I have been budgeting for food the exact same way for the past four and a half years. I make a meal plan out for a month, shop for all of the meat and non-perishables and some veggies at one shopping trip. Then I have to go back a few times for dairy/bread/veggies. On the next paycheck of the month, I get whatever we’ve run out of (breakfast foods, toiletries, etc.). Rarely do I need meat on that next paycheck, but I do restock on household items, and of course, dairy/bread/veggies.
Ever since I started “Made to Crave” and decided to eat more healthfully, I’ve been completely confused with how to budget my money for food purchases. I have no clue what I’m doing! I feel like I’m totally starting over. New recipes, new dinner plans, new budget.
How do I do this budgeting thing?!? I definitely increased my food budget, as the bread I was buying costs considerably less than the veggies I’ve switched to. I think this was the hardest part of my transition. I like my carbs. In fact, before this journey I couldn’t imagine a meal without a bread and sometimes, a bread AND a starchy side. I still have a hard time accepting that chicken with a side of mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, and dinner roll is bad for me. Sounds perfectly good to me! Oh, how we Southerners like our starches! I haven’t bought white bread in months and that was something I had as a staple… I used to think that white bread was a necessity in all good Southerner’s pantries. I do believe I’m a good Southerner but I am proud to say I’ve almost converted my entire family to whole-grain, whole-wheat bread. (And some whole wheat pasta, though I’m not really sure if it’s any more healthy… something just makes me think it is.)
Since starting this journey I have not made dinner rolls once. I made garlic toast (on wheat bread) once. I admitted that to you already. I’ve made white rice a few times for the family and have just not served it on my plate. It’s absolutely amazing that I have made the mental shift from thinking a complete and balanced meal MUST have bread/starches to having only a lean meat and veggies. Last night I made a great salmon recipe that I’ll repeat. I found it on Pinterest (shocker) and it was crazy simple. I’ve shared it at the bottom of this page.
My confusion lies in that I have no idea how to budget my money for this new lifestyle. Eating fresh things that go bad so quickly is putting a crimp in my Once-A-Month Cooking style. It’s frustrating me and I dread making my grocery list each time.
If you budget your food for this kind of meal planning (and are a NUT who uses cash like I do), what do you do? Do you go to the grocery store every four days to get the fresh things you need? I think that’s what I’m going to do. Plan my next 14 meals, divide my cash into four different “envelopes” and plan to shop every four days. GAG!
To make matters even more confusing, I really want to start buying all my produce on the economy (at the market or in German stores) but honestly, I’m still overwhelmed with my new menu to even consider that additional step. Might sound simple, but I’d have to do the whole “Euro” thing and I’m just not there yet. (Plus, I have a friend who is making this transition a step ahead of me and she’s going to find the best store to buy produce… then I’ll just copy her!)
Okay, that’s enough whining for today. I’m not feeing deprived or discouraged by eating this way, but I am finding that it’s harder to meal plan/budget/shop on this kind of diet. I know with some work I’ll find plenty of meals I can have frozen and ready, but at this point, I’m still trying to find new recipes that my whole family will like that will also fit my desires to eat well. For now, here’s what we had for dinner last night:
Foil Pack Salmon:
1 pack of salmon (with two pieces in it)
1 lemon, sliced into six circles
lemon juice (juice of another lemon or the stuff in the yellow and green bottle that is cheaper and I always have around)
salt, pepper, rosemary
Set two lengths of foil out on the counter that are large enough to wrap around the salmon and create a little miniature oven.
Set three slices of lemon on each.
Place a piece of salmon on each set of lemons.
Brush salmon with lemon juice.
Salt, pepper, and rosemary to taste.
Put a pat of butter on top.
Close foil around the food, like I said before, creating space for air to circulate over the top of the yumminess.
Bake at 325 for 25 minutes.
While that’s baking, slice any veggies you have on hand. I used red and yellow pepper, onion, squash, and zucchini squash. Sauté in olive oil, sprinkling in garlic powder, salt, pepper, and rosemary to taste. (We really like rosemary, though it’s totally optional for both the salmon and the veggies.)