Thursday, August 23, 2012
Eating Healthy Menu Planning Ideas on a Budget
When we say that we are eating or trying to eat better people say that must cost so much more money or they're not sure where to start or it doesn't matter- food is food.
Well, we believe all food was designed by the creator to be the same, man just got in the way and didn't make things much better. Where to start-- again, begin making small changes-- a few things here and there. Go from vegetable oil to coconut oil, white flour to whole wheat flor, and store bought to homemade.
Saving money-- okay-- I am going to tell you how and why this can be so easy and affordable. Our recent trip was some of our healthiest choices to date, I shopped for two weeks, and all for 170.74. AND thats for a family of five. Which, for each week, thats 85 dollars and 37 ish cents (its late-- forgive my math right now). Pretty dang good. I will probably go out for more fruit-- so lets say five more bucks a week and 90 dollars a week for five people-- still awesome! And I did this at Giant-- so very doable!
Here are what some of our meals look like--
Breakfast-- homemade wheat and berry muffins (http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2010/05/12/recipe-fruit-nut-or-berry-or-whatever-you-want-them-to-be-whole-wheat-muffins/), half a hard boiled egg, and some blackberries on the side. The kids also had some choc. almond milk too.
Lunch-- we either have some sort of sandwhich on homemade bread (I bought two bags of really good whole wheat flour and so far onebag has yielded 4 huge loaves of bread, 12 muffins, and some other small things-- a very well spent 4 dollars)-- the kids like PB&J-- we have found some really good no sugar added brands.
I like hummus, some tomato, spinach leaves, and some fresh mozzerella on mine. We also will probably have some egg salad as the bread goes a little stale next week :) Leftovers are also a lunch choice as are WW crackers and PB&J. On the side of our sandwhich we have some strawberry and kiwi fruit salad and some all natural chips (I told you-- these are my weakness!). Everything is portioned out and we have such a colorful display and it is very fulfilling.
For dinner-- here is what we had tonight. http://life-as-a-lofthouse.blogspot.com/2010/09/baked-sweet-and-sour-chicken-with-fried.html. I am not going to lie-- I love fried rice and if we had gone to wegmans where I happen to find theirs to have too many onions, it would have cost us around 40 dollars for the whole family-- this was 8 dollars for the whole kit and caboodle! score. I made the sweet and sour chicken too with two large chicken breasts and there were leftovers (read-- for lunch tomorrow). I also used a much healthier rice grain, honey instead of sugar for the sweet and sour and some other better choices then what you'd find out to eat.
Last night we had rice (hey-- rice is a great starch that can be done many ways and is healthy when you pick the right grain and a great way to strecth your budget), shrimp skewers (fresh shrimp that I had to peel) and some leftover tortillas from when we made them last week with cheese and spinach and cilantro.
So, if you want to save money and eat better here are some tips--
1. Make your own breads, tortillas, muffins, etc. The quality will be better and the quanity greater so you can stretch your dime and fill up on some yummier and healthier items. We are making homemade granola next week and for how much I paid for enough oats for many meals is less than what I'd pay for a puny bag in the health aisle.
2. When you get home from the store-- cut your fruit up, boil your eggs, make some muffins for the next day, etc.
3. Make a menu plan that fits your family and a budget and stick to it. Know what you are eating each meal.
4. use whats left in your pantry and freezer and incorporate these items into your meal plan if at all possible.
5. Make large batches when possible and freeze some extras. We defrosted some homemade naan bread for the day when I did grocery shopping and it was yummy and homemade and using what was already there.
6. Things like spinach are so healthy and can pop up all over in many meals.
7. Grow your own veggies and borrow from others. My parents had a huge basil crop-- I went down and picked as much as I could and have some nice homemade basil in my fridge and freezer :)
We're still navigating, but hoep this helps other people who dont know where to begin or think it will cost an arm and a leg. It won't- trust me!