Do your kids eat you out of house and home during the summer? Haha, who am I kidding? All kids act like the are just starving during summer break. It doesn’t matter if my kids are laying around watching tv or swimming in the pool. Every thirty minute or so, “Momma, I’m hungry. What’s for lunch? Can I have a snack? Is it time to eat, yet?” You’d think I never feed them with how much they beg for food at every twist and turn.
Before my celiac diagnosis, I kept frozen pizzas, corn dogs, chips, fish sticks, gold fish, cookies, crackers, cereal, and other processed junk on hand at all times. Every kid that came to my house knew exactly where my snack drawers and baskets were in the pantry and were always welcome to help themselves.
When I first found out I was celiac and Carley was gluten intolerant, my reaction wasn’t to change the way she and I ate, but to replace the way we ate.
“Huh?” I focused on finding the perfect gluten free bread, bagels, fish sticks, frozen pizzas, corn dogs, cereals, and crackers. I wasted so much money on nasty dry gluten free processed junk. My grocery bill was skyrocketing to $200, $250, even $300 some WEEKS. I just accepted that this was how it was to be gluten free.
My best friend and mentor blogger posted a story on her instagram several months back that changed my entire view. It was captioned something like “how I feed my family of 5 for $350 a month.” I just laughed and thought that there’s no way. She home schools, so her kids are there 24/7 and man can those kids eat. At any given time at least one of her kiddos has an apple or something in his/her hand. I wrote it off to the fact that “oh, they aren’t gluten free like we are.” But in reality, when I took a look at what was mostly in her fridge and pantry- they are mostly gluten free. Except, she doesn’t call it gf. She calls it “clean eating.”
That’s what my problem was. I was replacing junk vs getting rid of it completely. So, I took some notes, evaluated what my kids were eating for their lunches, snacks, and breakfast, and made some drastic changes.
Now, every week I buy oranges, bananas, grapes, strawberries, peaches, pears, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, cauliflower, and baby carrots for snacks. 90% of my girls’ snack food comes from the produce section of Kroger. About 8% is from the deli or dairy section. And I’m not perfect, the other 2% is popcorn, cheese balls, or some other gluten free chip or cracker- they put this stuff on the end caps and I’m a sucker for my kids asking for it. I’ve found that I now skip aisles completely that I used to fill a good majority of my cart from.
The best part? My kids don’t even seem to miss the change. They love it! Instead of drawers full of processed junk with expiration dates that are months in the future, we now have baskets on the counter full of fresh fruits and veggies for them to snack on. If it is not a meal time and they want a snack they have to pick something from a basket and something from the fridge (cheese, yogurt, pepperoni, carrots, etc) before I will cook for them.
Lunches always have something cooked/made by me. They also include something from a basket and something from the fridge. Aside from getting bottles of water and their water flavoring (squirt juice) from the pantry, my girls rarely even open our pantry any more.
All of their friends that come over regularly love the change as well. I haven’t been asked for a pudding cup or gold fish by any of them since we made the change.
I think my wallet has loved it most of all. My grocery bill isn’t quite as low as my best friend’s (she’s magical with finding sales and crunching numbers) but I do have it down to about $140-$150 a week. I’ll take that over $200+ any day!