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Meal Planning Meal Planning

Planning on a short budget.. Help!

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Ok, so basically I've never really done a "meal plan" but I need to start. I have always just hit the store bought the "usual" stuff and if I wanted to make something specific make sure I had everything for it. I've been working with a very short grocery budget for awhile so that's not really the issue what is the issue is the doc wants me to go on this "diet". So now I need to plan meals which will mostly involve me cooking for everyone else then making something seperate for myself. I just have no idea how to plan meals and how to make a plan work with the little bit i have to work with. here's the specifics...

my meals need to be 500 cal 3 times a day and 1 snack of 150 cal, each meal 40-50 carbs and snack 15-30 carbs.

No allergies, some family pickiness (one child dislikes onions and mushrooms, another isn't fond of veggies other than green beans and corn sometimes broccoli and carrots) DF lived off processed microwavable crap his whole life until me so I try to mask veggies and fruits when I can and I have shown him that rice is yummy especially brown and wild rice.

The budget is about $30-$50 per week, 2 adults, 4 kids but the baby doesn't really "eat" yet not like our foods and wic covers her baby foods and most of her formula.

I have been trying to do this for the last 2 weeks and I'm so frustrated it's just not even funny. I have done numerous searches and come up with nothing helpful.

ETA: Ground beef is about all the meat I have to work with right now, we bought a cow a year ago. Getting low but have enough to get through the next couple months no prob. Also a couple steaks and soup bones but no roast left. I am being daring and bought 50 cornish cross chicks a week ago they were 99 cents each and at the end of May they are being butchered which will cost me $80 so after then I will have chicken. It's gotten too expensive to really buy in the store anymore and the last 2 times I bought it, it was near spoiled. I had 3 quarters in the fridge for 2 days and when I went to cook them they were totally rancid. We live in the country but the landlord won't let me have a garden. Don't know why there's freakin 10 acres here and plenty of room around the house for one.

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by on Apr. 13, 2012 at 1:01 PM
Replies (11-20):
michiganmom116
by Rhonda on Apr. 13, 2012 at 5:04 PM

Mmmm, watermelon rind pickles~!!!!!!!!!!!!!

yeah...not a fan of pigs' feet here, either.

Quoting Satan71:

That was our experience as a kid on the farm. I hope to do that again when we settle down for ever. We always used everything we could, right down to pickled watermelon rinds and pigs feet. I am so not a fan of the feet though. That won't be a tradition I carry on. LOL

Quoting michiganmom116:

Wow. I disagree with "gardening doesn't save us money."  Maybe I just do it differently...

I garden, I have done so for YEARS.  It's a huge money saver!  Yes, I use heirloom seeds, do a lot of the work myself, and I preserve everything we don't eat fresh, but it saves us at LEAST $1000 a year (at today's prices) with fresh chemical-free produce and home canned goods such as salsa, tomato juice & sauce, pickles, applesauce, veggies, fruits, etc.  I KNOW it does, because my DH challenged me to prove that it does save us money.  There are weeks during the summer that I can live off what is in our garden and what is in our freezer without having to buy many groceries if any.



michiganmom116
by Rhonda on Apr. 13, 2012 at 5:06 PM

I'm taking this to another post  :)  http://www.cafemom.com/group/112067/forums/read/16375894/S_O_gardening

Quoting Marti123:

Sorry to the OP to hi-jack your post for a moment :)

That is awesome you can save so much.

I think part of that might be the "years" part, start up costs can be huge! I am still, 4 years later waiting to break even, (and DH bought the watering system this year, so it won't be this year) lol!!




Quoting michiganmom116:

Wow. I disagree with "gardening doesn't save us money."  Maybe I just do it differently...

I garden, I have done so for YEARS.  It's a huge money saver!  Yes, I use heirloom seeds, do a lot of the work myself, and I preserve everything we don't eat fresh, but it saves us at LEAST $1000 a year (at today's prices) with fresh chemical-free produce and home canned goods such as salsa, tomato juice & sauce, pickles, applesauce, veggies, fruits, etc.  I KNOW it does, because my DH challenged me to prove that it does save us money.  There are weeks during the summer that I can live off what is in our garden and what is in our freezer without having to buy many groceries if any.



sweetktn
by on Apr. 13, 2012 at 11:41 PM

It's not so much really, 2 slices of bread is 28 carbs, 3/4 cup cooked rice is about 36 carbs, and 1 cup of mashed taters is 34. LOL I only know that cuz that's what my carbs were today. :) Oh, and sugar...tons of carbs in there.

