Day 1 of $60.00 week.
Oatmeal Old Fashioned - one cup per person
- 2% milk - raisins
- sugar 3 tsp. - apple juice
- 1 hard or soft boiled egg.
1 grilled cheese sandwich or 1 bologna sandwich, 1 small apple
Carrot sticks, one glass of kool aid or iced tea
Spaghetti and turkey meatballs, Salad small with oil and vinegar dressing, garlic bread
Snack - homemade cookies make enough for the week of snacks and freeze
Milk for the kids and tea for the adults
Rice Krispy Cereal – Store brand with ½ of a banana – 2 % milk – 2 tsps. Sugar
Peanut butter and jelly sandwich, Raisins and celery sticks
Snack – Milk and cookies Milk for kids and tea for adults Cookies made
for the week homemade
Day 2 has about 6 servings of fruit and vegetables, plenty of fiber, protein, and carbs.
Breakfast – Cheese omelet – toast–
Lunch – Tuna sandwich with celery and onion to help stretch it.
Carrot sticks, Tea or Kool Aid
Dinner – Homemade baked beans with kielbasa or smoked sausage, or franks sliced in it
Lettuce wedges with homemade thousand island dressing. Leftover corn bread.
Snack - Popcorn with milk for kids and tea or lemonade kool aid for adults.
Day 3 has at least 5 or 6 vegetables/fruits, loads of fiber, loads of protein and great carbs.
Breakfast – pancakes with syrup –
of 2 % milk
Dinner – Chicken stew with potatoes, carrots, celery,
and onions, homemade biscuits, Jello salad with fruit cocktail.
Snack - homemade pretzels and Kool aid or tea
Day 4 has between 6 and 8 veg/fruits for the day and plenty of protein, fiber, and carbs.
Breakfast – Biscuits and turkey sausage gravy – small apple and
Lunch - Peanut butter and jelly sandwich, raisins, and iced tea or kool aid
Dinner – Vegetarian taco’s and leftover beans from day 3 Leftover Jello / fruit cocktail salad
Snack – Homemade pretzels reheated and dipped in butter and cinnamon sugar, Milk for kids
and tea or kool aid lemonade for adults
Day 5 has plenty of veg/fruits, protein, fiber, and carbs
Day 6 - Breakfast – biscuit sausage sandwich, apple sauce, milk
Lunch – cheese sandwiches with lettuce and thinly sliced tomatoes, tea or kool aid
Dinner – Mexican soup or Minestrone soup Homemade with Saltine crackers or buttered
garlic bread, Cabbage, carrot, raisin cole slaw homemade
Snack - saltine crackers with American cheese. Cut slices into cracker size pieces. Milk or kool aid or tea.
Day 6 has plenty of vegetables/fruit, protein, fiber, and carbs.
Day 7 -
Breakfast - Oatmeal with brown sugar and cinnamon homemade applesauce and
Lunch – Egg Salad sandwich, carrot, celery and raisins. Tea or kool aid
Dinner - Rice and chicken casserole, Peas, and homemade bread pudding
Snack - Popcorn and Kool aid or milk
Day 7 has plenty of protein, 5 veg/fruits, and lots of fiber, and carbs.
If all of this was bought as inexpensively as possible such as store brand items, in bulk items and homemade it would be a very inexpensive, healthy, and filling menu for a day. The first week when
you start buying bulk will be more but it will average out to be approximately $8 a day when you stop buying convenience foods and junk foods. Do you only make cookies at Christmas and then you buy slice and bake cookies to make? That will change when you find your favorite recipes and make your own mixes to make cooking easier. I make a homemade slice and bake refrigerator dough that I bake
in my hot oven after baking a casserole or meat. It saves power and will give fresher cookies by only
baking when your oven was already hot.
This sample menu gets in your 5 fruits and vegetables a day, at least
family of four about $8 of their food money for that day. Of course I am assuming they buy their food at the least expensive store they can and use store brands as well as making homemade bread, meatballs and spaghetti sauce. Homemade salad from lettuce and carrots and croutons. Use frozen ground turkey for the meatballs with oatmeal and an egg as filler. The homemade cookies can be oatmeal cookies or simple sugar cookies for very little money.
