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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.