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Eat healthy, hearty meals without wasting precious time or money.

Meal plan 4.

Meal plan 4.

I apologize in advance if this is not the most entertaining post I’ve ever written, but budgeting groceries isn’t always sexy.  It is, however, really important if you don’t want to waste your hard earned cash.

I switched things up a bit this week and shopped at Sprouts instead of King Soopers.  Why?  Because it’s really close to home and I feel better about the food that I buy there.  Maybe I’m just being sucked in by their marketing campaign but it seems like they sell really high quality foods and even the items that are not organic are usually all natural.  They seem to take pride in the quality of food offered for sale in their establishment.  I don’t feel as bad about buying the ground beef that’s on sale for $3 per pound because all of their meat vendors are pretty good.  At King Soopers you can buy ground beef for $1.99 a pound, but I feel like I’m playing Russian roulette with my family’s health.  That being said, I definitely broke the  budget!  It wasn’t entirely because of the higher cost of the food, though.  It was because I ran out of some expensive items.  We were out of honey, maple syrup, and the three spice combinations that I use for everything.  I buy honey and maple syrup in bulk because I use it a lot for baking so those were expensive to replace.  Without those five items, my total would have been $175, which is still over budget but not terrible.  With the spices and the large syrup and honey, I came in at a whopping $220.  I guess if I’m really going to get our food budget to under $150 a week, I probably need to shoot for more like $140 a week so that I can go over every once in a while when we run out of the expensive stuff.  I just need to get a little more creative!

But, I  think I can figure out ways to buy high quality food without breaking the bank.  I  just need to focus on the items that are less expensive at Sprouts, like produce and anything sold in the bulk bins.  Also, now that I buy a whole weeks worth of groceries at once, I’m starting to realize that we eat A LOT of meat.  There are only two and a half of us, and this week we will eat a pound of ground beef, a pound of italian sausage, two packages of breakfast sausage (about a pound total), a pound of shrimp, and a pound of chicken.  That’s about five pounds of meat in one week. And that’s not our only source of protein.  We’ll eat 2 dozen eggs, 2 cups of peanut butter, and two cans of black beans.  Not to mention three half gallons of lactose free milk and two half gallons of almond milk, plus some protein shakes if we’re working out a lot.  That’s a TON of protein.  Do we really need to eat that much protein?  That’s a ton of food.  You’d think we were a huge family but we’re actually all pretty small people.  And it’s not like we’re throwing away leftovers, we just eat A LOT!  How much meat does your family eat each week?

Even though it’s a little over budget, here is the meal plan this week…

Meal Plan 4
Dinners Shopping List
Elbow pasta w/ sausage, tomato and fresh spinach whole wheat pasta
Joe’s Special w/ roasted new potatos 1 lb sweet italian  sausage
Cajun chicken w/ roasted potatos and veggies 1 28 oz can whole tomatoes
Gallo pinto w/ breakfast sausage baby spinach
Fried Rice w/ Shrimp 1 red onion
Leftovers 1 jalapeno
Leftovers 6 cloves garlic
1 lb ground beef
Lunches 2 dozen eggs
Ham & salami sandwiches w fruit 1 yellow onion
Paleo granola w/ yogurt and berries italian seasoning
Ham & salami sandwiches w fruit 3 sweet potatoes
Ants on a log w/ paleo granola and fruit 1 lb chicken breasts
Fried egg sandwich w/ fruit cajun seasoning
Dinner leftoveres 3 lbs new potatoes
Dinner leftoveres 1 green pepper
3 cups brown rice
Breakfasts 2 cans black beans
Oatmeal w/ berries 1 jar fresh salsa
Paleo granola and berries w yogurt or milk 1 red bell pepper
Eggs w/ breakfast sausage and spinach w/ toast 1 bunch fresh cilantro
Eggs w/ ham and spinach w/ morning rounds 1 package frozen peas
Whole wheat apple pancakes 1 lb carrots
Oatmeal w/ berries soy sauce
Morning Rounds w/ peanutbutter 1 bag shrimp
1 loaf wheat bread
Drinks 1 lb of ham
Coffee 1 package mixed greens
Milk mayonaise
Juice cheese
1 cup sliced almonds
Snacks 1 cup pumpkin seeds
Paleo Granola 1/2 cup pecans
Peanutbutter oat bars 1/2 cup shredded coconut
Pumpkin bread 1/2 cup coconut oil
Crackers & Cheese 1 jar honey
Ants on a log maple syrup
Apple sauce cinnamon
Squeaze packs (for the little one) whole milk yogurt
Morning Rounds w/ peanutbutter 3 mangos
8 bananas
1 package morning rounds
celery
peanutbutter
raisins
6 apples
2-3 containers berries
2 lbs grapes
1 cup dried cranberries
quick cook oats
butter
brown sugar
2 packages breakfast sausage
whole wheat pancake mix
Lactose free milk X 3
Juice
almond milk X 2
apple sauce
squeaze packs
crackers
rolled oats