Most of what is on this menu is bought in large enough sizes to be used for at least 2 weeks such as flour, rice krispies, oatmeal, peanut butter, popcorn, saltine crackers, rice and beans.
The meat such as frozen ground turkey will be bought on sale if possible or at least at the least expensive grocer you can find. Kielbasa, smoked sausage or franks will be a toss up on how much per serving they will cost you. I suggest buying whole milk and mixing it half and half with instant dried milk to stretch it and to make it 2%. Keep it cold and if you can make chocolate syrup to stir into it the kids will never know it is part instant.
Make all your breads homemade and you can buy
Yes this diet I propose has some sugar and white rice and white bread. As the shopper goes along they may be able to introduce some wheat flour into the family’s diet and brown rice. After
shopping for a few weeks and cooking from scratch and you start seeing savings in the food budget then add in some brown rice bought in
fruits as well. The ones listed here are less expensive and very healthy. When fall rolls around start serving more winter squash when the price is low like butternut or acorn. You can serve it as a side vegetable or in soups or in breads or sweet breads or muffins, you can also make a pie from it like pumpkin. When turkey goes on sale at Thanksgiving buy at least 2 turkeys and cook one at Thanksgiving, immediately after the meal start a turkey soup with the bones and skin left over, package any sliced turkey for sandwiches hot or cold, and save the bits and pieces for a turkey pot pie along with leftover vegetables, and potatoes and gravy. Freeze the other turkey and do the same things with variations for Christmas and the following week or two. Apples are much less expensive in the fall as well as pears. Raisins are good value but seem expensive when you buy them but they go a long ways. You only need an oz. of raisins to have a fruit serving. It is about the size of walnut in your hand. Nuts are good for you but expensive. If you can buy nuts on sale near Thanksgiving or Christmas then freeze them. You can take them out of the freezer as you are going to serve them. They make a great snack mixed with raisins. Walnuts are very good for you so you could pan roast a few to add to your salads to perk them up. Seafood is another item that can be expensive so you have to be watchful of sales. Often the frozen filets are your best bets. Flounder, perch, tilapia, and cod. Catfish is affordable if you like it. If you fish you can eat what you catch. If you have to buy fish then consider stretching it with a homemade stuffing made with diced apples and raisins, celery, cubed bread, onion, and lemon juice sprinkled over the fish and stuffing, bake it all in the oven and serve like you would any casserole.
When cooking with turkey instead of beef consider adding a beef bouillon cube or granules to your spaghetti sauce or chili and it will help the flavor. Also cut back on how much meat you put in dishes like spaghetti or chili. By making meatballs you can stretch them using your oatmeal, onions, egg and even some lentils if you have some cooked up. Make bread for sandwiches about every 4 days to make sure it stays fresh. Put it while still a little warm into a zip lock bag, or a cereal box wax paper bag that you save. They work great and keep the bread moist and tender. When you make corn bread
make enough for at least 2 meals to save on electricity. Wrap well and refrigerate to keep it fresh for later in the week. Biscuits can be done the same way. Leftover cornbread after serving it twice can
be crumbled and added to leftover sandwich bread to make your stuffing’s for chicken or fish meals. Stale biscuits you can rehydrate by adding a few drops of water and I mean just a few and steaming in the microwave for 30 seconds. Then use them as a base for sausage white gravy. When you make
sausage gravy use no more than about 2 patties worth to make it and save the rest for sausage biscuits on another morning.
If you hunt ask your butcher about saving you beef fat to add to your venison when you grind it. It will improve the flavor. Try not to use the fat of the deer because it tastes very gamey. If you like calves liver then try cooking the deer liver the same way. If you don’t like liver, heart, and kidneys
then still save them and grind them or chop them and stew them for your dogs. They will love it.
