The Inspired Bloggers Network issued a challenge. Could I build a menu, including three meals and two snacks for each day, with only $25 per person for an entire week?
Why yes I can! Since August 2013 we have been eating a Paleo/Primal Diet on a $100 a week budget. The Paleo/Primal Diet consists of eating whole, real foods like meats, fowl, fish, eggs, healthy fats, vegetables and fruits. It eliminates grains, sugars, processed foods, processed oils and beans/legumes. I am on a Paleo Diet for the most part, but the rest of the family eats more of a Primal Diet. The Primal Diet allows you to eat more moderation foods like dairy, nuts, rice, etc. About once a month we do also eat black beans and sweet potatoes. Occasionally on very busy days the kids do eat grits, oatmeal and whole wheat bread.
|Image from Marks Daily Apple|
We decided to switch our diet for health reasons. My husband has type 1 diabetes and I have metabolic and hormone issues. Based upon research and my chiropractors recommendation we decided it was time for a change. I must admit I was very worried that we would not be able to commit to a healthier lifestyle due to our tight grocery budget. We have always had a tight budget and have never spent more than $300-$400 a month on groceries for our family of 4. Thanks to couponing I have always been able to stay under our budget. When we decided to make the change I realized that coupons were no longer an option, since the majority of them are for unhealthy, boxed, preservative filled foods. What was I to do? How could we eat healthy, spend $100 a week and not use coupons?
Well that's where my favorite Georgia grocery store and secret weapon come in.....ALDI's!
I realize that everyone may not have one of these awesome grocery stores near them so let me quickly tell you about Aldi's. Aldi's doesn't take coupons, makes you pay a quarter to get a shopping cart (which you get back when you return it to the cart corral), only takes debit cards or cash, doesn't offer grocery bags, only carries their own brand and carries a limited selection. Now I know you are probably thinking that this doesn't sound like a good grocery store to you...but by doing these things Aldi's is able to keep their grocery prices low. Aldi's even carries organic produce and their own line of organic grocery items called Simply Nature. They also offer a double guarantee, meaning if you are not satisfied with an item you can return it to get the product replaced PLUS get your money back! How many grocery stores offer that? Aldi's is rapidly expanding into more areas so be sure to check their store locator to see if there is a store near you!
So if you don't believe me here are 2 receipts to prove it. I shop for 2 weeks at a time and I generally purchase the same stuff during every trip. These receipts do include things like dish soap, napkins, paper plates, ziplock baggies etc so they are a little over $200 because of those items.
Curious what we purchase? Well here is our grocery list which you can print for FREE here or click the photo below. I have extra lines to write stuff in that we may need for special recipes, etc. This list is set up to follow our Aldi's store layout. For the packaged items (boxed, canned, bagged, etc) I pay close attention to the labels. If there are dyes, preservatives, GMO's, sugars, etc I buy the Simply Nature organic line or purchase it at another store.
**Note I don't always get all of this stuff on each trip. Things like spices, dressings, etc I may only purchase once a month, which leaves extra money to pick up something else.**
I do have 4 cheat sheets (breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner) that I keep on our refrigerator and in my phone that list ideas of what we can make out of the groceries we purchase. These are very helpful and since we purchase the same stuff during each grocery trip I never have to worry about meal planning. However there are times for dinner when I want to try something a little different. So I will simply do a Google search for recipes based upon what ingredients we have on hand. If the recipe turns out to be a good one I add it to our cheat sheet. This works well for me and I never run out of stuff before the 2 weeks is up. Be sure to check out some of the recipes I have posted on my blog.
Here are some of the items on my cheat sheets:
-Hard boiled eggs
-Turkey/Ham and cheese
-Sweet potato salad
-Zucchini and ground beef
-Chicken and veggies
-Ham and green beans
-Chicken noodle soup
-Chicken kale soup
-Meatloaf and veggies
-Honey dijon pork
-Chicken strips and veggies
-Dates with peanut butter
-Peanut butter no bake bars
-Veggies and fruit
Want to see how others do it? Check out more posts below.