicken and eggs. And the fish that wasnt sustainably farmed or caught.
Things were going awry before I even put one item in my trolley!
So I substituted quite a few things, (oh, the list excluded milk, tea and coffee??) and cheated by using local butcher bought things that were already in the freezer. And cheated by using spinach, lettuce, strawberries and raspberries that are now lush in the garden.
I made it with an overspend of £12 (having excluded the food treats J took to a friends house one day).
What did we eat for our £50. Cereals or toast for breakfast (homemade marmalade - another cheat, oops!). Sandwich or salad meals for lunch - made with bakers bread and some salads from the garden. And pasta/bolognese/rice/curry (free range chicken)/burger/stir fry type evening meals with organic veg and fruit crumble or yogurt puddings.
What did I learn? That you can do a budget shop at a top range Supermarket. But that personally I wouldnt want to eat half of the budget range due to bulking with additives or the product not being grown/fed in a chemical additive free way.
Next challenge - see what J and I can buy and cook on the hob for one week of student 'quick' healthy easy meals for £35.