Thursday, 27 October 2011

My eating habits

I was debating whether to go to town on the bus, or drive in, this morning. I chose the bus to save money. Having to keep to timetables means I can't think, 'Oh, I'll just nip to so and so to get cat food' or whatever, and I can't carry loads of bags so that restricts my spending. Mind you I am very good at resisting temptation, and can easily walk past a choccy display without caving in.

I needed to get a mug shot taken for my licence application. It so happens that my photo needs renewing at the same time that the HGV/PSV part runs out. The DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority) are happy to relieve me of £20 for the privilege of changing my pic from a smiley, youngish, sort of attractiveish looking lady, to a sour faced non smiley, wrinkled old prune, who is only a few years away from resembling the late Sid James.

I found a machine to take the picture in the shopping precinct. I did look for one in Hull yesterday, but as they were all £5, I was rather hoping to find one which costs £4. This was not to be, so I fed the damn machine with my five one pound coins and 30 seconds later it spit out five copies of the most gruesome pictures I have ever seen. I must remember not to look at babies and small children in buggies.

Well, that's one picture posted off, what do I do with the other four? Sell them at £1 each, probably not. Embroider them onto a greetings card, possibly, the stitching would be an improvement. Throw darts at them, yeah, good idea, ha ha.

I'm going to add a bit more here to yesterdays post. There was a bit of interest in how much you should spend on food shopping. Saving for Travel seems to be well organised with her £60 a month challenge, and lizzie is taking her shopping very seriously, stocking up on staples when the price is right.

On the other hand Becky admits to spending too much, because there are three people in the house. Becky I understand your dilema, it is far more difficult to eat frugally, and satisfy everyones likes and dislikes. Other members of your family may not understand how expensive food is these days, what I suggest you do is write down in a note book every penny you spend on food. Then week by week, sit down round a table and present them with the figures. Have a discussion, ask them for ideas on how you can reduce the cost. If you can offer them an incentive, like, 'we could afford to have a nice holiday if you changed your eating habits'. Or, 'lets look at how much we could save towards a new car'. Factor in an amount each week to save in a jar, cut down your spending by that much, then watch the savings grow. Decide what your treat is to be, and reward yourself when you have saved enough. Good luck.

Lizzie asks if I am vegetarian, as I have mentioned it before. I don't eat any meat, but ocassionally I do eat a bit of fish, mainly to give me a bit of variety in my food. I am not an expert in concocting delicious vegan meals, due to my laziness in the kitchen. I don't want to spend ages faffing around, my food has to be simple. Cutting out meat altogether will greatly reduce your food bill, and I can guarantee you will not starve.

Last night I wanted something quick and easy. A small amount of water in a pan (I never measure anything), splash of toasted sesame seed oil, throw in a handfull of frozen sweetcorn, let it simmer for a minute, take pan off heat and throw in some cous cous. Wait till the water has been absorbed, return to heat if necessary. Arrange on plate with half a tin of tuna fish, the cats had the other half. Ready in a few minutes.

Tesco Value tuna fish chunks in brine are 45p, and it's not all mush floating about in a lot of liquid. Another frugal meal. You could garnish it with a bit of salad if you so wish.

I bought six free range eggs from town today. B & M, or Home Bargains are one of the cheapest places to get them, 89p. So lunch today was two rounds of toast, from a frozen wholemeal loaf which cost 14p. Half a tin of Value spaghetti 15p a tin, and two eggs. So that's 30p eggs, 7.5p spag, 2p bread. Washed down with a cup of coffee. Did the job a treat.

I've said this before and I'll say it again, for me food is a fuel to keep my body alive. Yes it's a bonus if it tastes nice and I wouldn't eat anything that is horrible, but I don't choose my food purely on taste. If my head tells me that something is bad for me, I leave it alone. I try and steer clear of fat, sugar, and salt. Never add salt to food, and never fry anything. I do allow myself a biscuit, or a cake, or an ice cream, or a bar of chocolate, now and again. But I can just as easily look at them in the shop and say, no, not today, because it's crap.

My stomach works best if I have small amounts of food more often, and I don't like to eat a meal after 7pm. Some of my dinners do look a bit on the large side, especially my big plates of steamed veg, but these are easily digestible and pass through quite quickly, unlike stodge which hangs around in your gut for hours. I never have a pudding because I am full after the meal. If I want something sweet, like rice pudding, yogurt, or fruit, I eat it seperately as a snack between the meals.

