Don’t break the bank by choosing to eat better and more wholesome foods. More importantly, don’t let large grocery bills keep you from feeding your family with good, nourishing food. Grocery stores as well as food producers have become more health conscious and put out more products that are made with better ingredients. Though these better options can be very convenient, the bills can add up quickly.
You can offset these costs by choosing to make some of your weekly staples at home. A dollar saved here and there can really add up over the course of a week, month, or even year!
In our household, our lunches consist of a lot of sandwiches, peanut butter, almond butter, and granola bars to keep us energized.
Let’s do a little accounting….(Depending on where you shop prices may differ slightly, however the prices listed below are the average prices in your most common grocery store or value supermarket)
Comparison #1 – Bread:
1 loaf of whole grain seeded sandwich bread $4.99
1 loaf of homemade whole grain seeded sandwich bread $1.23
13.4oz Flour $0.66
10g Yeast $0.09
7g Salt $0.05
2oz Flax seeds $0.15
1oz Pumpkin seeds $0.35
Comparison #2 – Fruit & Nut Bars:
5-pack 1.7oz natural fruit and nut bars $5.00 or $1.00/ea
5 1.7oz homemade fruit and nut bars $2.50
(This makes 24 1.7oz bars)
200g rolled oats $0.68
625g pitted dates $9.77
50g peanuts $0.21
100g agave $0.89
100g quinoa $0.40
Price per bar $0.50
Comparison $3 – Nut Butters:
16oz jar of natural unsalted peanut butter $3.29
16oz bulk unsalted dry roasted peanuts $1.88
16oz unsalted natural almond butter $6.37
16oz bulk unsalted raw almonds $4.60
Total cost of grocery store products $26.60
Total cost of equivalent homemade products $10.38
Total savings $16.22
Let’s say you consume these items in 2 weeks (our average for a 2-person household), this adds up $422 in savings per year!
If this doesn’t convince you to try making some of your weekly staples at home, maybe these recipes will…
Homemade Whole Grain Seeded Sandwich Bread
When making bread, I highly recommend using a kitchen scale.
- 3 1/8 cups whole grain flour (375g)
- 1 1/8 cups room temperature water (272g)
- 1 tbsp instant yeast (10g)
- 2 tsp salt (7g)
- 2 tbsp flax seeds (56g)
- 1/4 pumpkin seeds (1 oz)
Mix flour and water until well combined. Cover and rest for 30 minutes – 2 hours, the longer the better! Add remaining ingredients and knead by hand for 12-15 minutes or by mixer on speed 2 for 5 minutes. Cover and let double in size for 45 minutes.
Note: The temperature at everyone’s house is a little different, therefore the time it takes for your bread to double in size may also vary.
Preheat oven to 425.
Transfer dough onto floured surface and punch down to flatten into a square. Roll dough into a smooth 3”x 8” log and place seam-side-down into a greased 5” x 9” bread pan. Allow to rise for 30-45 minutes until ½ above pan edge.
Bake for 5 minutes at 425 then drop temperature to 375 for another 25 minutes.
Note: Oven temps also vary, bread is done when golden brown all around.
Remove from pan and place on cooling rack. Allow to cool completely before slicing.
Homemade Fruit and Nut Bars
- 2 cups pitted dates (625g)
- 2 cups rolled oats (200g)
- ¼ cup peanuts or preferred nuts/seeds (50g)
- ½ cup dry quinoa (100g)
- ½ cup agave (100g)
In a food processor, process dates until sticky paste forms into a ball. In a separate bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, mix oats, nuts/seeds, and quinoa. Wet hands and break up date paste into smaller chunks over dry ingredients. Pour agave over all ingredients and mix using paddle attachment or hands until fully mixed. If using hand, make sure keep slightly wet to repel the sticky dates. Remove dough and press into a 9”x 13” baking sheet line with parchment paper or plastic wrap until evenly dispersed to all corners of pan. Place in freezer for 10-15 minutes. Remove from freezer and cut into 24 bars. These bars don’t need refrigeration, however they keep their shape better when cold.
One-Ingredient Homemade Peanut Butter or Almond Butter
- 4 cups (1lb) unsalted, dry roasted peanuts
In a food processor or high-speed blender, puree peanuts until smooth and creamy. This can take up to 5 minutes, depending on how smooth you prefer it.
Preheat over to 350. Place almonds on a large baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, mixing/flipping almonds half way through baking time. Allow almonds to cool completely.
**Tip: You can use roasted almonds to save time, however roasted almonds are typically a little more expensive that raw almonds**
In a food processor or high-speed blender, puree cooled almonds until smooth and creamy. This can take up to 7-10 minutes, depending on how smooth you prefer it. Stop food processor after 5 minutes and allow to rest before resuming.
Samira Bouldt, is a Certified Personal Trainer and Nutritionist at Saint Mary’s Fitness Center.