Lately, I've seen a few news segments citing the higher cost in buying fresh produce and healthy foods compared with processed, prepared, packaged, but far from healthy products. This caught my attention. Eating for health is... well, sort of my goal. I want my family (and myself!) to be healthy, but what I want most is to enjoy my food while feeling great about it's health and nutrition benefits.
We can watch every cooking show on the cable channels, read each new cooking magazine with eager determination, and lose an hour (or two!) on Pinterest boards, but if we can't afford the grocery bill to create all those wonderful meals - it's all a wash. So...is it possible to prepare healthy meals with fresh ingredients AND stick to a budget? Broads everywhere know the answer is YOUUUU BETCHA!
One issue I struggled with was meal-plan-cohesiveness. In other words, creating my weekly meal plan around my fresh ingredients on hand to avoid waste. (Who else has cringed in finding 'forgotten' half peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, tomato in the produce drawer??) Ouch! My *budget-conscience-mindset* engages in some pretty rough self-talk when I see I've been wasteful.
Here is a meal plan and shopping list that you can use in a pinch - especially for those busy weeks when you simply haven't had the time to plan a shopping list or meal plan - but your family keeps *getting hungry* anyway :).
*I shopped for these ingredients at a local Aldi market and prices/budget spending amounts are based on my receipt. I've listed only the necessary shopping list items. Add on what suits your budget and likes. At the end, see 'Bonus Smart-Broad-Budget Tips and Embellishments'.
Meals - (I will be posting recipes in individual posts)1. Tacos. Rice. Roasted veggies.
2. Spaghetti with meat sauce. Salad. Garlic bread.
3. Chicken noodle soup. Salad. Bread.
4. Chicken. Stuffing. Roasted Potato Medley. Cucumber Salad.
5. Johnny Marzetti. Colorful Salad Suprise.
6. Brown Sugar Tenderloin with Apples, Potato, and Sweet Potato.
Shopping ListTotal Cost: $59.61
taco seasoning packet
bag sweet potato
1 seedless cucumber
1 red, yellow or orange pepper
1 loaf wheat bread
1 jar spaghetti sauce
1 small package 8 oz grape tomato
1 lg sweet onion
1 lb elbow macaroni
1 package velveeta slices
1 bag brown sugar
1 orange juice
1 can tomato soup small
1 bottle salad dressing
1 bunch green leaf lettuce
1 small tub sour cream
Additional pantry items: salt, pepper, granulated garlic, olive oil, butter, poultry seasoning, sugar.
1. Add sliced apples with cinnamon and whipped cream to meal #6
2. Add cantaloupe to meal #1 - Ball melon, sprinkle with 1/2 tsp sugar and 1 tbsp water to soften and sweeten.
3. Grill PB&J sandwiches to 'sweeten-up' #3
4. Make Jello for dessert and top with whipped cream!
What's your favorite fresh ingredient to work into your weekly meal plan and what different ways do you use it?