Thank you for your suggestions, a lot of that is typical stuff that I make but I have realized that for me it won't work :( I would go over on carb soooo bad and that's one of the big things they want me to cut back on. And caffeine. I'm already having trouble with that. Dozing off doing my school work or cuddling with the kids. Nothin better than a smack in the face with a MOM lookit on TV!

Quoting michiganmom116:

DARN, that's a LOT of carbs!  I couldn't do it without gaining weight!

Use one of the steaks to make a beef & broccoli stir fry or a Spanish steak & rice, use another to make a stew.

Ground beef ideas:  porcupine meatballs in sauce, sweet & sour meatballs, sloppy joes, meatball mushroom stew, hamburger gravy over biscuits or mashed potatoes, salisbury steaks w/gravy, shepherds pie, beef pot pie topped with homemade biscuit crust

other ideas:  baked beans & hotdogs w/ or w/o cornbread or biscuits;  pigs in a blanket (hot dogs wrapped in breadstick or biscuit dough); cornbread muffins; chipped beef/tuna/pork sausage/diced eggs in white sauce over toast



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sweetktn
by on Apr. 13, 2012 at 11:49 PM

We have a slight advantage if I could get the landlord to let me put a garden in, he's got cows on the property which are strictly grass and hay fed (depending on season) so free fertilizer :) and I have stakes which for now will provide the fencing for the chickens once they get outside.

We actually have 3 deep freezers, 2 very large ones that a whole butchered cow will fit in (roughly 900 lbs) plus a little extra room on top and a smaller one that I'm sure all my chickens will fit in with extra room, it's a little over 1/2 the size of the other 2. Plus the freezer on the fridge is decent sized, I usually keep the open packages in there (veggies, fruits) Eggs we get a bit of and cereal, from WIC. Which really helps a ton plus they aren't that expensive. I love egg sandwiches, which is what breakfast was today and I'm planning on boiling some to keep handy for snacks. One thing I like is most spices have 0 everything in them so I can still make stuff taste good. :)

Quoting Marti123:

I agree with above, you should not need to cook separate meals. Poor thing, that is way too much work!

I will also say, and some might totally disagree, BUT we garden, it's a hobby, but saves us NO money. By the time I buy heirloom seeds or plants, water, fertilize, compost, stakes, cages, fence, etc. . . . It is cheaper just to buy all the surplus at the local farmers markets in the summer. so do not feel too broken up about that in my opinion. Do you have a deep freeze?

So ground beef, you can eat that, taco meat, sloppy joes, burgers mixed with beans for your family, but no beans for you. Do you do a dried bean night, that is super cheap, you will just have really watch your portion size. And can you get cheap eggs? Another cheap protein night there. I stick eggs on sandwiches and in pasta. Of course no pasta for you, just for the little ones.


sweetktn
by on Apr. 14, 2012 at 12:06 AM

Another nice thing if I could have one, we have well water so no water bill. :) Just need to buy 2 long hoses and those are about $10 a piece. I'm in a very rural area to farmers markets are around which I will def have to check out this year. But the down side is there isn't much selection or competition for grocery stores. The 2 closest stores are almost double walmart, which is about 12 miles away (only 4 miles farther that the other 2) and even they are getting insane. About 2 months ago I was paying over $4 per gallon for great value brand milk. A big box of rice is 2.70 and a box of macaroni noodles is 2.60 I remember when I lived in the cities I could get those for under 2. Don't even get me started on produce or meat there. Yuck. It takes forever to find something decent, and the nasty 80/20 ground beef is almost $4 per pound. The stuff we have is extra lean (95/5) and after paying for the cow and processing it worked out to be about $2-$3 per pound. That includes everything from a cow, we had a ton of Tbones, Rib steak, roast, ground beef, stew meat, everything. A nice tbone runs about $9/lb in the store. If you have a deep freeze and some extra money, go on craigslist and find someone that has a butcher cow that is willing to drop it off at the butcher for you. Ooooh it's so tasty.

Quoting Marti123:

Sorry to the OP to hi-jack your post for a moment :)

That is awesome you can save so much.

I think part of that might be the "years" part, start up costs can be huge! I am still, 4 years later waiting to break even, (and DH bought the watering system this year, so it won't be this year) lol!!




Quoting michiganmom116:

Wow. I disagree with "gardening doesn't save us money."  Maybe I just do it differently...

