Thursday, November 7, 2013

Low-carb and Frugal: Is It Possible?

Chickens (and other livestock) everywhere rejoice in this post!
M. Gustafson Gervasi, 2013

Loyal readers of Frugal Upside know several things about me.  The obvious, I like to save money by cooking meals at home.  And the more subtle, my health make-up requires me to avoid too many carbohydrates. The reality of that second fact is that no one meal of mine should exceed 30 - 50 grams of carbohydrates.  The challenge of this hit me tonight as I read the couscous package.  A 1/3 cup serving contains 48 grams of carbs.  That's my limit for an entire meal -- 1/3 cup of couscous!  Needless to say, I skipped my plate when dishing out the grain.

And my body is an equal-opportunity reactor to carbs.  It doesn't matter if they come from a glazed donut, a glass of milk, couscous, or fresh fruit.  If I exceed that mark, I pay the price.  As a result, my diet and grocery cart of late have tended toward animal products.  Meat and dairy to be specific.  Lots of protein, little or no carbohydrates.  And given the fact I prefer to buy organic meat and dairy, it drives our grocery bill higher than I'd prefer.  Plus, it causes unease in my mind knowing the environmental toll it takes to produce those animal products.

Fans of Dave Ramsey will know his signature phrase "beans and rice, rice and beans" -- the meal plan he advocates one follow during lean economic times.  I'd gladly embrace it, but know the health fall out will cost far more in both the immediate and long-term costs.  So tonight I write this post more as an exercise in personal reflection than education of readers. What is low carb, but not too pricey and/or too taxing on the earth?

  • Vegetables.  It's time to embrace roasting, sauteing, steaming an other ways to dress up these affordable and low carb goodies;
  • Nuts.   I'm thinking apple slices dipped in peanut butter might make an easy and affordable breakfast.
  • ????  And that is where I hope the blogosphere might step up and offer inspiration.  Do you have a favorite dish or recipe that might meet my needs?  If so please share.  I do face the challenge of cooking not only for myself, but for a 5 and 3 year old as well.  The universe is dishing back to me what I served out as a child.  Growing up I loved strawberry short-cake with whipped cream; I just had to have a separate bowl for each item.  You guessed it, my kids refuse to eat food that has merely grazed another food group on a plate.  Intricate dishes of melted food groups is likely out of the question for the next few years.  My current routine is to set aside the ingredients for them before I whip up a chili for example.  Disagree?  I'm sure some of you do, but the battle I need to face is not on how to get them to eat what the adults do, but to figure out some healthy higher protein options that are not animal based.  What do you have dear reader?

1 comment:

  1. Challenging. I love carbs, but find of course that if I eat too many of them, I don't end up eating as much veg and fruits as I should. I'd suggest checking out vegetarian cookbooks or magazines; omnivores like us can always add some meat. Also I love the MOM 100 Cookbook. As for proteins, I'm a big fan of beans and nuts myself. Beans are a lot lower cost than nuts, though. You could always eat them with corn instead of rice to limit the carbs. I don't currently do a lot of soy, edamame sometimes, but one of my kids is a big tofu fan and wants me to learn to cook it (I like it but don't cook it well). I don't want a ton of soy in my diet because I don't feel clear about other health issues that may be around it...

    Also it sounds like you are already doing what the Dinner: A Love Story blog calls deconstructing your meals to make them more family accessible. It's a well-written blog about eating as a family.