Okay, so I looked up the recommended protein intake for our family using the calculator on the USDA website, because I’m the biggest dork ever.  Personally, I’m not totally sold on the food pyramid but I was just looking for an approximation.  You put in your height, weight, sex, and activity level and it tells you how much protein you need.  According to the USDA, our family needs 120 grams of protein per day.  Then I googled all of the high protein foods that we bought and found out that, if we eat all of our protein, we will eat about 170 grams of protein per day, not including protein shakes, and not including the incidental protein you get in brown rice, oatmeal, etc…  So, probably closer to 200 grams a day.  No shortage of protein in this house! Don’t tell my husband, but maybe I can cut back a bit, we can eat a few more veggies, and save a little money.  I’ll let you know how it goes next week.  At the end of this experiment, I’m determined to have four weeks of good, healthy groceries plans that I can cycle through so that we can eat well for $150 a week.  I’m not quite there yet, but I’m very stubborn, you can ask anyone who has ever been married to me and they’ll tell you, so I’ll get this grocery thing figured out.

Another week of meals.

Another week of meals.

So,

This post is going to be about how to eat for $180 a week.  Why?  Because that’s what it came out to this week and I was too tired to go back through the meals and find places to save money.  Plus, we are going to have Paleomg crockpot carne asada which calls for 1.5 lbs of flank steak which costs about $10 per lb. which is more than double what I usually pay for meat.  But it’s going to be soooo good.  Plus, we’ve been eating A LOT of pork because it’s really cheap and easy to cook but I got a little sick of it so, besides the breakfast sausage, no pork this week!  Hence, the $180 splurge.  In all honesty, I also bought a $3 Starbucks coffee this morning so apparently we’re just living like kings these days!  But in all seriousness, that coffee was the first drink or food item I’ve bought outside of the grocery budget in two weeks.  And while it was good, Starbucks coffee is WAY too strong for me so I’ve been super jittery all morning.  Good for blogging though, as long as you don’t mind the totally unorganized, random stream of consciousness style that my blogging takes on when I’m over caffeinated.  P.S.  I  have a brother in law who can cover seven topics of conversation in one very long sentence.  I sometimes wonder if when he was in school, he wrote his essays as one long, five page sentence.  That would make an English teacher cringe.  But so would my writing today.

Anyway, this is the meal plan…

 

