Why I’m spending more on food, with no regrets

My twenties have seen me become a lot more picky about food. I’m more concerned with taste and quality than price these days, even moreso after returning from our travels. Sorry to everyone who eats out with me – I know I’m a high maintenance nightmare these days…

Anyway, as a result my regular  grocery shopping habits  have definitely changed.

Healthier breakfasts

I’m a cereal fiend. But while I used to subsist off Cocoa Puffs, Chex and the occasional box of Nutri Grain, nowdays I buy more muesli-style cereal (the flakey type, not the oaty type). It’s a bit hard to swallow when these are often more than $5 a box, but it’s filling and healthy and I can usually find at least one variety on special in any given week.

Better bread

The so-called supermarket ‘bread wars’ have seen home brand bread loaves return to $1 a loaf, but I’m trying to stick to buying quality loaves for the most part. Better bread is way more expensive, but goes a longer way and is better for us. I’m talking brown, grainy and or seedy, rather than the cheap, super refined white stuff.

Fancier staples

I have a new pantry staple. It’s not as crucial as, say, flour or chicken stock or whatever, but it’s definitely a regular in the rotation. What am I talking about? Roasted peppers. A jar, as far as I can tell, doesn’t really work out much expensive than buying individual capsicums and then going through the trouble of roasting them. Having them on demand is amazing. (We once tried this with pre-minced garlic but weren’t really fans – fresh garlic definitely beats the convenience of the jar for us.)

Have you started eating better with age?

*Part of Financially Savvy Saturdays on Femme Frugality and brokeGIRLrich*

26 thoughts on “Why I’m spending more on food, with no regrets

  • Reply anna August 21, 2014 at 07:43

    Though I still try to find the cheapest prices, I can get pretty picky with groceries, too (especially produce). I also really like Ezekiel bread despite its price.

  • Reply Stacy Renee August 21, 2014 at 08:13

    I have definitely changed my eating habits over the years! I’ve always been rather picky but I can see the difference in my grocery bill these days. I buy the value bag of organic cereal and it’s pricey but lasts me much longer than a little box. I spend a little more on the non-conventional eggs because I really can taste the difference (the cheap eggs smell and taste horrible) and I’ve switched to almond milk and organic milk for cooking/baking. I grow a lot of my own vegetables now, too!

  • Reply Michelle August 21, 2014 at 11:46

    I’ve always been a fussy eater so I like to have good stuff in the house. My secret indulgence: truffle salt. Lamb never tasted so good.

  • Reply Autumn @ The Barefoot Budgeter August 21, 2014 at 12:09

    I have definitely started eating better with age – probably a little too well! It’s worth it to me to buy fresh produce and other quality items (yay quinoa), but I’m still trying to find that fine line between eating well and not blowing my food budget every month…..

  • Reply Genie August 21, 2014 at 12:17

    I spend lots of money on food. I am buying better meat and eggs, though I still seem to like a bargain for produce.

    Good meat costs more but after buying a few very cheap meats from the supermarket I have learned my lesson. I bought a cheap corned beef that floated in my slow cooker. Beef should not float. After cooking it disintegrated and had the fluffy texture of boiled tissues. The next time I bought corned beef from our butcher and it did not float. It held it’s shape and was able to be sliced after cooking. Wonderful.

    My husband still prefers cheap bread though and I prefer no bread at all.

  • Reply debs@debtdebs August 21, 2014 at 15:09

    Always eat grained bread, but was reading an article today on Money Propeller about Paleo diet and was wondering if I should move to this – no bread. Bread and pasta are my downfall.

    • Reply Jean August 24, 2014 at 16:49

      My husband and I went Paleo in January — the first month was tough while our bodies adapted, but since then we’ve felt great. We buy higher-quality meats now, and have bumped up our vegetable consumption a bunch.

  • Reply Sarah Greesonbach August 22, 2014 at 04:33

    I’m a fan! And jarred peppers sound promising… For some reason I have a lot of trouble with canned/jarred foods. Is that something you grew up with around the house?

    • Reply eemusings August 22, 2014 at 12:50

      No not at all! The odd weird Asian jarred thing but we ate mainly fairly bland cooked from scratch meals

  • Reply Taylor Lee August 22, 2014 at 05:03

    Oh yes, I have definitely started eating better as an adult. No more cheap instant ramen, lots more fresh and organic produce, green smoothies in order to consume said produce (soy, kale, and ginger = mmmmm), and free range antibiotic-free meat. The most expensive change though has been giving up breads and pasta. In general I try to steer clear of refined carbs (can’t quit rice) but doing so means I have to get calories from elsewhere or else I’ll start getting migraines. Which is tough, because cheap carbs easily win the calories/$ ratio.

  • Reply Anne @ Money Propeller August 22, 2014 at 05:55

    I am totally with you on this. I think back to the things that we used to eat, years ago, and it shocks me. Now, we eat virtually everything from scratch and it is so much healthier. If only we still had the metabolisms of our early twenties athlete bodies, heh.
    Our grocery spending is hundreds more a month than it was when we were in school, it is kind of scary to think about sometimes…but the food we eat is so much better!

