A few weeks ago I was trying to find budget meals for an entire month. I googled weekly budget meals, monthly budget meals, and so on and so forth. Every meal plan I stumbled upon had at least 4 meals that either didn’t look appealing to me, or just simply would not go over well in my family. Salads are nice, and can be made into meals, but not for less than $2/person. Consider the cost of just iceburg lettuce (the kind everyone says has no nutritional value) at $1.50/head. Then what is your cost for your “additions” that top your salad?
Yes, salads are healthy and refreshing, and so many people are obsessing about obesity. But I beg to differ, so hear me out.
I was raised on meat and potatoes. Period! I ate a lot of cakes, cookies, ice cream…sweets. Never once was I called fat or obese. As a child in the summer, I swam everyday in the community public pool, and not the pools of today’s generation, filled with countless water slides, 1 diving board, a wading pool, and no real room to actually “swim.” As a child some 40 odd years ago, we had to actually get up and make our own entertainment, I walked just about everywhere I went.
I get tired of the world blaming food for obese children. The real problem lies in this new idea of staying idol. We don’t “move” anymore. Kids are lazy, and so are most parents. They have come to rely on fast food fixes after a long day of work, rather than trying to find ways to be creative with their meals, like using crock pots.
I’ve often observed that fast food has also gotten a bad rap, but they are offering incredibly inexpensive ways to feed a family, and most people can’t resist that urge. I admit, we don’t usually eat out at fast food restaurants, and when we do, it’s usually a major treat and/or event. The $1 menu is an amazing invention by marketing people to lure you into the depths of fast food fantasyland. Most parents on a very tight budget find that irresistable. I’m not blaming fast food joints. I’m blaming parents who don’t make the efforts. Those types of places should be there for “entertainment.” As a way to say, “Hey kids, let’s get out of the house and do something different!” It should never become the norm, and those places should not be our family’s personal chefs.
So most people who will land on my 31 Budget Meals will discover that most of my meals consist of meat and potatoes. You can look at my grocery list and you won’t find much fresh produce for one reason: we can’t afford to eat too much fresh produce for a well-rounded meal for only $40 a week. Produce is incredibly expensive, and you don’t get a lot of bang for your buck. Keep in mind, we are not talking $10 meals. We are talking $5.71 meals. That’s half the price of what most people consider a “budget meal.” Daily $10 meals is still an awful lot of money for people like us. $10 meals equates to $310 a month. My plan came to $160…a $150 savings!
As I mentioned in my 31 Budget Meals, I shop at GFS. For only $2.99 more, you can buy a huge bag of frozen veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, peas, mixed veggies, etc.). These frozen veggies, once cooked, taste just like fresh and will last MUCH longer than fresh. The shelf life of fresh veggies is not much longer than 5 days. These frozen, fresh-like veggies will last you a month, if not more, depending on your family size. For us, last month I bought 4 bags of veggies: broc, cauli, and 2 varieties of green beans. I still have some left. So if you find that my 31 Budget Meals is lacking on the fresh side, add $10 (TOTAL–not a week) to your budget by adding some of these frozen veggies and add them to the mix. With an extra $10, you now added 3 major veggies to your truly budget meals. Remember, shop GFS if you have a store near you. Frozen veggies at your local grocery store will cost you triple the cost for a quarter of the quantity.
I don’t know about you, but I’m a meat and potatoes kind of girl, and my family is, too. We like our meat. We like our potatoes–we actually LOVE our potatoes. We can get incredibly creative with those two items. Chicken, pork, ground beef, bulk pork and bacon. Add pasta to the mix, and you’ve got a variety of things to do. I always try to add a veggie to our meal, so don’t be discouraged if you don’t see any veggies in my 31 Budget Meals. The veggies I’m adding aren’t from this month’s budget, so I didn’t include them, but you can…and should.
Look, the meals I suggested are homestyle goodness. They are not hooty tooty, pretentiousness. We do not eat organic, or get froo-froo with our food. You know why? Because we can’t AFFORD to. We eat what’s cheap, but incredibly good. I feed my family real meals that will stick to their bones, and no one EVER complains…or becomes obese.