Meal Plan 3
   
Dinners Shopping List
Salmon w/ cranberry brusselsprouts  2 lbs chicken breasts
Chicken fajita gallo pinto w/ salad fajita seasoning
Chicken fajitas w/ tortillas & salad 2 cups brown rice
Joe’s Special w/ sweet potato 2 cans black beans
Shrimp fajita w/ gallo pinto & salad 1 tub fresh hatch chili salsa
PaleOMG crockpot carne asada w/ guac cilantro
Leftovers 3 onions
1 red pepper
Lunches 1 package mixed greens
Grilled ham & cheese w/ fruit 1 pkg dark chocolate chips
Chef’s salad 1 cucumber
Ham & cheese wrap 2 green peppers
Leftover Joe’s Special salad dressing
Leftover Carne Asada 2 packages tortillas
Yogurt w/ granola 1/2 large block cheddar cheese
Tortilla pizza w/ ham, onion & green pepper 3 limes
1 bag shrimp
Breakfasts 1 lb ground beef
Egg, ham & spinach scramble 5 eggs
Protein Shake w/ whole grain toast 1 bag spinach
Peautbutter Toast w/ fruit 5 sweet potatoes
Sausage, eggs, and toast 3 salmon filets
Yogurt w granola 1/2 lb brussel sprouts
Oatmeal w/ blueberries 1 large bag cranberries
Protein Shake w/ whole grain toast 1.5 lbs flank steak
6 cloves garlic
Snacks cumin
Pumkin muffins chili powder
Banana muffins (leftover from last week) paprika
Dried cranberries 1 bag cuties oranges
Fruit 4 1/3 cup ckicken broth
Carrot Sticks 2 avocados
1/2 lb sliced ham
Drinks 1/2 lb sliced turkey
Coffee block of cheddar cheese
Lactose Free Milk 2 loaves whole grain bread
Almond Milk 7 apples
Juice pens
yogurt
granola
7 bananas
3 pkgs blueberries
1.5 lbs red grapes
toilet paper
pancake mix
2 cans pumpkin pure
pumpkin pie spice
whole wheat flour
other basic baking supplies
Lactose Free Milk X2
Almond Milk
1 gallon juice
Quick Cooking Oats

 

Remember, you’d spend a lot more if you bought everything on the list, but I go  through and cross off the things I don’t need.

Why won’t my child nap?!?!  This is day two of his current nap strike.  He goes on a napping strike about once every four to six weeks.  It totally throws me off my game.  When am I supposed to get dinner prepped?  Fold the laundry?  Play on my new blog?  Have you ever heard the saying, “a woman’s work is never done.”  Well, it’s true!  By the time everyone is fed, the kitchen is cleaned up, the laundry is done and folded, the house is vacuumed and swept, the groceries are bought and put away, the dog is fed, watered and walked, and the child is put down for his non-existent nap, it’s pretty much time to start over again.  Would my husband help if I asked, yes probably.  But I don’t like the way he does the housework.  And I don’t even have a dog.  I made that part up.  Ever have that problem?  I mean with the wanting help, not with the making up of tall tales.  You know, you want help but you want it done your way?  Me neither.  I was just checking.  But if you have had that problem, maybe some of my thousands of loyal readers would like to know how you solve said problem.  If you feel like sharing some words of wisdom.

Eating for $150 a week.

Eating for $150 a week.

So…

We started our $150 a week meal plan and we haven’t quite managed to stay under $150 but we’re close and we have cut way down on our grocery bills.  It’s amazing how much you can save just by being organized and planning a week of meals in advance.  One reason why we’ve been coming in slightly over budget is milk.  Both my son and my husband are lactose intolerant and I like to buy organic milk because I don’t want my son to drink any weird hormones.  Because I’m convinced that I started my period at age 11 due to the enormous amount of hormone infested milk that I drank as a kid (sorry if that’s TMI!)  Wow.  I’m such a cool blogger now.  I can use abbreviations like TMI and OMG and BFF.  Yeah, that’s all I got.  Maybe I’m not as cool as I thought.  Anyway, organic, lactose free whole milk only comes in a half gallon size and it aint cheap.  Not to mention, my husband drinks more milk than a baby calf.  Like a gallon and a half to two gallons a week!  He’s one of those guys who drinks whole milk like it’s water and wolfs down plates of pasta and bread and just can’t seem to gain an ounce to save his life.  Oh, waah, Caleb.  Oh, freakin, waah!