  • Reply Newlyweds on a Budget August 22, 2014 at 08:45

    Our budget has gone from $325-350 when we ate mostly processed food to about $500 now that we eat mostly organic (including meats, eggs, and veggies). When I buy bread, I also try and get the kind that has the least amount of ingredients . We still buy some crap every now and then and we eat takeout and go out to eat, but eating well at home is a huge plus for us, and money worth spending imho

  • Reply Kassandra @ More Than Just Money August 22, 2014 at 09:26

    I have definitely improved with my eating as I got older and do spend more money on healthier options. I saw the effects of sugar and junk food on my skin and cut it out big time. I am the only one in my immediate family that is in good health (no high blood pressure, diabetes which runs in our family) and I wanted my stats to stay on the positive side.

  • Reply Mackenzie August 22, 2014 at 12:21

    We spend more on our grocery bill as well. I try and pare it down but we eat many organic items, and you are right; as one gets older, one gets pickier about what they eat 🙂

  • Reply save. spend. splurge. August 23, 2014 at 05:12

    This is one area I do not skimp on. Good food makes you feel better, you feel happier, you’re healthier… it’s all stuff that I’m willing to pay for, particularly if it lowers medical bills now and in the future.

    I definitely got pickier about what I ate as I aged.. when I was young, I ate everything, although I hated stuff that was very processed like SPAM or La vache qui rit fromage (Laughing cow cheese)… without knowing why I hated it, except I just did.

  • Reply Michelle August 23, 2014 at 12:16

    I think those are all justified purchases, especially if they are not breaking the bank.

  • Reply Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life August 24, 2014 at 00:36

    Yes, I’m always tweaking my diet. I actually cut out cereals a year or two back, because of how much sugar were in even the “healthy” ones. Now I stick to 100% natural peanut butter, fruit, and a piece of healthy bread in the AM.

  • Reply MonicaOnMoney August 24, 2014 at 05:09

    I think there’s a big difference between cheap breads and quality breads. I had a breakfast wrap today with 26g of dietary fiber and I notice a difference compared to the cheaper wraps. Great point!

  • Reply Savvy August 24, 2014 at 07:14

    As I get older my diet keeps getting better too. I switched out my cereals for oatmeal with fresh or frozen fruit this year. It is now my favorite way to start the day.

    I also eat a lot of seasonal fresh fruit, so my budget isn’t too out of line. I don’t usually buy organic, but I’ve been thinking lately that I should. Also, we eat a lot of chicken – purchased on sale and vegetarian meals.

    The catalyst was when I stayed with my mom after her cancer surgery earlier this year. She is a huge processed food consumer. I didn’t realize how bad it was ’til I was trying to cook for her. Everything in her house was packaged except for one decrepit looking head of lettuce. No one can say whether her processed diet gave her cancer, but you never know!

  • Reply Natalya August 24, 2014 at 07:18

    We have found we definitely spend more money on food when we try and eat healthily than eating crap!

    I have changed my habits but more because of the hubby – he is a big fan of variety, whereas I’m happy to eat pasta every day! But I hate additives/chemicals so buying more organic food or better quality is more of a priority-it just means waiting to buy it when it’s on offer so I don’t bankrupt us! Although in no way do we eat oysters and asparagus every day! Could you imagine!!!!

    Cottage Retreatist x

  • Reply Melanie @ My Alternate Life August 24, 2014 at 08:40

    My eating habits have totally changed and I totally spend more money now than I did before. I used to eat orange chicken from the frozen section, mac and cheese and some quesadillas. Ewww. Pretty much just cheese and bread. I still love cheese and bread a little too much, but now I have tons of fruits and veggies too. I don’t feel bad one bit, because I’m finally taking care of myself!

  • Reply Bridget August 24, 2014 at 08:45

    I eat better than I ever have in my life… I had to, my body goes to hell so fast when I don’t. I don’t mind spending extra on food to look & feel better.

    though I’m not giving up oreos anytime soon

  • Reply femmefrugality August 24, 2014 at 15:29

    We’ve stepped up our health game. Still trying to convince the husband that just because it doesn’t have meat doesn’t mean you can’t call it dinner. It’ll always be a work in progress.
    We made a lot of our own bread. Depending on the ingredients you use, it’s generally just as healthy, fresher, and cheaper.

  • Reply Jean August 24, 2014 at 16:53

    Good for you, focusing on nourishing your body now while you’re still young. I’m in my fifties and am really just starting to focus on health the last couple years. Nice job!

  • Reply Mel @ brokeGIRLrich August 25, 2014 at 08:39

    Spending a little more on groceries is more like a long term investment in your health than anything else. I have to admit, I still love a lot of the foods that are really bad for me (like white bread), but a lot of stuff I used to love makes me sick or gives me heartburn now… which is sad. And useful.

    Personally, I’ve been trying to learn more about spices and how to use those to bring out flavors more than creams and butters, etc.

  • Reply Daisy August 28, 2014 at 01:13

    We spend FAR more on food than we ever have, and like you, have no regrets. Produce (especially organic) costs a pretty penny here, and we eat a ton of produce so it can be quite costly. We can afford good food, though, and if you don’t have your health, what do you have?

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