Monday, May 21, 2012

original food menu plan #2 with a budget breakdown

Our original food diet meal plan for this week:

dinners:
day 1: black beans and quinoa
day 2: black bean "burritos" {blended beans, salsa, and rice in lettuce wraps}
day 3: raw zucchini pasta topped with avocado, lime, and tomatoes {recipe coming soon!}, rice, and salsa
day 4: east texas caviar in lettuce wraps {use leftover black beans)
day 5: raw lasagna {recipe very similar to this one} and baby carrots
day 6: dinner out
day 7: leftovers or asian veggies with tamari {wheat-free soy sauce}, orange, and ginger.

our standard Sam's Club cart!
lunches:
spaghetti squash {if I can get it at Walmart again!}
pinto beans and rice
cabbage salad with sunflower and flax seeds and hummus
roasted red potato wedges
quinoa
leftovers

breakfasts:
oatmeal
fruit
rice
grits
almond milk

snacks: 
natural peanut butter
apples
oranges
melons
carrots
nuts

real food doesn't have to be expensive...

After doing this diet for the past few weeks, I think the most common misconception about eating real food is that you have to spend more money to eat well.

I've actually spent less money on groceries than usual because I'm not buying two or three loaves of bread, chips for $3-4 per lb., or lunch meat for $3.50 lb. Instead, the bulk of our diet comes from some of the cheapest, most filling foods: beans, rice, potatoes, lettuce, carrots, and oats- most of which are less than $1.50 per lb.

Many of this week's dinners are planned around black beans. Black beans are generally around $1 per lb. dried, and we eat 1-1.5 lbs. per meal. I make 3 lbs. at a time in our large crockpot- which should be enough for all of this week's meals.

Rice, potatoes and iceberg lettuce (like black beans) are also inexpensive to purchase. The bulk of our meals will come from these items.

Squashes make frequent appearances throughout the week. I've found squash to be the most satisfying food for me, so I eat it for most lunches. It generally costs $1.25-$1.50 per lb. A large spaghetti squash will provide most of my lunches for the week, while the hubs and kids tend to prefer beans for their lunches.


The most expensive meals on the menu are the ones with avocados. I plan to use one on day 3, and one on day 5. That will cost me $2 alone this week {pricey, compared to a family-sized portion of beans for $1!}. Quinoa is $5 per lb. for the organic version we use, so that will cost around $2 each time we eat it.

Nuts are the only real luxury item we eat, ringing in at $5-$6 per lb. We eat about 1/2 lb. per week of these as snacks and salad toppers.

The kids still eat their regular pizza or sandwiches and chips when we go out to eat, but at home, we've started eating only fresh fruits, nuts, seeds, and veggies for snacks, which can actually get pricier when you give out 4 oranges or apples at a time. We spend way more on this than we used to. At our house, fruit used to be a luxury and crackers the norm, but we're trying to reverse that! :)


the budget breakdown 

Here's my shopping list for this week:

organic carrots {$4}
spaghetti squash {$4 for one large}
5 lbs. of Granny Smith apples {$5.95}
cilantro {.50}
green onions {$1.50}
red potatoes 5 lbs. {$5}
coleslaw mix {$3}
cherub tomatoes- {$5 worth lasts 1.5 -2 weeks}
watermelon, $5
bananas 6 lbs., {$3}
organic spinach, 1 lb. {$4}
avocados, {$2-$3}
2 quarts of almond milk {$7}
canned tomatoes {$3.84 for 7 lbs.}
zucchini and squash - 4 lbs. {$5ish}
natural peanut butter {$5}
limes {$1}
lettuce {$2/2}

I spent $130 last week buying groceries with a very similar menu and list, but stocking up on walnuts, almonds, quinoa, Starbucks coffee, spring water, basil, and lots of seeds that will last us for 2-3 weeks, so I expect that this week's bill will be much closer to $80- $85.

Phew. :D I've got the menu all planned...now I just need someone to come and do the shopping for me! ha!

So, I'm really curious- what do you spend the most money on when buying groceries? Meats? Breads? Organics? And do you try to balance out the pricey with the inexpensive when you eat? Please share with us! 
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