Feeding a family on a budget is about more than just getting free or cheap stuff at the grocery store. It’s about finding nutritious, tasty fuel for growing people, healing bodies, and hungry tummies!
This week I’ve concentrated on healthy foods and ingredients that can fuel our family members properly. No junk! Sure, we include cheese and some prepared ingredients in our meals — because it’s all about balance. But living off prepackaged, quasi-meals on a regular basis will not give you the nutrition bodies need for proper performance; it’ll only get you fat and unhealthy. Our bodies need fruit, vegs, protein, whole grains, and, yes, something to help the fat-soluble nutrients absorb into our systems.
It is entirely possible to do this on a tight budget! Even a food stamp budget. And it’s possible to create healthy meals for your freezer on the same budget. To see how I put these provisions together into menu plans, check out my Menu Plan Monday posts each week! Here’s what I got this week:
Bag N Save: I went on Tuesday to double-dip in the sales pond. Among my best finds were whole peppercorn and sea salt grinders in the dollar aisle for .89! These will last at least 4 months, and we use s&p all the time. Also in the dollar aisle was 16 oz. ziti (pasta) for .79. Large eggs cannot be beat for nutrition for just .79/dozen. With extra coupons from the Sunday inserts, Country Hearth whole wheat bread was just 1.44/loaf (and these keep well in the freezer for a few weeks). The Musselman’s applesauce deal (unsweetened) was not only a food deal, but gives us free entertainment, as well. Banquet pies for #1’s lunches were a deal at .69 (although not the best healthy option, they are fast and do pack lots of vegs and some protein to accompany the fruit). Then I headed out to BnS on Wednesday, for the Big G (whole grain) cereal deal, and found tri-color spiral pasta in the dollar aisle of this different store for .75. On Friday, I decided to try to use the $4.50 milk coupon at my nearby regular store, and it worked! Since I bought two containers of skim milk to total just over the coupon amount, it took off the total amount (total for this trip was .28). Total on food: $26.41.
SuperSaver: I combined my trips to SS and BnS to save time and gas; it was worth it. Planters peanut butter for .93 each is a high-protein lunch and snack item, especially on that whole wheat bread. Progresso Lite soups for weekend lunches or quick dinners are balanced and just .86/can (1.17 unexpected sale – 1.25/4 coupon). We eat canned green beans here, which may not be as nutritious as frozen or fresh, but that’s what DH likes — .48/can. For high-fiber snacks, I found Hilger 2# popcorn (no pesticides or insecticides) with microwave instructions right on the package, for 1.58, which was less than the sale priced store brand conventional item. We adore popcorn, so this was a real bargain! And the Honey Bunches of oats deal at 1.88 makes for quick and healthy breakfasts. Cabbage was .38/#, and makes great cole slaw with the Aldi carrots. Dark leaf (Romaine) lettuce was also a good price. The Kraft natural cheeses went into the freezer for judicious use over the next couple of months. Total on food: $21.27.
Aldi: On my Wednesday trip, I had to go to the library, and drove right past Aldi, so I went in to round out our produce. Navel oranges 1.48, avocados .29 each (cheap lunch!), celery .69, baby carrots .49 (outrageously low price!), chicken breasts 1.85 total, and boneless beef ribs 4.10 total. Total on food: 14.84.
Total this week: $62.52. I have so much meat in the freezers that I didn’t get much this week. Instead, I focused on other healthy items to fuel our bodies properly and to use with what we already have. Total for this month so far: $317.84. I’m $32.16 under budget, with 3 days to go. I didn’t get Project Hope donations yet this week, so I’ll be getting some on Monday or Tuesday from this food budget.
What I’ve got for the coming weeks: The whole turkey will be the impetus for my menus this coming week! This turkey was FREE a few months ago at No Frills, and what a budget-saver! Some of the meat will make its way into whole wheat sandwiches, and veg-ful casseroles. To see how I put these provisions together into menu plans, check out my Menu Plan Monday posts each week!