You might remember from a previous blog post that my goal is to spend $1 each on dinner, for both me and my son. In an average month, that's going to be $60.
Update: we are at the end of the month, and I have not yet managed it, but it's definitely still a priority. There's a book in the Healthy Meal Planning Bundle called Dinner for a Dollar, and I am reading it to help me do it.
What's your dinner or general meal-planning budget?
"To do this, look at your income against all your bills, and ask yourself this: Without making more money, reducing other expenses, or going into debt, how much money do you have available to spend on food? "
- Shelly Longenecker, Dinner for a Dollar
The Struggle is Real but the Commitment Continues
I admit that, in the past, I have been careless about spending money on food, even though we were eating or meals at home. Sometimes, I didn't do any meal planning for dinner at all, and just bought whatever seemed good at the time.
So when I decided to take a careful look at where I was throwing money away, dinner came to my attention. This is the one meal where my son and I are sure to sit down at the same time, and eat together.
So it's important. And maybe I wanted to fill it with love and joy.
But as a single mom, I have had to get serious about how to control my food budget, and it looks like I will need to squeeze my dinner budget the hardest.
The book, Dinner for a Dollar (DFAD), and the system that goes with it, are helping me see things more clearly, stay committed and figure out what to change.
In the Healthy Meal Planning bundle, which is where I got the book, there's also a budget-friendly meal planning ebook.
But to be honest, I wouldn't even take a look at that, until you have read DFAD. It walks you through the process of making the commitment, choosing your budget and making the changes.
Once you have done that, then you can get creative with your meal planning. The goal - and the book helps with this, too - is how to buy the best food and get it for the best prices.
Budget Meal Planning Progress
Last week, several of my meals were actually dinner for a $1.50. but this week, because of BOGO deals I bought last week, a couple of meals have been a dollar each. So I'm encouraged! I'm making progress.
I just need to keep it up and get that to happen for every dinner.
What's the hardest part of budget meal planning for you?
See you next time!
Confession is Good for the Soul
You may remember from my posts about meal planning here and here, that though I am not starting a diet this year, I do want to try healthier meals, and am hoping that by trying some new recipes, eating well will be more fun and not the boring same-old same-old. I intended to try at least one new recipe a week and tell you guys how it went.
I picked one out to try from the Healthy Meal Planning Bundle - Simple Vegetables and Rice Pilaf. But I forgot to look up the ingredients and when we got to the store, my son and I just shrugged. We ate rice, peas and parmesan cheese, instead.
It was good, though!
I think for next week's healthy eating, meal-planning post, I'm going to choose something for breakfast - or breakfast for dinner! ;)
What & How I Saved Money
This week, through a combination of meal planning and choosing what's on sale, I saved $10 on my grocery bill. I'm really pleased and hoping to add in coupons and save even more.
I've been reading that ebook from the Healthy Meal Planning Bundle, Dinner for a Dollar, and am really motivated to keep making changes. This week, I didn't get our meals down to a dollar per person, but they will be about $1.50 for each of us. No bad, right?
I did hit some resistance while I was in the store. I had some things on the list that I wanted to get on sale, but not only were some not on sale, when they were, it was not a brand I was willing to choose. So I switched plans right there in the store.
Hoping it gets easier and better as I go!
See you tomorrow!
Hey, beloveds! I hit a wall in a couple of different ways this past week, toward the end. I think going to from rest to daily blog posts in what felt like 60 seconds is taking more out of me than I expected. I believe I will take weekends off from now on. The other wall was about this month's blog plan. I had an outline planned for each week & when I looked at it to start this post, I thought "meh." So I now have a plan for this week only, which is to tell you more about what I intend for my year, and then, maybe share how each part might benefit you.
A Break from the Routine
Confession: in many ways, I actually like routines. I get up in the morning and have a cup of tea. After we eat, my son and I do homeschooling. I read for a bit when we finish, and then, sit myself in front of my laptop.
But, as I said last week, our meal routines are boring us both. Our food budget is limited, so there are some meals that are both easy and cheap that we will keep out of necessity. But if I can add some excitement every other day or so, that will help tremendously to make dinner - and possibly, even breakfast & lunch - much less boring.
In order to do that, though, I need to create our meal plans in advance, and not just with an eye to honoring the budget. And, as I mentioned, I'd like to add some health without displeasure.
My Meal Planning Solution
Last week, I mentioned that I purchased the Healthy Meal Planning Bundle.
With over 1000 recipes and tons of meal planning help, I am sure I will have what I need to start our meal planning adventure.
I put off digging into it, though, until this weekend, since last week's meals were already taken care of, and am just beginning to look through it now. I like broccoli, and a doctor once told me it's so good for you, we should it all be eating it every day (every day?? Probably not), so I wanted to find a couple of meal ideas with broccoli in them first.
