Monday 23 October 2017

Day Two: Can a devout foodie avoid processed foods and still indulge us on a budget?

On day 2, Leslie Williams finds that his family could eat more fruit and veg, yet limiting fast food proves easier

lesley Williams, wife Caitriona and son Grellan
lesley Williams, wife Caitriona and son Grellan
Leslie admits that sometimes each of them eat a different meal.
As a foodie, Leslie would like to spend less at the supermarket
Leslie's grocery bill for the week.

Leslie Williams

THE problem with feeding my family is that we all are obsessed with food. My excuse is that I make part of my living writing about food, so I have an unnaturally strong interest.

My wife Caitriona mainly married me for my cooking skills (as far as I can tell) and considers her meals to be the highlight of her day, and our son Grellan likes to eat from what he considers the four main food groups: meat, pasta, bread and pizza.

I wish I could say that we ate together as a family every night, but in reality all three of us only manage to sit down together three to four times per week. There is also the difficulty of our different tastes and so sometimes each of us eats a different meal.

Thanks to my strong feelings about food, I am deeply distrustful of anything that comes out of a packet. We use whole milk, fresh butter, and I make most things from scratch including pastry, ice-cream, marmalade...

Besides sliced bread and packet ham, the only processed food eaten in our house is by Grellan and consists of breakfast cereals (which are only eaten occasionally) and Goodfellas Pizza (yes, it has to be that brand).

Personally, I am not a fan of any of the above and would like to ban them from the house, but Caitriona (rightly) tells me to butt out.

Caitriona does most of the supermarket shopping and I visit the butcher, baker, fishmonger, cheese-monger and vegetable market.

My reasoning is simple: the difference in price is marginal, I have better choice, better quality (usually) and I like to spend some of my my money locally.

We rarely buy meat in the supermarket except for free-range chicken (Aldi) and if we do it is because of convenience or because it has been heavily discounted.

Other than avoiding processed and convenience food, we don't really think about nutrition, although myself and Caitriona are both conscious of calories and portion sizes.

Five years ago I was around 15lb heavier than I am now and I lost the weight mostly by eating less and cutting down on desserts.

I am nervous that I will come across as a bit of a food purist in this piece, so I should mention that we also order takeaway food every 10 days or so and my death-row meal would be a fresh cod and chips from a decent chipper.

The first conclusion I would draw from my week of watching what I eat is that we probably don't eat enough fruit and vegetables, and secondly that we spend much more in supermarkets than I realised. Both of these I hope I can change.


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