About Me

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Eating Well on the Cheap, pt 1

It has been brought to my attention many times that it is unusual for a family to spend as little as I do (around $200/month) on groceries and still have delicious and even sometimes high-end meals. 

I thought it would be fun to host a meal planning/grocery list making/simple meal and snack demonstration/recipe sharing night at my home. First things first, I know it needs a real name! Eating Well on the Cheap is the working title, other suggestions are very much wanted!

I plan to show my strategies for staying on budget and also easy ways to convert fast food/restaurant/pre-packaged meals into healthier, faster, and cheaper homemade versions. While we chat, I will demonstrate some easy things we love to eat here like a simple pasta, granola, muffins, maybe some salmon, and probably some chocolates. 

This series comes from my notes for the class.
Meal planning

  • There are many ways to do this ranging from very unstructured to militarily precise.
  • I prefer monthly and kept on a whiteboard in the kitchen.
  • Grocery shop so that all ingredients are available for all meals on list. That way the kids can pick from the list each day and then just erase their choice. Pretty low-tech, but it works for us.
  • I only plan one meal per day (actually less since some recipes make 8-12 servings so we use them several days), but make enough for leftovers and also always have ingredients for snacks and simple lunches on hand.

My typical meals:

Main dishes - in no particular order and without sides listed
(number of meals recipe makes--name of meal--times I will make in the month)

2 Chicken pot pie X2
2 Chicken and dumplings
1 Steak and potatoes
2 Spaghetti
1 Meatball subs
1 Lentil loaf
2 Chili
2 Tomato and bean pasta
2 Chicken alfredo
1 Potato salsa chicken X2
1 Frittata
1 Salmon nuggets
1 Salmon
1 Fried shrimp
2 Vegetable bean pasta
2 Chicken and veg pasta
2 Chicken curry
2 White bean chk chili
2 Jambalaya

My  snack list (some homemade, some store bought)

Chips – pita, tortilla
Peanut butter
Trail mix
Bean dip
Pumpkin muffins

So this is what we would eat in a typical month if we all ate at home the entire month.  I comfortably claim that this amount of food will feed a family of two adults and two any age kids. In practice, we don't all five eat here all three meals everyday. 

Factors in our budget:

  • We usually go out to eat once or twice, That usually (but not always) comes from the household budget, not the grocery budget. 
  • Sometimes Paige has the neighbor girls over to eat, so we feed 1-3 extra a few meals a month.
  • Usually Levi eats breakfast at his dad's and they eat dinner there a couple times a week.
  • Levi packs his lunch for school everyday from our leftovers.
  • We do feed Abby (15 months old) every week day and even though toddlers don't eat an adult-size serving, they throw almost as much as they eat on the floor!
  • Doug often eats one or even two meals a day at work. 
  • The kicker, though, and why I am confident almost any family can feel full is - me. I am a relatively small person, but I EAT. Like an impressive and embarrassing amount and I am here all day every day.
Stay tuned for the next posts that will include the actual grocery list and recipes!


Lindsey Willow said...

I am sharing these! Thank you for sharing your expertise!!!

Kolbi said...

You are so welcome, I hope they help!