Dinner for a Dollar
My budget is LOW, so the first thing I started reading in the bundle was Dinner for a Dollar. It starts with the author's story about a child with food allergies, and how they were convinced that planning meals around that had to be expensive, so it was. Then, she slashed their budget and got it down to dinner for a dollar per person (they are a family of 6). I recommend checking out her advice on how to reduce your grocery spending if your family is on a budget, too. I love what she says about not wasting money on "the food of good intentions." LOL!
Vegetarian Meals + Salads and Sides
If you’re the type of vegetarian eater who loves big flavors and
Gotta admit I struck gold here, because most of these meals are easy to make for myself and my son can add meat to his. Do you remember what I said last week about salads? But the Sides part was awesome. I'm looking at these, so far...
Broccoli with Garlic Lime Butter
Deeply Flavorful Baked Sweet Potato
Simple Vegetables and Rice Pilaf
Slow Cooker Crockpot Baked Potatoes
Garlic Parmesan Roasted Vegetables
Simple Potato Salad
I think potato salad might be tricky for me - I tried it once and it wasn't quite right. I'm kind of picky about tastes, but I guess I'll try again, and see how it goes.
Have you ever made quiche? And if so, will you tell me the secret? :)
My son is not as in love with soups as I am during fall and winter, but he can be appeased by adding meat to his, draining out a bit of the liquid, and calling it stew. Soups are comforting to me, and I'd like to have a big bowl with a roll on the side at least a couple of times a week. Like these...
Cheesy Cream of Broccoli Soup
Fully Loaded Baked Potato Soup
5-Ingredient Broccoli Cheese Soup
Chunky Cheese and Vegetable Soup
Poor Man's Potato Soup
Roasted Vegetable Soup
Spicy Tortilla Soup
There's a recipe called "The Easiest Bread You Will Ever Make" that can go with these soups. And I haven't included the meat dinner recipes or soups, but there are tons of them. My son will be interested in the beef, hamburger and chicken ones.
Which soups do you like?
Breakfast for Dinner
About once a week or so, we eat breakfast for dinner, usually on the weekends. My son tells me he'd eat cereal all day long if I'd let him. But we have fun with breakfast for dinner, so I thought I'd look for a few different recipes we can try. The Breakfast book has 147 pages of recipes. I don't need that many, but I do want to try some of them - they all seem so yummy...
Baked French Toast
Breakfast Fried Rice
Easy Breakfast Quiche
Egg and Broccoli Muffins
Freezer Friendly Thick & Fluffy Waffles
Hearty Breakfast Casserole
Loaded Breakfast Biscuits
Kid-Friendly Sweet Potato Breakfast Bake
Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole
Vanilla-Spiked Protein Pancakes
I have to admit that these might be the recipes I am most excited to try. Do you ever eat breakfast for dinner?
I'd like to try the protein pancakes for breakfast sometime.
I love quiche and there were several recipes for it, but I have never tried to make it myself. There's a restaurant here that serves it for breakfast and it's delicious. Perhaps, I'll give it a try at home.
Have you ever made quiche?
The Healthy Meal Planning Bundle
If you'd like to try any of these recipes, yourself, they are all available in the Healthy Meal Planning Bundle.
I bought it and joined as an affiliate, so if you buy it through one of my links, I will get a bit more to add to my "no more boring meals" budget. :)
See you tomorrow!
It's the beginning of a new year. Have you decided on a diet yet? I think it's in the air we breathe. The ball drops, and we decide what we're going to do, or not do, about food. What did you decide?
I have been overweight almost all of my life. And I have probably tried almost all the diets out there. Even the 4-day weird one with the hot dogs, cottage cheese, beets and the weekend of pleasure eating.
For a long time, I thought each new diet, sometimes started by a three-day detox of fruit and vegetables, would be the last one.
I remember my favorite one. I joined the business opportunity and then, could not wait to get my hands on the diet program.
You took two supplements, twice a day and ate whatever you wanted. It worked because those supplements had cocoa beans and something else I can't remember. It was the answer to ephedra - it took away your appetite, but was much less likely to kill you.
Those supplements not only took away your appetite, but somehow, they also ate your fat. I lost the most I ever had at one time, and for the first time I could remember, I could buy shirts in medium sizes.
This was it, and maybe I would even keep going and lose even more.
Unfortunately, I got pregnant, and by the time I was ready to start again, that program no longer existed. Did I get out just in time?
I've tried a lot of diets during my son's life, too, and it took a while to realize that no matter what, I was always going to gain the weight back. Plus, more.
