Real Food Shopping & Game Plan

by lydia on October 27, 2012

I’ve been sharing my food budget, shopping and menu planning for the past couple of weeks with the idea in mind that it would be helpful for others to see it is indeed possible to eat real food even on a tight budget. You can read my original post here. If you are on a tight budget, please do not despair; it really is possible to eat healthfully. I hope I can inspire and encourage you with this series.

Food shopping: I hit 3 stores (Trader Joe’s, a produce market and Martindale’s Natural Health Food Store), got some meat from the farmer’s market along with my milk and egg delivery. I spent a total of $99.97

What I bought: 2 gallons raw grass fed milk, 2 dozen pastured eggs, 2 large heads organic cabbage, 5 lbs organic carrots, 2 heads cauliflower, 1 stalk broccoli, 7 1/2 lbs pastured chicken legs, 2 cans wild salmon, 1 lb organic butter, 1 package Applegate Farms roast beef, 1 package brown rice tortillas, 1 bag frozen organic green beans, 2 bunches parsley, 1 bag frozen mangoes (that was a splurge), 1 bag clementines, 1 onion, 1 head of garlic, organic cinnamon, Himalayan pink salt, mushrooms, organic mustard, organic canned pumpkin, frozen bell pepper strips, bacon ends, 1 bag of white rice pasta shells. Not Pictured: 1 beef soup bone. I am also being given some pears, some grain free granola and possibly some garden fresh turnips and radishes.

My game plan: I am working on using up mostly leftovers for two dinners (one random dinner with different items for everyone and then a meal of millet cakes with chicken and chicken gravy and some green beans). We will have beef vegetable soup with noodles one night. Tandoori chicken, roasted cauliflower, carrots/celery and dip possibly served with some kind of dessert for another meal. Then I am bravely going to make Peruvian Grilled Beef heart suggested by one of my readers, served with peppers and onions and a soaked quinoa pilaf. Stay tuned for my whole week and how I do it in an upcoming post next Friday!

The pumpkin I bought as a stock up item, as I still have one can in the cupboard. The reason I did not buy pumpkins to cut up and make my own is simply because I am overwhelmed as it is with all the work I have to do and I still have several buttercup squash from my dad’s garden to cut up and cook and store. I, honestly, love having a few convenience items on hand. Of course, I know fresh is better if you can get pumpkins and have the time to prepare them yourselves, by all means do it!

The canned salmon was also a just in case purchase and because I realized I did not have any seafood on the menu again. We will see if I get it into the menu this week or not. I bought the noodles to stretch over 3 meals. My boys don’t love soup unless it has pasta in it – ugh. So, I finally found some plain white rice pasta – this will help to stretch the soup further.

Increasing my budget: I am making big batches of soup to sell locally to increase my budget further for more wiggle room. I invested a small amount recently in making some soups, once I pay myself back and double the money to make more soup – I’ll get more supplies and then start setting the earnings aside for bulk food purchases. I have the ingredients set aside from my own food items so we don’t use them or get them mixed up. So far, I’ve made 2 big batches, one of Vegetable Beef and one Chicken Florentine.

My pantry: Last week I showed what I had on hand in my refrigerator, freezer and deep freeze, this week I’m digging through my pantry to list what I have on hand.

1 can coconut milk, 2 cans organic pumpkin, 2 cans minced clams, 2 cans sardines, 1 anchovies, 1 small can olives, 1 bag of rice noodles, 1 bag rice pasta shells, 1 pack rice paper wrappers, 1 pack nori sheets, 1 package gluten free ice cream cones, 2 cans chickpeas, 1 can mild chilis, 3 boxes of various teas, 3 lb jar of honey, 1 honey bear, then I have all the spices and condiments shown in these cabinets, too numerous to mention. So I do have a fair amount of things on hand, just not in large quantities. I also have 7 buttercup squash from my dad’s garden to cut up and prepare for storing soon.

Stay tuned, I’ll be sharing my week in review next Friday, along with how we fared during this hurricane we are supposed to be getting!

If you’re interested in using a meal planning service, I highly recommend Real Plans. I have been using them lately and they have been a true lifesaver. It’s a meal planning service that you can join (monthly or annually) and have access to their amazing database of recipes. Each week, they map out a meal plan for 5 breakfasts and 6 dinners and some extras to have on hand. It’s very customizable and user-friendly.


*Disclaimer: This blog post may contain Amazon and other affiliate links and should you purchase through them will not affect your price and all proceeds go towards the cost of maintaining this website. Thank you!


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charity dasenbrock October 27, 2012 at 2:11 pm

Food prices are sure cheaper in Pa. than in coastal California!! Off the top of my head, I think I would spend double buying what you bought.

Meagan October 27, 2012 at 4:30 pm

This is nice, but what part of the country are you in? There’s no way I could get all for under 100 dollars that in all the states Ive lived in, NH, CA, WA. You also have to factor in time in traffic, in the car, and how much gas it all takes..

Tammy October 28, 2012 at 8:09 am

I just started reading your site. Thanks for these great posts. I enjoy reading posts about how people are coping with real food in this tight economy. It\’s very difficult where I live in a small Texas town to buy local organic food without it breaking the bank.

Foy Update October 28, 2012 at 3:46 pm

I feel like this would be a more useful post if you put things in a bullet list format.

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