Eat HEALTHY on a budget.
Three years ago, I took on the task of our family's budget, and I was shocked by how much we were spending on groceries. Adding up the totals for the month, Giant Eagle was getting about a thousand dollars of our hard earned money. Not cool. At all. So, I decided to use coupons when I could and go to Aldi for the majority of our food. Right away, I got that total down to about $700 a month. Yay me.
I was really proud of myself for learning how to save some of our money. We lived that way for awhile and then I started learning more about reading labels and the importance of that. Again, I was shocked but this time it was over how many fat and sugar grams we were consuming. I needed to find a way to strike a balance between saving money and eating healthy.
Enter Meal Planning which I discussed in more detail in a prior blog post. I started to buy my groceries according to what my family would eat each week. And I started to pay more attention to prices and how they fluctuate. I buy when a price is low and can be combined with a coupon. I plan out what we will eat based on the sales and utilize the Farmer's Markets around the area whenever possible. And we are finally down to about $500 a month in groceries. For a family of 5. Not bad, eh?
For this blog post, I decided I would share one of my favorite budget friendly meals that will feed a family of my size, keeping in mind that my younger two don't eat much so this is probably the equivalent of 4 people.
1 pound of Nature's Basket Chicken tenderloins, cut into 1 inch pieces and cooked with Pam Olive Oil spray in a pan. In a separate pan, I sauteed broccoli, baby carrots, 1 oz green pepper, .5 oz red pepper, 1 oz yellow pepper, and 1/2 cup of Glen Muir Organic Fire Roasted Tomatoes in 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil. I sprinkled in some dried basil and rosemary for a little extra flavor. I'm not usually a fan of boxed potatoes but I got such a great deal on these Betty Crocker garlic mashed potatoes that I couldn't resist. I served this with 1 individual size of Giant Eagle's health diced pears in juice.
The chicken (which is organic and 99% fat free) was on sale for $4.99/ lb. $5.00
The peppers were bought at Aldi. They have a pack of red, green, and yellow peppers for 99 cents and I didn't even use a full one of each. $0.50
The baby carrots were on sale for $2.00 a bag and I used 1/8 of the bag. $0.25
The Glen Muir tomatoes were on sale for $2.00 a can and I had a coupon which then doubled making it $1.00 a can. I used 1/4 of the can. $0.25
For the pears, I bought the individual servings because it's a lot easier to take them to the park or on an outing (would be even less expensive if you bought a large can). $2.00
The potatoes were on sale for $1.00 a box (which contains 2 packets) and I had a coupon for $1.00 off when you buy 2 boxes, so each packet ended up being so cheap. $0.25
For $8.25, I fed my entire family a wonderful dinner!
Calorie count per plate was 429 calories.
Feeding a family on a budget is much easier than I originally thought it would be and my only wish now is that I had started this sooner...