So I don't diet anymore. Even though my appetite increases every winter, just as the sunlight I need says goodbye until spring. Even though I crave carbohydrates, and sometimes gain weight as a result.
Because guess what! I don't gain as much weight when I don't diet. Last year, I actually lost weight while not dieting.
To eat or to diet? I find that eating works better!
2 Ways to Change What You're Eating that Work Better than Dieting
The Brewing Happiness website calls it the Self-Kindness Anti-Diet. And it starts with giving yourself back all those foods you think of as forbidden.
For me, it was cookies. And pizza. I often found myself eating far more of them than I intended, when they were available. So I thought it would be better to never eat them at home.
Maybe if I was out with friends, and everyone else wanted to order a pizza, or if I went to party and those cookies were just lying there on the table, I'd eat them. Because in my mind, their ability to harm me was limited.
But years ago, I heard about this thing called Intuitive Eating. What I read and heard suggested that if you stop thinking of a food you wanted as forbidden, you'd eat less of it. That thinking of it as forbidden meant you'd probably eat even more, because you'd tell yourself it was going to be the last time before that diet you planned to start.
The advice was to buy far more than you could eat in one sitting, so there would be visible evidence that there was more, if you wanted more. I tried that back then, but I was so immersed in diet culture that it felt wrong. Sure, I ate less of whatever it was, but I really shouldn't have it in the house in the first place, right?
In order to really give Intuitive Eating a try, you have to be willing to let go of the idea that you are one good diet away from the life you've dreamed of, and become convinced that dieting is the path to weight gain. Then, you have to work toward the belief that you can have whatever you want (you know, unless you're deathly allergic to it or it will cause your insides to explode.)
The intuitive part means trusting your body to find its way to your healthiest weight without dieting. And making it okay to eat the cookies whenever you want until that moment when you think, "wait a minute, these don't even taste good!" Or, it's fantastic, but it just stops whispering you name the way it used to do, telling you it would have you sooner or later.
The oomph goes out of the fight because you step aside.
I think I am gaining on it. I lost weight without trying this summer, and I don't feel the call of the wild anymore when it comes to food.
I still sometimes eat more cookies than my doctor would be happy with, but I'm not gaining weight. And I think my weight will take care of itself. Soon would be nice, but, whatever.
I'm in a Facebook support group for Intuitive Eating beginners. I've been at it for a year, but I still relate to a lot of what we talk about there. Here's the link, if you want more information:Intuitive Eating for Beginners.
Intuitive eating (or as I’d rather rename it – The Self Kindness Anti-Diet) is the state in which you are in tune enough with your body’s signals that you can understand what/when/how much your body needs to eat. This means you’re in touch with your signals for hunger and fullness (but not obsessively). It means that your body is telling you what it needs to eat in order to function best (and you are trusting it.) It means you find what is “normal eating” for your body. - Brewing Happiness
Add Healthier Food without Restricting
In the group I mentioned above, we often talk about how once the spell is broken, we get interested in healthier food. Especially if we have health conditions that inspire us.
And the same is true of me. I'm actually getting bored with eating the same things all the time, and decided I wanted to try some new recipes. I'd like to add more vegetables and soups to my meal plan, too, so would like recipes for them, as well.
My son loves to cook and does a lot of our cooking for dinner, but I love it best when we're in the kitchen together, working on a meal.
And I just found this healthy meal planning bundle the other day and bought it yesterday. It has over a 1000 recipes, so I doubt I will be bored for a while.
I became an affiliate for it, and if you're interested, you can check it out here.
The thing is, I want to think of eating healthier as kind of a fun adventure that I add to what I am eating already. Doing a complete switch and trying to get rid of anything that isn't considered healthy would not work for me.
But adding it on and having fun with it makes it easier. I think I'll attack the slow cooker soup recipe ebook first. My son is not so fond of soups, so we'll have to turn his into stews.
Okay, I'll admit I will be ignoring the salad recipes, because I just don't like them. The only way I have ever liked salads is if they were covered with meat, like chicken. And now that I am mostly vegetarian, there's no help for them. :)
Can't wait to check out the vegetarian recipes, though! They have all different kinds - paleo, whole30, keto, etc. Not for me, but there for anyone else who wants to try them. They also have a bunch of cookbooks, meal planners, among other things.
It's called the Healthy Meal Planning Bundle.
What kind of recipes would you like to try this year? And how do you handle all the diet info that pops up all around you at this time of year?
See you tomorrow!
lifestyle blogger, hygge hermit, author, follower of Jesus, certified spiritual director, bookworm, INFP, Enneagram 9-7-4, tea drinker and homeschool mom. This blog's mission is making mom life easier.
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