Canada’s newest Food Guide was released in 2019 – have you seen it??
Why am I so excited about Canada’s Food Guide? Because I have been feeding my family according to their recommendations for $1 per plate for years!!! And, my book, Dinner for a Dollar, aligns perfectly with their recommendations. When you put my plate up against their plate, I think you can see the similarities too!
Here at Dinner for a Dollar, I am not a food expert. I have no formal training, degrees, or certifications in food science. Though I have read countless hours on the topic, I am not qualified to make recommendations for how others “should” be eating. I am VERY careful to never do that. I am “just a mom” who had to find a way to feed her family allergy-free, whole food diet rich in produce on a sustainable budget. There was nothing on the market to teach me how to do that, so I created my own system. And, after years of using that system in my own home, I turned it into a book – Dinner for a Dollar
And I am ecstatic to report that my system is supported by a team of the top nutritionists and food health professionals in Canada! How awesome is that???!!!
Last week, when their recommendations came out, I was thrilled. There were tons of news articles and posts supporting the Canadian Food Plan. I was so excited to see such a balanced and healthy plan promoted by a major government. (To read all the details about their food plan, click here). But, by the end of the week, of course, the story had changed.
News articles began talking about how this is not a realistic plan for families – that the average family cannot afford to spend the amount of time and money necessary to eat this way. That the government should have been more realistic in their suggestions.
That’s when I really started FREAKING OUT!!!! I wanted to scream at those journalists….YES, YOU CAN!!!! You can afford it!!!
I wanted to scream…..You CAN be a busy family and eat according to these new, awesome standards!!! You CAN be on a tight budget and serve your family this amazing plate of food!
And I know this because I have been feeding my busy family this plate for $1 for years. And my entire mission, here at Dinner for a Dollar, is to show you how you can too!
Now, I cannot tell you, in 1 blog post, how to achieve this plate for $1. It’s not 1 simple change to a $1 plate or 3 simple steps to serve this plate for $1.
It’s only through a series of choices, practiced intentionally over time, that you will be able to serve this plate to your family for $1. In my book, Dinner for a Dollar, I cover all the habits necessary – through a seamless 11 step system – to have this plate for $1. If you want to have access to this level of nutrition on a super tight budget, I highly recommend you pick up a copy of my book and get serious about implementing the steps.
Though I can’t share my entire system with you here, I can share with you 5 simple steps to move you closer to having this plate for $1 here today. If you can’t get the book right now, this should be enough to get you started.
Five Simple Steps to move you closer to having this plate for $1.
1) Know that it is possible –
Sometimes, just knowing that it IS POSSIBLE to eat at this level of nutrition on a very tight budget is all you need to make it happen! I know that, for years, I believed the myth that whole food had to take my whole paycheck. And that kept me in a rut of overpaying for my food. I am here to tell you – IT DOESN’T have to be this way!!!!!
Once you know that it is possible to eat this well, for only a dollar, your subconscious mind can start working on ways to accomplish it!
For years, scientists believed it was dangerous to run a mile in less than 4 minutes. Roger Bannister knew it was possible and committed to making it happen. Within 2 months after he broke the 4-minute threshold, 2 other runners did the same. To date, over 1400 male runners have run a mile in less than 4 minutes. Sometimes, just knowing that something IS possible helps you find a way.
So, if I could get you to read only 1 of these 5 steps, it would be this one – to believe that it is possible to eat according to this high nutritional standard for only $1 per plate. I have been doing it for years and you can too.
2) Make a budget
If you want to eat a whole food, produce rich diet on a tight budget, you need to set a food budget for your family. It won’t work without one! Trust me, I tried!!!
A budget is simply you telling your money where to go. Without one, everyone and everything will tell your money where to go – except you! And your money will be going..going…gone – every single month.
3) Make a plan
I really believe that the main reason most people don’t hit their food and financial goals is lack of planning. If you want to eat a whole-food, produce-rich diet on a tight budget, you need to make a plan. You just do. I wish there was a way for whole food to just show up on my table, by my sheer willpower, but I haven’t found a way to do that yet. Bummer.
To hit my goals, I have to make a plan. And for you to hit your goals, you have to make a plan too. Check out some of my previous blogs to hear more about how I make a plan – What to do When You’re Sick of Cooking and Stop Eating All of Your Money. Check out this blog to learn how to set goals and hit them.
4) Buy at the best prices
If you want to eat this plate for $1, you will have to buy your food at the best prices. Period.
This means you buy produce in season and on sale. It means, if you want to eat like this for $1, you skip the watermelon in the winter – even if your little ones love watermelon. You skip oranges in the summer- even if your little ones love oranges.
This means you wait until meat is on sale to buy. This means you skip the steak, even if you have a craving, and wait until it goes on sale. (**HINT HINT!!! If you love steak, and it’s in your budget, Valentines Day brings out some of the best prices on steaks in the winter. So, check your local flyers, this may be the time to stock up).
If you want to eat well on a tight budget, you follow the sale trends and stock up on your staples when they’re at their lowest prices of the year.
5) Know the difference between wants and needs
This brings us to our 5th and final step…knowing the difference between wants and needs.
If you want to eat this plate for $1, you must know the difference between wants and needs.
When you know the difference between wants and needs, you buy your needs – no matter what – at the best possible price available to you.
And then, you only buy your wants when you can afford it.
This is a hard one. But, it’s true! Becoming financially healthy requires that you know the difference between wants and needs and spend (or don’t spend) accordingly.