I garden, I have done so for YEARS.  It's a huge money saver!  Yes, I use heirloom seeds, do a lot of the work myself, and I preserve everything we don't eat fresh, but it saves us at LEAST $1000 a year (at today's prices) with fresh chemical-free produce and home canned goods such as salsa, tomato juice & sauce, pickles, applesauce, veggies, fruits, etc.  I KNOW it does, because my DH challenged me to prove that it does save us money.  There are weeks during the summer that I can live off what is in our garden and what is in our freezer without having to buy many groceries if any.



michiganmom116
by Rhonda on Apr. 14, 2012 at 7:10 AM

Well, I eat a low carb diet and so does my family.  I CAN'T have too many carbs.  I cut out all sugar, breads, cereal, pasta and legumes and have no trouble at all keeping my carb count down below 60g each day.  If you ate like I did you wouldn't have any trouble with going over your carb count. 

You want low carb meal ideas?  Let me know.  I wouldn't eat much of what I suggested in my previous answer, either.

Quoting sweetktn:

It's not so much really, 2 slices of bread is 28 carbs, 3/4 cup cooked rice is about 36 carbs, and 1 cup of mashed taters is 34. LOL I only know that cuz that's what my carbs were today. :) Oh, and sugar...tons of carbs in there.

Thank you for your suggestions, a lot of that is typical stuff that I make but I have realized that for me it won't work :( I would go over on carb soooo bad and that's one of the big things they want me to cut back on. And caffeine. I'm already having trouble with that. Dozing off doing my school work or cuddling with the kids. Nothin better than a smack in the face with a MOM lookit on TV!

Quoting michiganmom116:

DARN, that's a LOT of carbs!  I couldn't do it without gaining weight!

Use one of the steaks to make a beef & broccoli stir fry or a Spanish steak & rice, use another to make a stew.

Ground beef ideas:  porcupine meatballs in sauce, sweet & sour meatballs, sloppy joes, meatball mushroom stew, hamburger gravy over biscuits or mashed potatoes, salisbury steaks w/gravy, shepherds pie, beef pot pie topped with homemade biscuit crust

other ideas:  baked beans & hotdogs w/ or w/o cornbread or biscuits;  pigs in a blanket (hot dogs wrapped in breadstick or biscuit dough); cornbread muffins; chipped beef/tuna/pork sausage/diced eggs in white sauce over toast




jessicasmom1
by on Apr. 14, 2012 at 9:29 AM

we have a small yard here now, DD has a pool back there and a hammock so we share space ... 

the Farmers market start set up around May here and often can get cheaper than it costs me to grow it fruit and vegetables there. Don't get me wrong I LOVE to garden ... just low scaled it down this year, tomatoes, zucchinni, mild peppers, strawberries, going to plant some lettuce boxes , onions ....


Quoting michiganmom116:

Wow. I disagree with "gardening doesn't save us money."  Maybe I just do it differently...

I garden, I have done so for YEARS.  It's a huge money saver!  Yes, I use heirloom seeds, do a lot of the work myself, and I preserve everything we don't eat fresh, but it saves us at LEAST $1000 a year (at today's prices) with fresh chemical-free produce and home canned goods such as salsa, tomato juice & sauce, pickles, applesauce, veggies, fruits, etc.  I KNOW it does, because my DH challenged me to prove that it does save us money.  There are weeks during the summer that I can live off what is in our garden and what is in our freezer without having to buy many groceries if any.


sweetktn
by on Apr. 14, 2012 at 8:52 PM

I would LOVE some low-carb recipes. That's where I'm having such a hard time. Plus it doesn't help there is such a small budget to work with but DF is just starting to switch to a new job and things will be MUCH better then. :) For now tho, most of what I know is pasta, rice, bread, and carbs in general. My mom came from a very poor family and carbs were used to "stretch" everything else. One can of corn, one lb of hamburger, lots of pasta and some kind of sauce all in a pot, you could feed an army. I've finally learned (sort of) how to not cook for an army lol. Did ok yesterday and doing ok today so far. Can't figure out dinner though. The kids wanted cinnamon and sugar rice so that's what I made them but it's a super huge nono for me. I'll take whatever you have to offer. :) Thank you so much!

On a side note, low-carb would be a very good thing for me to learn how to do well since DF is native american he is more likely to get diabetes. Most of his family has/had it. His mom is having a hard time controlling hers and his father is boarderline right now. 

Quoting michiganmom116:

Well, I eat a low carb diet and so does my family.  I CAN'T have too many carbs.  I cut out all sugar, breads, cereal, pasta and legumes and have no trouble at all keeping my carb count down below 60g each day.  If you ate like I did you wouldn't have any trouble with going over your carb count. 

You want low carb meal ideas?  Let me know.  I wouldn't eat much of what I suggested in my previous answer, either.

Quoting sweetktn:

It's not so much really, 2 slices of bread is 28 carbs, 3/4 cup cooked rice is about 36 carbs, and 1 cup of mashed taters is 34. LOL I only know that cuz that's what my carbs were today. :) Oh, and sugar...tons of carbs in there.

