For the past few months I have been experiencing what I call food guilt. Nutshell explanation: The budget doesn't allow me to spend money on the foods I want to buy.
In depth explanation: We are on a tight budget right now. You might even call that an understatement. Here is our current budget plan: Do you absolutely need it? Then you can buy it. If there is any way you can do without it? Do without it. Case in point: my pajama situation. I discovered this winter that every single pair of pajama pants I own has at least one hole in it. Someone graciously gave me a pair that she rarely wears, and they quickly became the pajamas of choice every day. However, those pjs are made of fleece. Fleece doesn't work so well in the summertime. So I'm back to holey pajamas. But do I NEED new pajamas? Well, no. It doesn't matter too much what you sleep in. Though it does mean I cannot go to the store in my pajamas. So I guess this whole unemployment thing is doing everyone a favor and keeping me from doing that. It's the little things.
Anyway. We're on a tight budget. Guess what I have to go buy every week? Food! I used to love grocery shopping. Planning a menu, writing a list, picking the sale items. Loved it. Now I dread it. I walk through the aisles, asking myself if I really NEED that extra can of corn. Um, a can of corn costs 75 cents. WHY AM I WORRYING ABOUT 75 CENTS? And yet, I do, I absolutely do.
And then. AND THEN. We add in the whole foods/local foods movement. I want to feed my kids nutritious meals. I want to give them meat raised on a local farm. I want to buy that free range chicken, along with the eggs. I want to shop only at the Farmers Market, and only buy the best. I want to be that lady. But I just CAN'T. And it frustrates me to no end.
I can do the fresh produce. Produce from the Farmers Market can be cheap. But it turns out margarine is cheaper than butter. Though that's a bad example, because I actually have made that switch and only buy butter. But I cringe every time I see the price. Coconut oil is more expensive than canola oil. Honey is more expensive than sugar. The list goes on. And so I am left feeling guilty in just about every section of the grocery store, and it stays with me all the way home. It carries over every time I see a new post from the 100 Days of Real Food lady on Facebook. I WANT to only have real food. But I can't right now. Wah. Pity me.
OK, pity party over. On a more constructive note, I'm ever seeking for new ideas for healthy snacks for my kiddos. Healthy and yet not expensive. Any suggestions?