Experiment Wrap Up

Wow… 13 days since my last post?! That might be the longest I’ve gone in between postings since the boys were babies! I mentioned on the Facebook page today that I’ve had things I wanted to blog about, but have been so consumed with photo sessions and then editing said sessions (plus the usual day-to-day here, of course) that the blog just keeps getting pushed to the back burner!

All that being said, I wanted to quickly update on how the month long Clean Eating experiment ended. My intent was to try Clean Eating for the month of September for one big reason – could a family of 6, eat healthy, whole foods on a tight budget? My monthly grocery budget is supposed to be $360, and that number is to include food, cleaning supplies, and toiletries (diapers get a separate line item). For most of this year, I’ve not been able to hit that number, thanks partly to the rising food costs and partly to the increasing appetites here at home (the kids plowed through 11 eggs the other day at breakfast – hello!). When I started the Clean Eating experiment I told myself that if I could keep the budget to $400 for the month then I would call it a win.

I did it!

Yep, our family managed to eat cleanly for  the entire month of September and I spent $400 for all groceries, toiletries and cleaning supplies. Technically it was $400 and change, but you get the idea 😉

Just as important as sticking to the budget though, is that everyone seemed to enjoy (or at least, be ok) with the shift in our eating. Nick asked me last Friday evening what my plan was with this new eating plan, and I turned the question around him. He told me he thought it had been good and we should continue to do it!

Nick’s support of the plan is fantastic, and we’ve decided to continue Clean Eating as a family. I’ll confess, I missed convenience foods, especially at first, but I’ve learned that just because we’re eating cleanly doesn’t mean the recipes need to be complicated! I feel like I’m getting into a groove with meal and snack ideas, and really (besides longing for convenience foods still once in a while) my only hang-up is the bread making.

Yep. Still can’t figure the stuff out! The stubborn side of me won’t let me give up until I figure it out though, so  you can be assured of a blog post celebrating when I finally get a loaf that is the proper size!

So anyway, as an example of what we ate today that really wasn’t so hard to prepare and yet we all loved…

For breakfast I made a monstrous omelet! Seriously – it was the size of our electric griddle! It had mushrooms, broccoli, and tomatoes in it and the kids gobbled it up (along with a piece of toast).

At lunch time I gave them all some preservative/nitrate free deli turkey, which they wrapped around apple chunks and pieces of avocado (except Chase, because he decided he didn’t like the avocado and gave his to Ty). They loved it!

This afternoon I threw an acorn squash and butternut squash (washed, but un-cut) into the crock pot, and set it to “high” for 3 hours. Then, as dinner time neared, I cooked some lean ground beef with some sliced mushrooms, and served that on top of the squash. Again – devoured!

We’ve come to love quinoa, homemade bread (even though it’s small – ha!), eating more veggies, and coming up with creative toppings for popcorn (my favorite is a little honey, butter and cinnamon!). I’m looking forward to continuing this way of eating, and will occasionally share an update or recipe as we go along.

Hopefully seeing our success at eliminating things like crackers, most cereals, hot dogs, mac and cheese, and other processed foods, and yet keeping the spending the same, has inspired you to shift your family’s eating habits!

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  • Jessica

    That is awesome! I checked out the book you recommended, but I know it will take some time for me to transform my picky eaters…a mom can scheme, I mean dream 🙂 About the bread…I have never made a loaf of whole wheat bread in my life, but I read about something a few weeks ago called vital wheat gluten that is supposed to help with whole wheat bread. Maybe look that up if you haven’t already tried it.ReplyCancel

    • I actually FINALLY found some of that stuff in the store this week! I tried it in my last two loaves and it helped a little, but still not enough. I think I need to start tweaking amounts of that and yeast.ReplyCancel

  • andrea

    For the bread – you MUST MUST MUST use high gluten flour! Truly, that makes all the difference. (Try making two batches at once, one with all-purpose flour, and another with bread flour and you will clearly see the difference.)

    We buy our bread flour in 50lb bags at Costco. Makes bread really cheap.

    My kids love some Parmesan cheese on their popcorn. 🙂ReplyCancel

    • Ahhhh….. So I need actual bread flour! I’ll try that! I’ll have to see what Sam’s has in the way of bread flour.ReplyCancel