It's Sunday so for our family it's the day we have to come up with a meal plan for the week and figure out what we need to get from the grocery store... And some days I don't mind but most of the time I strongly dislike it (because hate is such a strong word... lol).
Many of you are like us and are on a budget---between buying food for the kids, trying to stay on a healthy meal plan, AND trying to stay within a budget, it can seem daunting. I mean, you start shopping around for organic broccoli and compare it to a box of poptarts and the broccoli is twice the price! How's a family supposed to stay on a budget with those kinds of odds?
Here are a few things that help us:
1. Plan out your full week: If we are following some sort of meal plan (for the past few weeks we are following the 21 Day Fix Meal Plan), we write out what we are doing for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. My wife and I usually follow a very similar meal plan (mine usually has more calories, such as an added snack), and then we write one out for the kids as well.
We then go through a figure out exactly what we'll need and how much for the week. This part may take some guessing and experimenting, so be patient with yourself as you go through this process. It may take a few weeks to get it tweaked out (and some produce just doesn't last very long so it requires a few extra trips to the store so you don't buy it, it goes bad, and you end up throwing it away anyways).
2. Make everything. If you are trying to save money, don't buy any prepackaged meals. It takes more time but if you make everything from scratch you'll be much better off in the money department. Where you end up paying is typically the manufacturing, processing, packaging of food. So if you end up getting things like protein bars or healthy cookies, you can SAVE A LOT by just Googling some recipes for those items and making them from scratch. The ingredients may cost more at first but you can make so much more than what you'd get from the store in a box.
Allison has a great protein bar recipe I'll have to her post but compared to buying a box of 5 or 6, which usually ranges from $5-7 at Walmart, she can make 18 to 20 for $3 or $4!
3. Eat in! I know eating out a few times per week is VERY CONVENIENT but you end up paying 3-4 times the price for just one meal! Yes it will take more time you'll know exactly what is in your meals, you make it exactly the way you want it, and once you get in the routine you can get your whole family involved and have some great family time as well.
You'd be surprised at what your kids want to help with (and for those that struggle with kids eating dinner or trying healthy foods, with our kids it for some reason helps if they participate in cooking and making dinner! I don't exactly know why but for us it works so it's worth a shot!).
So give your kids (and even significant other if they usually avoid the kitchen) a chance and get them in there with you cooking up meals.
want a simple way of cleaning up your nutrition without counting calories and cutting out all of the processed foods without spending a ton of money each week? click here!