Thank you for your suggestions, a lot of that is typical stuff that I make but I have realized that for me it won't work :( I would go over on carb soooo bad and that's one of the big things they want me to cut back on. And caffeine. I'm already having trouble with that. Dozing off doing my school work or cuddling with the kids. Nothin better than a smack in the face with a MOM lookit on TV!

Quoting michiganmom116:

DARN, that's a LOT of carbs!  I couldn't do it without gaining weight!

Use one of the steaks to make a beef & broccoli stir fry or a Spanish steak & rice, use another to make a stew.

Ground beef ideas:  porcupine meatballs in sauce, sweet & sour meatballs, sloppy joes, meatball mushroom stew, hamburger gravy over biscuits or mashed potatoes, salisbury steaks w/gravy, shepherds pie, beef pot pie topped with homemade biscuit crust

other ideas:  baked beans & hotdogs w/ or w/o cornbread or biscuits;  pigs in a blanket (hot dogs wrapped in breadstick or biscuit dough); cornbread muffins; chipped beef/tuna/pork sausage/diced eggs in white sauce over toast





michiganmom116
by Rhonda on Apr. 15, 2012 at 7:22 AM

Recipes coming up!

Quoting sweetktn:

I would LOVE some low-carb recipes. That's where I'm having such a hard time. Plus it doesn't help there is such a small budget to work with but DF is just starting to switch to a new job and things will be MUCH better then. :) For now tho, most of what I know is pasta, rice, bread, and carbs in general. My mom came from a very poor family and carbs were used to "stretch" everything else. One can of corn, one lb of hamburger, lots of pasta and some kind of sauce all in a pot, you could feed an army. I've finally learned (sort of) how to not cook for an army lol. Did ok yesterday and doing ok today so far. Can't figure out dinner though. The kids wanted cinnamon and sugar rice so that's what I made them but it's a super huge nono for me. I'll take whatever you have to offer. :) Thank you so much!

On a side note, low-carb would be a very good thing for me to learn how to do well since DF is native american he is more likely to get diabetes. Most of his family has/had it. His mom is having a hard time controlling hers and his father is boarderline right now. 

Quoting michiganmom116:

Well, I eat a low carb diet and so does my family.  I CAN'T have too many carbs.  I cut out all sugar, breads, cereal, pasta and legumes and have no trouble at all keeping my carb count down below 60g each day.  If you ate like I did you wouldn't have any trouble with going over your carb count. 

You want low carb meal ideas?  Let me know.  I wouldn't eat much of what I suggested in my previous answer, either.

Quoting sweetktn:

It's not so much really, 2 slices of bread is 28 carbs, 3/4 cup cooked rice is about 36 carbs, and 1 cup of mashed taters is 34. LOL I only know that cuz that's what my carbs were today. :) Oh, and sugar...tons of carbs in there.

Thank you for your suggestions, a lot of that is typical stuff that I make but I have realized that for me it won't work :( I would go over on carb soooo bad and that's one of the big things they want me to cut back on. And caffeine. I'm already having trouble with that. Dozing off doing my school work or cuddling with the kids. Nothin better than a smack in the face with a MOM lookit on TV!

Quoting michiganmom116:

DARN, that's a LOT of carbs!  I couldn't do it without gaining weight!

Use one of the steaks to make a beef & broccoli stir fry or a Spanish steak & rice, use another to make a stew.

Ground beef ideas:  porcupine meatballs in sauce, sweet & sour meatballs, sloppy joes, meatball mushroom stew, hamburger gravy over biscuits or mashed potatoes, salisbury steaks w/gravy, shepherds pie, beef pot pie topped with homemade biscuit crust

other ideas:  baked beans & hotdogs w/ or w/o cornbread or biscuits;  pigs in a blanket (hot dogs wrapped in breadstick or biscuit dough); cornbread muffins; chipped beef/tuna/pork sausage/diced eggs in white sauce over toast






michiganmom116
by Rhonda on Apr. 15, 2012 at 7:26 AM

The amount of carbs in this recipe is pretty negligible.  I eat this and a salad or veggie; sometimes the kids will eat additional cooked rice to soak up the sauce.  If you want, you can sub a 15 oz. can of tomato sauce for the tomato soup (add 1/4 tsp. garlic powder to the sauce if you do.)

Porcupine Meatballs

Combine the first 7 ingredients with 1/4 c. of the tomato soup. Mix well. Shape into about 20 balls and place in a skillet. Mix rest of soup, water, and Worcestershire sauce and pour over meatballs. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 40 minutes or until rice is soft and meatballs are set. Serve with sauce.

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