Anyway, I plan to work on making our meals a little healthier but it’s tough to please both my husband and I because we have very different dietary needs.  But, here’s what I do.  On Saturday night, I plan out all the meals we are going to eat; breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks (I know, I need a life.  But I’m super dorky and I live for this stuff).  So, then I write down all the ingredients I would need to make all of those meals.  Then I go through the kitchen and cross off things we already have.  Last but not least, I go online and order all the groceries on ClickList, through King Soopers.  Then, on Sunday, either my husband or I drive to King Soopers and they load all of our groceries into the car for us, swipe our credit card, and we’re off. If you’ve never used ClickList, you haven’t lived!  Seriously, such a simple idea but simply genius.  ClickList is the greatest invention ever because it allows even a man to pick up the groceries without forgetting anything or making any ridiculous substitutions.  Ever sent your husband to the grocery store for orange juice and had him come back with donuts and Tang?  Or send him out for cheddar cheese and have him hand you an aerosol can full of mysterious orange goo?

Image result for angry mom image

Never again.  He doesn’t even get to go inside!

So, here is what my meal plan looks like.  Keep in mind, I didn’t buy nearly all of these ingredients because I make a lot of the same things every week so I already had a lot of the ingredients.  But that’s the key to saving money.  Use the leftover groceries from last week in this weeks meals.  Here you go…

Meal Plan 2
   
Dinners Grocery List
Pork chops w/ sweet potato hash & salad 6  small Pork Chops
Broiled chicken thighs w/ rice and broccolli 5 large sweet potatos
Paleo pizza pie (from paleomg) 2 onions
Gallo Pint w/ Sausage 1 tub mixed greens
Pasta w/ meat sauce & sald 1 cucumber
Salmon w/ sweet potato fries & carrots 8 gala apples
Leftovers &or pita pizzas 1 small bag brown rice
1 crown broccoli
Lunches 8 chicken thighs w/ skin and bone
1 green pepper
Salomi pita sandwiches w/ fruit 1 red pepper
Leftover paleo pizza 2 cans black beans
Leftover gallo pinto w/ sausage 1 tub fresh salsa
Yogurt w/ granola & fruit 1 lb italian sausage
Pita Pizzas 1 lb ground beef
Leftover sweet potato hash w/ sausage 1 bag whole wheat pasta
Salomi pita sandwiches w/ fruit 1 jar of pasta sauce
3 salmon filets
Breakfasts 1 2lb bag of carrots
1 bag of celery
Sweet potato hash w/ eggs 1 pag of pita bread
sausage w/ peanutbutter & toast 1/2 lb of sliced salomi
Oatmeal w/ berries 1 spachetti squash
Eggs w salomi & spinach 1 can tomato sauce
Protein shakes w/ toast 1 package breakfast sausage
Yogurt w/ fruit and granola 24 eggs
Protein shake w/ peanutbutter toast 2 packages blueberries
1 package strawberries
Snacks 10 bananas
2 bags cuties oranges
2 loaves of pumpkin bread 1 container plain yogurt
Chocolate chip oatmeal cookies pumpkin seeds (in bulk)
Ants on a log 1 package quick cooking oats
Crackers and cheese 1 bag of fresh spinach
Dried cranberries 2 cans pumpkin pure
Apples 1 bag dark chocolate chips
Oranges 1 jar peanutbutter
Kashi cereal bars Dried cranberries (bulk)
Kids Cliff Z Bars Whole wheat flour
pumpkin pie spice
Drinks coconut oil
baking soda
4 half gallons lactose free milk baking powder
3 half gallons of juice vanilla
butter
3 half gallons of juice
4 half gallons lactose free milk

To buy everything I needed for these meals came in at a whopping $159.62.  That didn’t include the milk and juice but it did include $20 worth of diapers so it was wasn’t actually that far off.  I think we came in right around $165.  And since my husband has rekindled his love for swimming and I’m now feeding Michael Phelps, I think that’s pretty good.

All of you paleoers and south beach dieters and just general health conscious human beings probably don’t think this looks like the healthiest of meal plans but what can I say, I’m a work in progress.  Healthier meal plans to come!