Usually when you buy fruits try to buy the fruit in a
apples or oranges. A small apple or orange is about all you will get most kids to eat without waste. Buy bananas close to the day of serving. They go bad fast. If they start to turn before you can use
them, then stick them in the freezer. The peels will turn black but the banana will be great for muffins, quick sweet bread or pancakes. Allow ½ a banana per person for cereal. A half of a banana is one serving. People get too generous with juice. Try measuring your juice out for the family. Juice is part of their nutritional requirement but it shouldn’t be drunk like water. It shoots the blood sugar up and then they will have a large sugar drop in 2 hours, that will make them feel bad and they will be hungry again. If you can get them to eat the fruit instead they will be much better off. Four ounces of juice is a serving which equals a small piece of fruit. If they still want something to drink then serve them their milk or water. Kids usually don’t drink enough water. Kids don’t really need a lot of milk but they should get 2 eight ounce glasses a day. Younger children should have at least 2% milk. There are vitamins that are in the fat that they need and they should be burning off the fat calories by playing outdoors.
If you can buy from a warehouse store then consider buying
package will last you for two to three weeks. You can serve it as cooked carrots for a vegetable, on the side, or you can put it in soups and stews, you can serve carrot sticks and carrot slaw either by itself or with cabbage. It is great added to salads and Jello. When you get home from shopping take out 4 carrots and wash and peel them. Then cut into sticks do the same with celery and put them into a container of water that you can seal. They will stay super crisp for serving with lunch and for snacks. If you don’t use them within 4 days then dice them and add them to a stir fry, salad or soup. Then start all over again. If you grow your own cucumbers then add them to your snacking items. If you can, make ranch dressing, that will make a great dip for kids who don’t want to eat them plain. If you have a garden make sure you plant the vegetables your kids love and feed them as often as possible. The nutrients in truly fresh vegetables build their immunity so that they won’t catch the fall colds, flu, and viruses. Warehouse stores like Sam’s are the cheapest place to buy bulk flour, rice, sugar, oils, and pastas. If you don’t have a membership then find a friend or relative who does and ask to tag along. You will need to take cash since you have to have a membership to buy foods yourself and they can’t buy foods with your debit card or check. I suggest you never buy groceries with a credit card because the interest you will pay will take away from your savings.
When you make your homemade breads make your white sandwich bread, make French bread for garlic toast, make sandwich rolls for Sloppy Joes, and your salad sandwiches such as egg salad, tuna salad, and chicken/turkey salad. It makes the sandwiches seem more filling and interesting to be on buns rather than ordinary bread. Save the bread for bologna, grilled cheese, peanut butter and jelly, toast and French toast. Make up your own pretzels and pizza dough as well. You will be pleasantly surprised how easy and delicious homemade pizza is and the pretzels as well.
Buy your poultry on sale only. The stores are always having sales on chicken drumsticks and thighs in
soup and cook till the noodles or veggies are done. Americans waste more food than most families
ever have to eat in other countries. We need to learn to use our food wisely and completely. Only discard inedible parts of food such as well used bones and fat. Remember your dogs will love well used beef soup bones but not chicken or turkey bones and not the cut chop bones etc. They
splinter and can harm your dog’s tummy or throat.
Simple foods can be like gourmet with some simple spices and herbs.
First off if you can grow your own herbs and preserve them it will save you a lot of money each year. Rosemary is a perennial and basil and parsley are easy annuals. You can also grow oregano and thyme. Chives can be grown on your windowsill. If you can buy Kosher or Sea salt it makes a big difference in flavor. Pepper cracked and ground fresh has more flavor, also nutmeg grated fresh is the best way to go.
