Planning a menu this week was a bit stressful for me. My diet definitely needs improvement — I need more protein, whole grains, and greens. I decided to attempt to follow the Brewer diet this week to see if that gave me more energy.
Oh man. First, it’s a lot more food than I’m used to. And second, figuring out how to incorporate all of the food groups into a day was a bit tricky. It took me a few hours to get a week’s menu mapped out. Listed below are the dinners I came up with, but I didn’t want to list my breakfasts, lunches and snacks because it’s just too much to type out.
Once I put together my shopping list, I was frustrated when I realized the list would cost about 3x as much as what I usually spend at the grocery each week. I try to keep it at $50 or so, but my new list with tons of meat, produce and dairy would likely cost about $150. Great.
Another complication: I’m trying to stick with just using cash this month, just as an experiment to see if it would reduce my spending. As a result of my earlier purchases this month, I had $92 with which to buy groceries. Yes, I could have grabbed some money from our checking account. But I wanted to make this shopping trip work on my terms.
I went through the list again, this time eliminating pricey items that we didn’t really need. I cut string cheese, apricots, asparagus, sunflower seeds, and a few other nutritious but unnecessary items.
Shane and I ventured over to stores we hadn’t yet tried — Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods.
I was pleasantly surprised by some of the prices at Trader Joe’s. The food quality seemed to be reasonably healthy, and in many cases, foods were mostly natural and in some cases organic. We picked up some produce and a few canned goods, and spent about $20 there.
Whole Foods was just a few blocks away, so we decided to see what the fuss was all about. My goodness, that’s an expensive place to shop! I bought two boxes of tea — one red raspberry leaf tea, and another that had red raspberry leafs and other things that are supposedly good for pregnant women. Will it help? I don’t know, but I’m willing to give it a shot.
After that, we went home to drop off our purchases and went to Aldi.
Calculator in hand, Shane and I weaved our way through the aisles. Prices on some products had recently dropped (for example, a dozen eggs were $1.19, I believe) and I was happy to discover we would come in under budget.
We looped back through the store and added a few more items. I picked up a gallon of apple cider for $3.49, and Shane grabbed a jar of peanuts for $1.99.
I much prefer my usual method of menu shopping — making meals from things in my pantry, basing my purchases around sales and what sounds good, and using my budget as a guideline instead of a strict amount to follow. But, this week has shown me that with a bit of extra work, you can basically follow a nutritious diet and still stay within your budget.
Beef with broccoli and steamed rice (we had this last night — it was delicious and quick!)
Spinach quiche, whole grain bread
Baked chicken with rice, steamed carrots, whole grain bread
Salmon, peas, rice
Chicken noodle soup with extra veggies and beans, whole grain bread
Spaghetti and meat sauce with added veggies, side salad
Beef fillets, mashed potatoes, broccoli
Check out more menu plans at Orgjunkie!