I’ve been thinking about something for the past few days.
Since we started having a $30 weekly grocery budget, I’ve found that I’ve been forcing myself to be more creative with my meal planning. I’m taking a closer look at everything in my pantry, and trying to put those ingredients together to make some sort of healthy dinner that won’t require me to buy a lot of extra stuff.
Whereas when we had a $75 weekly budget, I wasn’t as careful. I’d just buy whatever I wanted because hey, we’ve got the money. I didn’t have the sense of urgency like I do right now.
And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. We’re not supposed to live with constant fear that something could go wrong. But I think sometimes we get a little too comfortable, and that can come back to bite us. I definitely got comfortable with buying lots of luxury foods, and even throwing away lots of food because we couldn’t use it in time. Living on less forces you to be more careful with what you buy and how you use it, and I think that’s when your creativity comes alive.
I’m not saying that you should live every week worrying that you’ll suddenly lose your income; but perhaps we (myself included) could do well with being more mindful with what we’ve been given. And maybe it’ll open up our minds to possibilities- or in our case, meals- that we’ve never even thought of!
Now that my tangent’s over, back to the meal plan! I did become more creative this week from looking in our pantry and freezer, and I came up with meals I didn’t realize were in me. I’m super excited about the Breakfast Calzones I invented, and I’ll be sharing the recipe if it turns out well! I also bought a ton of eggs because at 48 cents a dozen, I can pack a lot of cheap protein in my meals.
As usual, here’s a disclaimer about my $30 weekly menus:
- I’ve lowered our grocery budget by choice. We’ve chosen not to pursue food assistance from the government.
- My pantry contains essentials such as rice, pasta, peanut butter, and baking items, as well as a little meat in the freezer. You may not be able to recreate this menu for $30 as I’m not exactly starting from scratch every week.
- I’m buying whole foods as much as possible- I won’t be perfect, but I’ll do what I can with the money we have.
- My menu may have more vegetarian meals, or just less meat in general- But I still aim to keep my diet high-protein due to my workouts, which is why you’ll see lots of Greek yogurt, eggs, and cottage cheese.
Entenmann’s Bakery outlet
2 packages Thomas Whole Wheat English muffins: $.50 each
1 Boboli whole wheat pizza crust: $.50
1 loaf Brownberry natural wheat bread: $.50
1 loaf Sara Lee honey wheat bread: $1.00
3 bags frozen veggies: $1.00 each
Cole slaw mix: $1.00
Sweet potatoes, 3-pound bag: $1.00
Coffee Mate Butter Pecan creamer: $1.79, marked down
Bananas, 3.26 pounds: $1.27
Green bell peppers: $1.59
Baking powder: $.99
3 dozen eggs: $.48 each
Cottage cheese: $1.79
Honey Nut Oats: $1.39
Woven wheat crackers: $1.19
Weekly Total: $38.25. Included in this is baked beans purchased from Kroger at the last minute. I used the last of my overage from last week.
Lunch is always leftovers. Items marked with an asterisk (*) were purchased in previous weeks.
Baked sweet potatoes topped with black beans* (From freezer) and salsa, frozen corn, fruit
Homemade pizza using the Boboli crust (Have sauce, cheese, and pepperoni in fridge), frozen veggies
BBQ chicken quesadillas* (Chicken and tortillas in freezer), roasted sweet potatoes
Egg Fried Rice (Adding the coleslaw mix and frozen broccoli from my freezer)
Breakfast calzones (Using my Bread Machine Pizza Dough and filling each one with a chopped sausage patty from my freezer, scrambled eggs, and shredded cheddar*), fruit
Small group- brought baked beans bought from the store
Peaches and Cream Baked Oatmeal (A dear friend gave us 10 huge peaches and I used some to make this!)
Banana Breakfast Bars (Used two really ripe bananas; may possibly stick these in the freezer for snacks)
What’s on your menu this week? Share in the comments below!
Jaime is a Nutrition Coach and professional writer. She enjoys cooking easy meals, running, and learning more about food.
Jaime specializes in helping women with ADHD learn to meal plan and cook healthier meals without getting overwhelmed.