The bare minimum for your spice cabinet is as follows; salt, pepper, basil, oregano, thyme, cinnamon, cumin, and chili powder. If you like curry then that is good as well, I always have turmeric, cloves, nutmeg, and allspice. But I could live without them. Last on my list but useful are rosemary, parsley, and cayenne. You may like or hate some of these herbs and spices. So you choose what you like to keep on hand. The Dollar Tree carries a fairly large selection of spices and
dinners and salads. I grow hot peppers in the summer and put them in vinegar and use the vinegar as my hot sauce. You can make some of your own condiments but I find that buying mustard is cheaper than making it and mayo/salad dressing and ketchup are items I would rather buy than make. Barbeque sauce is easily made though so you can make it or buy it on sale. Pickles
can be quite expensive so watch for sales or go to the dollar tree. If you grow cucumbers or are given some try making fresh refrigerator vinegar pickles. You slice the cucumbers; I peel mine, then slice an onion thinly and add both to a container that has a lid. Add salt, pepper, and vinegar leave for at least 1 or 2 days then serve. Vinegar pickles are very sour but delicious as a little side dish to heavier meals. Vinegar helps level out blood sugar levels so eating something like these fresh pickles will help with a starchy meal such as macaroni and cheese or a rice casserole.
Try to have themed nights to make your meals more
Mexican night – Vegetarian Chili and cornbread, Tacos or Taco Salad, or Enchilada Casserole
Italian night – Spaghetti and meatballs with garlic bread, Rotini casserole and brushetta, or Pizza
Chinese night – Stir fry and egg drop soup, or Fried Rice and garlic green beans
Breakfast for supper night – pancakes and sausage, Frittata and salad, or omelets with salsa
New Orleans Mardi gras night – Red Beans and Rice, cornbread, Jambalaya and Biscuits, or chicken creole
Down by the Sea Night – fish and stuffing casserole, Mackerel, salmon or tuna patties and macaroni and cheese, Manhatton Clam Chowder
Barbeque Night – Barbeque chicken or hot dogs and macaroni salad, Barbeque
Night in Paris – Quiche and Salad, or Beef
Vegetarian Night – Macaroni and Cheese, Stuffed Baked Potatoes, Lentil or Split
Potato Treet Casserole
Soup and sandwiches
Stewed Canned Corned Beef over rice or mashed potatoes
Lemon chicken drumsticks and yellow rice
Fricasseed chicken thighs and rice
Tuna Noodle Casserole
Chocolate or Vanilla Pudding
Homemade Quick Breads:
Potato Planks or wedges
Macaroni and Cheese
Dried Kidney Beans
Dried Chick Peas
Frozen Green Peas
Buy plenty of eggs which are inexpensive protein. Always have a good sized jar of peanut
Leftover pinto’s and rice can make refried beans for tacos
Leftover black beans can be used as an oil substitute in
Leftover spaghetti can make minestrone soup with all the
Leftover lentils and kidney beans as well as black beans can
Cook enough corn bread or muffins for 3 meals a week when
in plastic bag and store in fridge.
Make enough biscuits for at least 2 meals a week and while
Make 4 loaves of bread on the same day and keep 1 loaf out
Cook your beans for the week all at the same time and you
them instead of 3 hours each time you need them.
Plan your menu’s ahead. Shop for basics and then fill in with sale meats and change the
Chicken is on sale for thighs and drumsticks
drumsticks and Mac and Cheese, one night
will be baked garlic chicken thighs (one a piece) with homemade stuffing. One night will be Chicken and dumplings and
Any leftover chicken uncooked or cooked will be turned into
Pork roast that is on sale for 89 cents a lb. you buy a
3 meals. Cook the roast and serve thinly sliced roast one or two slices per person for a Sunday
rice, and lastly any other left over can be added to your homemade soup along
with other meats and vegetables left over from other meals.
Once a week cook 3 cups of rice. Store in plastic bag in fridge.
Prep your carrots and celery when you come home from the
which you should change daily and the rest should be prepped into chunks or
dices for meals and stored in baggies.
Have one big meal a week that is breakfast for supper, such
Unless ground beef is on sale for a very low price I find that it is an expensive meat to serve. If I can get it for approximatly a dollar a pound I will scarf it up but
and better for you.
I hope this article will give you ideas you can use and will
budget and still give your family nutritious foods and variety.