Remember that time my husband and I challenged ourselves to make everything from scratch for a month? Yeah. Me too. It was a lot of fun. Well, since we are no more cool than we were a few months ago, for the past several weeks we have been challenging ourselves to spend $50 a week at the grocery store.
Which, would be really easy to do. Rice, beans, fresh vegetables and fruit. Done. However, there is no fun in that and we like to have a bit of diversity in our meals. Oh! We also like to eat things that actually sound good (not knocking on rice, beans and fresh vegetables. It is a favorite of ours, but it wouldn't be a challenge if we did that).
A few of my mom friends told me that they wanted to hear/see more (Hi Mel, Ang, JENN!, Kelly), so here it is!
What We Have Been Doing:
- On Sunday's I create a weekly meal plan that includes not only dinner but breakfasts, lunches (The Beast and I are home for lunch) and snacks so a) nothing is forgotten and b) waste is reduced/eliminated which has been key for us
- From that meal plan I create a list of everything that we need, and then I go through our fridge/pantry to make sure that we don't already have it (because there is always that weird spice you forgot you had hiding in the back of the cabinet).
- On Sunday/Monday morning we go shopping. We don't use coupons, and I don't have the time to run from store to store. We try to hit one store, but two stores is where I max out. I can't stand the in and out of the car seat, neither can The Beast.
- We go meatless quite often. Did you know quinoa has more protein than beef, and has all of the essential amino acids that our bodies need to function and it is high in fiber? Beans are also something that make it into the plan quite often. We love beans.
- We have duplicate nights (Since there are only three of us, this is important for waste reduction)
- Fresh fruits and vegetables being a focus of snacks instead of packaged foods saves us a bundle - do you know how fast I can go through a package of goldfish crackers? Yeah, you don't want to know either. It is shameful. Things like smoothies, trail mix, edamame, and cheese keep us both on the right track nutrition and cost wise.
- For us, it has everything to do with how we put the meal plan together. For example, if we are making berry smoothies with spinach for breakfast, we either need to have smoothies everyday of the week, or find another use for the spinach to maximize it's usefulness. There is no point in buying something for one meal that will just go to waste. Oh, and make sure the vegetables that will go bad, go at the start of the week (the kale can wait).
- Keep it simple
We have yet to make it under $50, but we consistently hover around $55-$60. That works for us, since we have no real motivation to do this other than just seeing if we can be more efficient financially while eating in our regular healthy and nutrient dense way.
And since everyone likes food, I thought I would throw out some recipes we have been trying and loving. So, I hope you are ready for some serious links!
Fresh Vegetable Quesadillas by Veggie Num Num
- Quinoa and bean burritos with red cabbage slaw and green tomato salsa
- Fresh Vegetable Quesadilla with fresh salsa (we made this with smoked gouda - soooo good!)
- Grilled portabello and poblano tacos
- Hummus and avocado toasts with roasted tomatoes
- Tortellini Soup (beans added)
- Easy chicken with wild rice
- Sweet Potato and Black Bean Quesadillas With Swiss Chard Pesto
- Penne with roasted asparagus and balsamic butter (used less than half of the butter it called for)
- Quinoa, black bean and sweet potato casserole
- Homemade Spaghetti Sauce W/Meat (For the boys. Used 1/3 of the meat to keep cost down -- and it was plenty)
- Peach Smoothie (honey used, not stevia)
- Pumpkin Pie Smoothie (sans water)
- Berry Smoothie With Spinach
Things I Want To Try This Week:
- Pumpernickel Bread With Avocado, Apple, Raddish, Cucumber and Goat Cheese
- Quinoa Cookies with M&Ms
- Chickpea & Quinoa Salad (with lemon vinaigrette and yogurt dressing)
And that is how we have been keeping our grocery bill to just over $50 a week for three people.