I know people who bolt their food down, shovel it in like there's no time to breath. This is the wrong way to go about it. Digestion starts in the mouth, it takes me an hour of slow chewing to clear my plate. People say to me I have to eat it quickly before it goes cold. Why? What does it matter, hot or cold, it is still the same food.

Anyway, dinner time and the pussies want feeding. Toodle pip. Happy eating.


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  2. Very interesting post! We don't eat puddings much either.

    And I get my main meal provided free at school during term time, which really helps too. Mr Sft eats 1 evening a week at his parents.

    I make sure I have as much of my 5 a day from school as well, fruit for pudding I eat as an afternoon snack.

    So we're like 1 and a half people term time-8 main meals, 14 lunches or snacks and 14 breakfasts.

    STOCKPILING HAS SAVED US A FORTUNE AND WE HAVE BEEN KNOWN TO ASK FOR VOUCHERS AS PRESENTS e.g. from M and S then spend some on food, a bit sneaky I know!

    Sft x

  3. I must admit to rushing my food - well not exactly rushing, but it would certainly never take me an hour to eat a meal.
    I read somewhere that your brain doesn't register you're full until about twenty minutes later so it makes sense to eat slowly.

  4. Okay, I am fueled up here for a six month famine--body over-stoked with I will be the last to die in a famine unless they decided to take advantage of my delectable

    I absolutely hate those picture booth pictures....aaargh. My friend and I got in one and we decided never to share those picturess with anyone. Where did you post your picture?

    Today, I will be boiling four chicken thighs for chicken and dumplings and a roast with potatoes. Although I eat meat, I eat a little at a time. Sometimes, I just want more meat than at other times. Buying it cheap helps me be able to afford meat the same as always. However, getting it at a food bank is the best savings of all.

    All that meat cooking is for a reason. It was both thawed because I put the thighs out to thaw for exbf who will take them home. Then, the roast will be shared with him and most kept with me. He drives 70 miles once a week to help me until my surgeries.

    Do you have a senior's day at the grocery where seniors get a discount on a certain day? One store here in town does. I check their ads to see if there is a sale so I can get a bit more off the price with my senior discount. If the sales are not what I would buy anyway, I just get milk that day. I save $.18 off milk with the 5% discount.

  5. Ilona, such sound advice, the government ought to put you in charge of the Obesity problem they're always worrying about :-)

  6. I like the idea of eating small portions, but more often. Having given up my bellydancing due to my asthma I have put on the podge. The last two weeks I have been making an awful lot of low fat yoghurt and quark/cream cheese. This I eat for breakfast or lunch and have a sensible sized meal before 6pm. We rarely eat any deserts. If I feel like one I grab some of my home made yoghurt and slice a banana into it. I`ve started to lose a little weight. I shall continue with the small portions and fresh fruits inbetween if I do feel a bit peckish.
    Being a total vegetarian as you are it takes you no effort to keep slim. I could come away from meats quite easily, but if there is another person in the house that would refuse to do so, makes it a lot harder for me to lose the bulk. But, I`m determined to stick it out and try my best. I`m adventures with veggies when I create some meals to take with me for work. Low calorie crackers and my cream cheese are on the menue as well.
    And I agree with Kath. Let`s make Ilona the nations health minister!

  7. It's not easy being frugal with food in our house. Although I eat rather like you, small meals and usually something different, husband comes in late and tends to eat raw veg I have left for another day. I suppose it is better than him eating thick bread which is also sometimes does.

    Well, I can't see your picture being horrible, but the lighting does something I think. My last passport picture was much better as I went to a local photo shop as I had had so many awful ID shots. At least I looked vaguely human on this one. It was't that expensive either.

  8. there are 7 adults in my house with myself, DH, 4 grown kids and DD's boyfriend all living here. Plus we have 2 British Shorthair kittens who are growing into big cats. I am often cooking for at least 6 of us. My way of beating the rising prices is to stockpile while things are cheap and to check Asda, Aldi and Morrisons for reduced price fruit and veg. I have also bought things like cheese and meet online from catering suppliers and I am a big fan of Approved Foods that sell past-their-sell-by-date goods at ridiculously cheap prices, even with delivery costs I have got some amazing deals. My main problem is I have a vegetarian and a really confirmed meat eater amongst the bunch. The rest of us are pretty easy to cater for but one must have meat at every meal and the other never eats it. So I try to vary things but get fed up trying to cater for everyone.

