Sunday, 28 June 2015

Redlin Food Plan

So I'm just figuring out my food situation for September.  I'm endeavouring to eat healthier this year but I also need to keep enough money NOT spent on food in order to do other stuff with my student loan money.

So let's break down the elements of my grocery list and see where we end up shall we?

Salmon - The King of the Freezer 

Salmon and I get on really good terms.  I enjoy it cooked stove top or in the oven and it can truly fill me up.  Add to that the fact its actually one of the more healthy of the fish out there on the market and you've got a happy Redlin.  In the past I've made it through lean months with two $20 a piece Salmon fillets in the freezer covering a full 30 days worth of protein meals.  Not ideal but certainly better than having no meat.  However, these fillets were most likely 'farmed salmon' which means they have some health detriments I don't care to deal with and come from an industry with disgusting practises.  I'm on the Pacific coast and yet the market is flooded with farmed Atlantic salmon.  Not cool supermarkets.  And of course the labeling isn't there to know for sure unless you ask.  I haven't made an effort to get Sockeye (Pacific and local) Salmon in the past but I'm going to do that now.


Price - To be determined when I can ask that fish-shops rates.  For sake of math for now, $45

Frequency - With a minimum of two fillets, I can get 6-8 Salmon servings for myself.  Using October 2015 as an example month...  October 5, 8, 11, 15, 18, 22, 25, 29.  Four weeks at twice a week.  Monday and Thursday as S-Day.  That sounds accurate.

Importance - Hell yes I'm having Salmon in the Freezer.  Critical to Redlin success at school and its one of the few things I can cook properly.  Hopefully the Sockeye variety won't be tremendously more than the farmed Salmon.

Eggs - Breakfast, Lunch, Supper?

Eggs are really good.  REALLY good.  In fact, after reading a novel about Allied POW's in Japanese POW camps desperate for nutrients; I learned that Eggs can be the salvation of those living with close to nothing for loooong periods.  Got to make use of these chicken eggs folks.  Delicious when fried or boiled and simple enough that I can't mess them up.  Got to figure on eating these daily in some form or another.   
Source - Save on Foods Supermarket

Price - $7.34 for 30

Frequency - 3 per day of serving gives me ten days of Eggs in a month.  So without a set schedule, as long as I'm aware of what day I'm consuming those three eggs and how many are left I should be able to figure out if eating that breakfast is really necessary based on how much physical labour I'm anticipating. 

Importance - Ja...  I should have this in my diet, if anything else to give me an option in the mornings to actually breakfast.

Frozen Broccoli - Steamed or thawed

I know I was taught this in school.  Vegetables are very good in a balanced diet.  Curse my tendency to avoid that aisle!  However, now I'm armed with a steamer which means I would be able to steam up veggies (my preferred method) or just munch on them raw if I'm in a rush/lazy.  I like Broccoli and its been described as one of those 'superfoods'.  Let's just deal with it and call in my greens.  I'm bad enough as it is folks, these are babysteps.
Source - Save on Foods Supermarket

Frequency - This one is hard to pin down.  I should probably have a portion of veggies every time I eat Salmon.  So 6-8 times a month.  We'll see how much the 1000 grams I'm budgeting here will last.

Price - $8.70 for 1000 grams of frozen Broccoli, two bags.

Importance - Personally I could do without but personally I should not do without.

Fruit - Oh no, what do I put here...  

I like fruit, I do.  It just tends to be... a very low priority item when I shop for myself.  Its gotten to the point where I haven't had fruit in my life regularly in years.  What to put here though...  Oh, I know.  Lemons.  I LOVE Lemons.  If I could have one every second day, either sucking on it or drinking its juice directly...  Yeah, I'm doing this.

Source - Save on Foods Supermarket

Frequency - Every second day, using October as my guide again...  16 lemons approximately.

Price - $1.11 each.  $17.76 per month with a shelf life of 1-2 months in the fridge.

Importance - I will halve this value for the shoestring budget but citrus should be in my life...

