Along with my goal of doing more meal planning, I’m trying to stick more to a food budget. I aim for spending $100 on groceries per week, but I often go over that. (All you non-Alaskans: things are much more expensive here!)
Why? I’m a purist. Or, if you prefer, a food snob. 🙂
I will only buy imported Parmesan, which is usually $9 or $10 for a small wedge. It tastes so much better–once you’ve had it, you can’t go back. I only buy organic milk. I try to get organic or free range eggs. I try to stick to local produce–at least Alaska grown carrots and potatoes during the winter, and as much local produce from the farmer’s market as I can during the summer. I can easily spend $30 or more every Saturday during the summer at the farmer’s market.
I also debate about all the trips I make to different stores. It would save me so much time if I could get all the groceries at one store. I mostly buy things at Fred Meyer, but they don’t sell whole milk mozzarella (the only kind Krestia likes on pizza). So I have to go to Carr’s for that. We like the house-made sausage at New Sagaya, and they have the best fresh seafood (although now that we have our own dipnetted salmon the freezer, we don’t buy salmon–just halibut occasionally). Also I buy these delicious imported Kalamata olives from New Sagaya.
I also have internal debates about lowfat versus full fat dairy products. Full fat dairy products are so delicious compared to the lowfat versions. I buy whole milk sometimes in order to make homemade ice cream, and we finish up the rest of the carton quickly, because it tastes so much better. But there’s still a part of me that’s worried about the calories. I have noticed recently more studies saying that a low-fat diet doesn’t necessary make you more healthy or lead to a longer life span. (Here’s an article from a few years ago–it’s long but good.) Right now I’m sticking with mostly 2% milk and lowfat yogurt, with occasional full-fat versions for a treat. We have always bought full-fat cheeses and full-fat ice cream, and real butter.
This is why grocery shopping sometimes takes me a long time. I wander around the store, thinking about all these things. I would especially like to change our habits when it comes to buying meat. Some friends of ours just used the term “conscientious carnivore” to describe how they eat–they only buy meat from local farms where they know the animals are being treated well. That is a long-term goal of mine.
What are your grocery store dilemmas?