The Sunday Denver Post ran the article “Healthy Lessons,” about the cost of school lunches. Most of the article discusses the school lunch program. Some schools are now including salad bars, fresh fruit, and other healthy food options. A Big Nonna Hug to them! Regrettably, the article also reinforced the notion that preparing healthy foods at home is expensive. Interviewed were parents who stated that it wasn’t easy to prepare inexpensive healthy meals for their families. Bridget, a single mom of four, struggles with making healthy meals. She admits to using Hamburger Helper, even though the family doesn’t like it. She told the Post, “If you want a meal to be healthy, it takes time and money.”
Yes, preparing healthy meals may take a little time, especially in the beginning. It’s essential to shop for the best nutritional value and then have a resource of healthy easy-to-make recipes.
Nicole doubts I can purchase whole foods on a food budget of only $300 a month!
Whole foods, like fresh produce, whole grains, and dairy, satisfy hunger and pack a lot of nutrition into a few bites. Each calorie is nutrient-dense and packed with vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and essential amino and fatty acids. Whole foods take longer to digest, warding off food cravings between meals.
Last Spring, I talked with a group of parents from the Colorado Homeless Families in Jefferson County. These are parents who are attending school, receiving job training, and education to better care for their families. Most are temporarily on food stamps. Jefferson County allows a maximum of $298 a month for two people. It’s a sliding scale, larger families receive more and food stamps are adjusted to the family’s income. Also, it’s expected that each family will supplement their food stamps with their income.
For the purpose of my demonstration, I went to a Super WalMart to purchase two week’s groceries for two people. I used $300 as my monthly food budget. You’ll be happy to know that I purchased more than enough food for two people and I only purchased whole foods. Sometimes, I even purchased organic foods! I refused to purchase expensive processed junk foods, which don’t contain any nutrients. CLICK HERE to print off a FREE helpful grocery list.
This is how I spent my food budget for one week, $75. To economize larger size items were purchased with $25 of the next week’s food budget and used for the second week’s groceries. (I spent $100) . Prices reflect Spring 2008:
I shopped using the recipes found in Baby Bites for dinner which serve 4. I planned to freeze ½ for a second meal. Of course, I included items like flour for pancakes, oatmeal, and eggs for breakfast, lunch items and even food for snacking in my grocery shopping. CLICK HERE for Nonna’s Favorite Pancakes.
1) Spanish Rice & Beans, pg 121
2) Cheesy Salmon Casserole, pg 125
3) Spinach & Tomato Medley, pg 121
4) Lentil Pilaf, pg 128
5) Grilled chicken breasts, salad, lentils.
$34 Dairy, Poultry & Bread:
2.30 Butter, 1 pound
3.40* Organic eggs, 1 dozen ($1.63 less if not organic)
5.30* Organic milk, 1 gallon ($1.22 less if not organic)
2.50* Dannon plain yogurt
2.25 Mozzarella cheese, 8 ounces
4.00 Cheddar cheese, 16 ounces
3.55* Organic bread
10.00 3 lb.(6) Tyson chicken breasts without hormones & antibiotics
0.70 1 lb carrots
1.40 1 lb celery
1.85 2 green bell peppers
1.00 1 pound onions
4.40 Clemintine oranges, bag of 7
0.90 Frozen spinach
0.65 2 small tomatoes
2.70 4 pounds of bananas (8)
1.50 1 head lettuce
$11 Canned Goods:
3.30 2 cans 14 ounces salmon (1.65)
1.80 3 cans tomatoes (60 each)
1.30 2 cans black beans (60 each)
1.20 2 cans pinto beans
3.00 32 ounces organic chicken broth
1.20 2 cans of 6 ounce light tuna
This section is divided: $18 weekly
1.85 Red wine vinegar (or balsamic)
1.85 1 10 ounce jar green olives
3.00 Smuckers Strawberry Jelly 15 ounce, Low Sugar, No High Fructose Corn Syrup
1.70 Popping corn, 2 pounds
5.15 Extra virgin olive oil, 15 ounces
2.20 Best Foods mayo, 15 ounces, No High Fructose Corn Syrup
1.90 Applesauce, 3 pounds, No Sugars
1.80 Raisins, 1 pound
2.15 Wheat flour, 5 pounds
2.60 Smucker’s peanut butter, 1 pound, No Sugars
2.00 Rolled oats, 2 pounds, 10 ounces
2.50 Pace Salsa, 1 pound, No Sugars
0.75 Lentils, 1 pound
3.00 Brown rice, 28 ounces
.35 Baking Soda
.85 Baking Powder
Total Bill 100.00
-25.00 for 2nd week*
1 Week Total $75.00
for ordering information for Baby Bites: Transforming a Picky Eater into a Healthy Eater and The Forest Feast: Baby Bites Mealtime Adventures.