Sauce - For Sanity


Pasta sauce is a luxury I may or may not be able to afford but by Zeus does it turn a normal spaghetti night into a savoury experience.  At time of writing, I had just made a lentil/pasta sauce that was good enough to eat the next day as leftovers....  LEFTOVERS.  I'm actually very against leftovers on principle of it never tasting as good so yeah, these pasta sauces can do miracles.

Source - Save on Foods Supermarket

Frequency -  Once a week this should be planned for to liven up the spaghetti routine.  Five in a month then, just to make things simple.

Price - $5.11 each, $25.55 per month.

Importance - Spaghetti sauce ahoy!   Yeah, list it under luxury, reduce to a single jar a month if need be.

The burrito kit - Prices Vary Wildly

A little variety can be stretched a loooong way.  Flour tortillas are delicious eaten on their own or when used to wrap around cheese, cooked salmon slivers or beef.  Including this as a once a month bonus (beef/cheese components anyway) with a plan to buy enough tortillas to last the month.

Frequency - The Ground Beef Burrito will last two days maximum.  The tortillas can be eaten everyday.

Source - Lonsdale Quay Market

Ground Beef - $30.00 allotted.  Prices vary wildly now.

Melting cheddar - $12.00 allotted.

Tortilla - $2.00!  One pack guarantees a day of munching or two burritos.  $40.00 for the month?

Importance - Its to give the diet some variety.  Expendable.

The stomach fillers - Long Shelf Life, Uncalculated here

Alrighty, now to what I've been mainly living off of alone.  Its not necessarily an evil diet but it is lacking in vital nutrients.  This category will not be placed in the budget as I have reserves of these items already built up in bulk in case of no-money scenarios.  Kind of like what I'm living through right now.  Lets list these all together now:

Spaghetti - A most traditional student staple.  Sometimes its great, sometimes I'm sick of it but its always there for me even when nothing else is.  At $1.25 a pack and with a pack capable of lasting 4 days, and with a huge reserve of packs...  Yeah, I eat a lot of this stuff when the going gets a bit tough.

Rice - The rice cooker was a recent acquisition which means rice is new in the reserve shelf.  $13.00 for a huge bag and a cup of rice serves as a good filler for one meal.  Don't forget to rinse Redlin!
Lentils - Protein waiting for release.  Meat substitute.  Tastes like nothing but you could fool yourself into thinking it tastes like beef with a pasta sauce.  Price is a bulk bin item per pound and I have no idea how to calculate that one.

Butter - A stick of butter is always in the fridge.  Always.  Makes spaghetti without sauce tolerable and can be melted into Popcorn bags as a treat.

Microwave Popcorn - A reserve of these bags, bought when money is available for it, can make even the longest drought of good food pass by a little faster.

To Drink - This one is expensive.


Problem solved.

Okay folks lets see what the monthly damage is for this diet of mine.  We'll tally up with luxuries (burrito, maximum sauce, maximum lemon) and then reduce to get the bare minimum I'd like to accept.  Keep in mind this is me actually trying here to balance a month.  I'm not great at it. <.<

Grand Total: $186.35

That's a lot of money...  Let's reduce that shall we?
Redlin's Minimum: $75.03 (95.03 with ten tortilla packs tossed in)

So, by going off of these approximate amounts I've plugged in (the Salmon variance is very high), I could in theory make it through a month off of 75 bucks.  Wow that's far better than I expected.  The grand total number isn't that bad either.  Not calculated was the stick of butter I'd probably use up, nor the replacement of rice (I've got spaghetti enough to last for months).  I'd probably like to have microwave popcorn for movies and the like but knowing I could get by off of 75 bucks is not a small thing to know.
Don't put this off folks, figure out your food source.

I don't even want to know what I've squandered in my disorganised, whatever happens happens method of the past 3 years...  It's time to grow up in this department.

There's my thought process anyway.  Probably all going out the window when I actually try to put this into practise at the start of the school year!

- Red