It finally happened. Cauliflower rice came to my favorite discount grocery store. I picked up the frozen package and was practically dancing with joy.
Until I saw the price. Even at my go-to discount store it was $4.00 for a frankly small bag of cauliflower ‘rice’.
Well, huh. Just huh.
I wandered back over to the fresh product section and double checked the price of a large head of fresh cauliflower. That turned out to be $1.99.
Well, huh. Just huh.
I bought the fresh produce, went home and literally after a minute of prep which included breaking the head into flowerets and processing them in my food processor, I had twice as much cauliflower rice for half the price.
The incident got me thinking, the cost of convenience really was steep. From those cute little bags of grated cheese to cubed and marinated meat ready to grill, buying food that was already prepped on some level is expensive and really adds up.
I read that the average annual food bill for Americans is more than $7,500 and of that, a whopping 60 percent is spent on convenience foods and non-alcoholic drinks such as soda. This means that more than half of your food budget isn’t even going to food that you actually cook or prepare.
And let’s be real, most of that convenience food is pure junk.
Don’t believe me? Next time you go to the grocery store, do a little snooping. Just glance into other customers’ carts to see what the average consumer is buying these days. It will scare you straight out of the chip aisle and send you running into the fresh produce department. Convenience food is the so-called food that makes you fat, raises your cholesterol and basically destroys your health. It is full of salt, sugar and chemicals galore.
Now, I am not saying the occasional bag of chocolate chip cookies is going to ruin your life but bypassing most all of the prepared foods will absolutely be better for your health in the long run. Spend an hour every weekend prepping all your veggies and fruit and reap the rewards all week long as well as save big money in the long term.
The cups of instant oatmeal run about $1.50 each. For that price, I can eat oatmeal for breakfast for weeks on end. No really. And it takes but a few minutes to cook on the stovetop and made the night before, I reheat that office the next day.
So, fugal tip of the week: spend an hour a week prepping and forgo the prepared, packaged, prepped and instant versions of what is not real food after all.
An hour of prep time seems like a bargain when you think about the money you will save.