realfoodCourt's money saving tip #2

Hi there friends. I can't believe how quickly the last month has flown by. I apologize for the hiatus. I am still trying to figure out the right balance between work, relationships, and "me" time. I spent a lot of time with my sis and the pup, I will miss them during the next few months.

Despite my schedule and life changes I have continued to make simple meal prep a priority so that I always have a quality breakfast, lunch, and dinner to get me through my busy week. 

Preparation starts in the supermarket, farmer's market, or wherever else you purchase the majority of your food. Today, I want to share another money saving tip (<click to read tip #1) to help make your life easier, and make eating real food possible.

I talk a lot about nut butters because they are nutritious and natural (when the right kind is purchased) and they go great with just about everything. The best part is they now make nut butters in just about every nut and seed variety so there is something for everyone, even those with allergies. Check out my post about snacks to find out more about what you can do with your nut butter. Let's find what nut butter can teach us about saving money...

tip #2: buy the store brand

When you are food shopping, the store/generic brand is almost always cheaper. There are many times when buying the store brand of a packaged food gives a more processed, and hidden sugar-filled product. The best way to track down these deceptions is by reading the ingredients on the food label. That being said, there are just as many times when the store brand is not only the cheapest option, but also the best option. For example, my Safeway shoppers, their line of pasta sauces is less than two dollars and has better ingredient profile than other options sharing the shelf.

Let's focus on snacks. My go-to nut butter lately has been peanut butter. Peanut butter is surprisingly perfect: 2 tablespoons has 16 grams of (natural) fat, 6 grams of carbohydrate, and 8 grams of protein. The best part: peanut butter is the cheapest nut butter and the easiest to find.

Peanut butter should include these ingredients: PEANUTS, SALT (if salted preferred).

Anything more than this does not belong.

So, I find myself in the supermarket looking at the peanut butter selection and faced with literally dozens of different varieties. There is Jiffy, Skippy, Peter Pan, and more. Each brand costs more than $2.50 (some cost much more). Each brand offers multiple varieties including low fat (which by the way makes no sense since peanut butter naturally has fat...think about that), naturalno saltorganic...

My mission: find a peanut butter with my two key ingredients, ONLY.

Well, this was quite a difficult task...

Peter Pan Original: roasted peanuts, sugar, hydrogenated vegetable oil, salt, partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil.

Skippy Natural Peanut Butter: roasted peanuts, sugar, palm oil, salt, molasses.

Jif Reduced Fat Creamy Peanut Butter: peanuts, corn syrup solids, sugar, pea protein, salt, fully hydrogenated vegetable oils, mono and diglycerides, molasses, magnesium oxide, niacinamide, ferric orthophosphate, zinc oxide, copper sulfate, folic acid, pyridoxine hydrochloride..

Right... I totally want to eat all of these things...not...WHY are companies so quick to ruin something that should be so simple and real?? Additives can add filler and decrease actual peanuts used per jar. Companies assume that customers don't want to mix or refrigerate peanut butter, so they add oils and other junk to smooth things out, artificially. 

So, what was my winner??

You guessed it..the STORE BRAND. 

I did not trust the "All Natural" claim, but I turned around the jar to see what was in it...

I paid less than $2.50 for this peanut butter.

And then I ran out, which I have been doing a lot lately since my sister and I crush this jar in a week or two. My local Giant was all out of their brand peanut butter. Guess where I found my next best option...TARGET! 

Seriously. The Target, generic Market Pantry line has another go to peanut butter with the two magical ingredients.

I paid $2.24 for my Target peanut butter.

Put down that low fat yogurt. Actually, throw it in the trash.

No excuse for not being able to afford a real food snack.

It's Fall.

Go apple picking, pick up a generic, simple peanut butter, and enjoy the easiest and most delicious real food, balanced snack.

Mini apple picked while apple picking this weekend!