One of the questions we often get on our Facebook page is “How do I raise healthy kids?” The key, of course, is a balanced diet coupled with adequate sleep and physical activity to help your child with his growth and energy. (Check out more tips for raising a healthy child here.)
Based on the meal recommendations of Food and Nutrition Research Institute as part of its Pinggang Pinoy food guide, your child's meal (and yours as well) must contain carbohydrates, proteins, vegetables, and fruits. We know it's not as easy as it sounds, and it's become harder to provide a balanced meal for the family with the prices of vegetables these days.
Over at our Facebook group, Smart Parenting Village, moms have expressed their dismay at the continuous rise of vegetable prices in the market. Mom Sheena Celisputs it this way: "Nakaka-high blood na ang gulay."
"One piece of a medium-sized green bell pepper is Php40!" said mom Tricia Ortanez. "Muntik ko na isoli lahat ng binili ko para sa mechado!"
Mom Shei Bataluna said, "Pikit mata kong binayaran ang small carrots for Php60," while Casey Aaliyah shared she bought two pieces of the same vegetable for Php82.
"One small sayote and one small repolyo Php90 pesos. Mas mahal pa kaysa sa karne," Ojy Rafol shares. "Palengke pa yung price na yun. Paano pa kaya kung sa supermarket ako bumili."
The cost of siling labuyo also shocked many of the moms. Some mentioned that siling labuyo was at Php10 to Php15 for three pieces. "Naloka ako. Usually Php10 isang tumpok na. Fave pa naman ni hubby ang spicy foods," laments Laiza Deogracias.
Even those who lived in the province were shocked at the prices. "Sayote costs Php100 per kilo. Weeks ago, it was just Php70! Pechay was also the same. Bought two stalks, which were not even fresh, for Php20!" Mary Juyjuy, who lives in Davao City, shared.
Naturally, we had to ask these moms: Amid the high inflation and increasing consumer prices, how can they stick to their budget without compromising the quality of food they serve their children?
Here are practical tips from real moms who are coping with the rising prices of vegetables.
Buy vegetables in the palengke.
Mom Coleng Sebastian notes that you can ask for discounts in the wet market, especially if you have a ‘suki’ or a seller whom you always buy from. If you prefer buying from the supermarket, mom Lovejoy Carreon compares prices in different places before buying. Yes, vegetables have become so expensive that many moms in the group go "window-shopping" first.
As one mom points out, "Lahat sa palengke pinupuntahan ko makamura kahit Php2 lang ang difference."
A number of moms have already started planting vegetables in pots outside their homes. According to Ley Almeda, she grows calamansi, okra, eggplant, tomato, cabbage, pechay (napa cabbage), sili, and pepper in her house. Another mom, Ivy Cantila,shares she does container gardening and grows spring onions, garlic, kangkong, lemongrass, and malunggay at home.
Want to try your hand at your own edible garden? You can find a list of easy to grow vegetables here.
Try short order meals, which can be cheaper.
Some moms have also noted that eating out or ordering pre-cooked food is already cheaper than buying ingredients and preparing meals yourself (imagine YOUR cost of labor).
“[‘Yung] budget mong Php120 to Php150 per meal for four, kung magluluto ka baka gulay pa lang ‘yun,” Sheena shares. “Unlike kapag cook-to-order, hindi ka na napagod, busog ka pa rin!”
However, be careful that your kids won’t consume too much sodium (click here for specific recommendations for salt intake for babies and kids).
Switch your favorites for more affordable veggies.
One mom noted that she wanted to buy broccoli, but the cost was Php35 for a piece that was as big as her 9-month-old baby’s fist. “I switched to malunggay instead,” she shares.
Another mom adds that when preparing meals with vegetables, you can replace the more expensive options with cheaper ones. “For example, pechay na lang instead of adding repolyo for nilaga,” she shares.
Plan your meals and list down every item you need (not want!)
It’s easy to go overboard and fill the cart when you’re in the grocery, so mom Jen Aguilarshares the following tip: “Mag-plano ng weekly meal at ilista ‘yung dapat lang talaga na bilihin.”
Other moms have also admitted that they’ve cut down on some items to be able to stick to their budget, but when it comes to their baby’s needs, they are willing to stretch that amount. “Kahit mahal, minsan no choice, binibili ko na para sa ikalulusog niya,” one mom shares.
How much are vegetables and grocery items in your area? And how are you coping? Let us know in the comments!