Week 4: Menu & Receipt

As you see, our weeks are not set in stone. If we go out of order, I like to cross off a meal so we know what we're dealing with. My husband appreciates variety so I try to mix up my proteins throughout the week. I, on the other hand, could eat the same thing all day until it was gone. Leftovers are my jam.

As you see, our weeks are not set in stone. If we go out-of-order, I like to cross off a meal so we know what we’re dealing with. My husband appreciates variety so I try to mix up my proteins throughout the week. I, on the other hand, could eat the same thing all day until it was gone. Leftovers are my jam.

IT’S BACK.

The past few weeks have been hectic as I am knee-deep in a new career. After being in school all day for 12 months my routine of leftover lunches has now become leftover dinners because I typically work in the evenings. My family is left to fend for themselves (with the help of my menu planning and preparation, mind you) while I work 3-5 evenings each week. My house hasn’t been this organized in a year and we’ve been checking off the Pinterest ‘to do‘ list at lightning speed. Life is good. My weekly shopping trip, however, has been chopped into spurts.

I don’t mind shopping in spurts, but I received a lot of positive feedback on the weekly menu & receipt posts so my intention has been to continue doing a weekly $100 grocery trip and meal plan (you know, to keep myself busy) so, HERE I AM.

I put a few things back this week, like a 2nd box of k-cups ($5.99), in order to afford a few treats. I also decided against the organic butter (4.29) because we have some butter in the house and my sister recently picked us up 2 jars of Trader Joes Coconut Oil, which I have been using more of recently.

  • Budget: $100
  • Meal Plan: 1 week
  • Final purchase: $92.61

Eating As A Family on a Tight Budget

During my hiatus, I will note, we were not living it up, it was quite the contrary as a matter of fact. My girlfriend, Jodi, recently asked “Without pasta or a starchy filler is it difficult to stretch (a dollar)?” and my immediate answer was “no”. We maintain our eating habits, as much as possible because we are committed to health. It’s almost better for us to spend our money elsewhere 😉 We (/I) are nowhere near perfect. Paleo is the goal and we live as close to it as we can. Sometimes, we don’t want to. 🙂

1. Snack less; It is a privilege, not a right

2. Pack meals with protein – no counting calories or controlling portions (within reason). EAT.

3. Cook with coconut oil instead of butter – it adds more fat to our lessened amount of food. Fat = energy and we all need energy to keep our brains and bodies working well.

4. Use more eggs – added protein and fat for a good price

5. Drink (even more) water.

6. GET BUSY and/or NAP – our bodies work best in these conditions

WHEW, Treats! There was a new brand of nonGMO cereal I decided to throw in for the kids, a bag of potato chips, flavored coffee, crackers & cheese and a sack of ENJOY chocolate chips. PRIVILEGE.

WHEW, Treats! There was a new brand of nonGMO cereal I decided to throw in for the kids, a bag of potato chips for the husband, flavored coffee for me, crackers & cheese…for me, and a sack of ENJOY chocolate chips for all of us. PRIVILEGE.

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Lifestyle Change & Frugality

Do you have a healthy living resolution for 2012? Emptying your cupboards into the trashcan followed by a race to the grocery store to fill your house with ‘healthy’ replacements can be exhilarating. However, this is not the way to start a new lifestyle and could cost you hundreds of dollars. Keep all aspects of wellness in mind and communicate with your partner, decide who is committing to this change. Is this a “you” thing or is this a family thing? Everyone must choose this for them self in order for it to stick.

When I began my journey a year ago, it was a very ME thing. I knew I could influence my children’s diet, but my husband’s was a different story and he was certain there was no Paleo in his future. I could have thrown my hands in the air and blamed someone else for my quick defeat, but I was choosing change. I had read too much evidence on how the Paleo diet can restore your body to health and prevent modern disease to quit on someone else’s accord. So, I never trashed the cookies and pretzels. I simply stopped buying it. My husband will buy items I categorize as ‘junk’ but rarely asks me to buy them for him. He respects my choice, as I respect his.

If it is, in fact, a household decision then TRASH AWAY! What a glorious day that would be. Check your fridge for leftover grain and sugars of your recent holidays, then to the cupboard, the mecca of JUNK. Someone living the Paleo lifestyle has very little inside their cupboard. (I’d like to use mine for appliance storage.) Aside from some nuts, perhaps a small baking section of almond flour, dark cocoa powder, molasses, honey, maybe some dark chocolate (high in cacao), I’m blanking on what else I eat from the cupboard. Clean it out, make it pretty, and store your extra serving dishes inside so you’re not tempted to restock.

The next step is the fun part, at least for me. I’m a grocery store, market, local farm junkie. I love food shopping and this is a major plus considering my next piece of advice is: Shop every 2 or 3 days and only buy items you will eat in 2 or 3 days – you’ll get better as time goes on. A slow start will help form a new habit which is more likely to stick. Paleo essentially means protein and plants. You want food to be fresh (and preferably on sale). You also don’t want to spend your entire grocery budget in the first week, so pace yourself. Create a tentative meal plan based on either what’s in your fridge or what’s on sale this week, use leftovers creatively and start eating them for breakfast, too.

Our taste buds are overwhelmed by the standard American way of eating. Once you have cleaned up your plate and taken out the chemicals and processing, you’ll start tasting food again. Real food. Salt and pepper and common spices are all you need to make a delicious roast. The natural flavorings of a roasted carrot or fresh cucumber are satisfying again. Cooking isn’t complicated so don’t over think it. And remember, it takes time for your body to purge it’s cravings and release old habits. Choose healthy and clean as often as possible. If you choose unhealthy, have a bite and move on, you’ll lose your taste for it over time. Until then don’t let it defeat you. Choose better at each next opportunity.

      Sample

   Monday – BREAKFAST: eggs & uncured bacon (maybe add some fruit for the kids); LUNCH: salad with chicken, hardboiled eggs and some crumbled bacon from bfast; DINNER: hamburgers, sweet potato fries, side salad

Tuesday – BREAKFAST:  omelet with a mix of your faves (mine are peppers and onions); LUNCH: leftover burger on lettuce, hardboiled egg; DINNER: roasted chicken, roasted veggies with salt and pepper (when finished with dinner, put the remaining chicken into the crock pot, fill with water, some spices and cook overnight to make your own broth)

Wednesday – BREAKFAST:  hardboiled eggs and leftover chicken; LUNCH: nitrate free Deli Turkey on a salad or rolled up with cucumber inside; DINNER: hearty chicken soup in the crock pot with the broth from last night’s dinner – get creative with big chunks of carrots (not baby carrots, real carrots), onions, celery, red pepper, throw a jalapeno or three in there, some herbs. YUM.

You can also eat soup for lunch the next day, turn leftover ground beef into meatballs with some shredded veggies for a lunch or dinner, and eggs & bacon make for a great meal any time of day!

Buy ONLY what you will need and stretch it as far as possible, use the entire animal and buy on sale:

  •  eggs
  • uncured bacon
  • large tub of mixed greens
  • chicken breast
  • ground beef
  • sweet potatoes
  • peppers, onion, cucumbers, carrots
  • whole chicken
  • nitrate free Turkey
  • jalapeno