  9. That is soooo inspirational ! Thanks !

  10. Thanks for your responses, there was one spammer amongst you who was jettisoned into outer space, ha ha.

    Helen, that must be quite difficult. I cannot understand why anyone 'must have meat at every meal', but I suppose that person does not understand why the veggie doesn't eat meat at all. I dread to think what is happening to the meat eaters insides, as it is a well know fact that a veggie diet is by far the healthiest. Could some of the adults take their turn in the kitchen, to give you a break?

    Helen, Approved Foods would not work for me. I have looked at their web site and I can find hardly anything I like. I think it works well for larger families like yours. I can get some out of date food from a local cash and carry, but even then I have to pick through the many shelves of junk, eg, crisps, biscuits, cakes, snacks. Also some of the prices are not as cheap as the discount B & M, or Home Bargains.

    I am a bit confused as to why you can't cut down your meat consumption to help you lose weight, Sarina. You say having another person in the house who eats meat makes it a lot harder for you. Why? Does this person tell you that you must eat meat? You are responsible for what goes in your mouth, not someone else. I once had a boyfriend who was most annoyed with me because I would not share a juicy steak meal with him, as always I opted for a veggie dish. I'm afraid it caused some friction, but I stood my ground because I knew I was right. He could eat whetever he liked, and I could eat what ever I liked.

    You made me laugh, Pract Pars, six month famine indeed, ha ha. We don't have seniors day at the supermarket, and as far as I know any other grocery shop. We sometimes have pensioners specials for lunchtime or early evening meals in pubs, but it is usually for two people. By the time you have bought a drink though it bumps the price up. I have often wondered what they would say if you went in and just ordered the meal, then when they asked you what you want to drink, you say no thank you.

    Seniors can get a discount at B & Q, a large DIY chain, on a certain day, but I never need to shop there.

  11. It really is harder not to eat meat when somebody else is because you only have a certain amount of money for food and if you are 'having' to buy meat for the carnivores, it is less money for herbivores .
    Then of course you must cook the meat dishes which uses fuel that still needs paying for.
    I find it much easier to just not have marg or butter in sandwiches and no chocolate or puddings because there is a lot of fat in those two foods.

  12. I don't eat meat but husband does as I've mentioned above. I cook two days' meat meals for him and either freeze one or leave it in fridge to make a meal for him the next. Alternatively, he is very happy to eat veggie lasagne or Quorn sausages or even veggie stir fries. The only thing is he seems to eat such a lot of things, he's 6' 4" particularly in winter when he works in a freezing cold garage.

    If I tell my Mum (92 years) I had salad, she asks me what I had it with! I usually say cheese or eggs, but she would think you should have meat with it. I might sometimes have some tuna.

  13. Thanks for replying to my comment, Ilona. I only buy stuff from Approved Foods if I can't get it cheaper elsewhere either at discount or as own brand. But because of the amount of meals I cook it really does save me money, especially some of the catering sized packs they have, and I buy things like massive tins of tomato puree that when I open it I use what I need and freeze the rest in ice cube trays and then transfer to plastic bags so I can just take a couple of cubes as needed from the freezer. Also I love to bake and I've got some amazing deals on cooking ingredients from their site. But no, it would not be suitable for people like you who live alone.

    I like your idea of asking the others to take turns with cooking, but I can usually do things much more frugally. They'd probably waste gas in the cooking, and water washing up (we're on a meter) and use far more ingredients than I do. So I guess I'm a bit of a control freak and prefer doing it myself. I know if it was just DH and I we could live very cheaply on simple meals but for now I still have a houseful to provide for.

  14. As always, I am so enlightened by this post. i am definitely putting what I have learned into practice. Thanks.

  15. I continue to be inspired by your posts. Today I have made a big pot of broth/soup/stew. Nourishing, cheap, and healthy. Should last me a long time.

  16. I made picy sweet potato and bean soup today and not only does it taste amazing but it made loads and worked out much cheaper than buying a tin !