A blog about my journey as an athlete and a woman. Come step into her shoes...

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Healthy Eating On the Cheap Part II

A couple weeks a go I did a post called, Challenge: Living Life On a Budget. I thought I would follow up on that post by answering a question that you all had.

#1 Question People Asked: PLEASE tell me how you only spend $50-60 on groceries for the week? That is one of our biggest expenses.

I know it seems hard to eat healthy and cheap, but it can be done! This week I went shopping to show you all what our weekly list of groceries looks like. I think this will help some of you see where I tend to save.

  1. The first thing I do before I go shopping is SCAN the fridge,freezer, and pantry to see what we already have.
  2. Then I sit down and write out a list of the meals I will be cooking for the week (lunch and breakfast included).
  3. Figure out what stores have most all the foods so that I don’t have to make multiple trips.

Meals for the week:

For breakfast I eat lots of Oatmeal, and hubby eat his Cheerios. So I will need oats, almond milk,bananas,fruit and granola for toppings. He needs Cheerios and milk.

Snacks for her: Apple and Cheese, Yogurt and Granola, or Z bar and a piece of fruit. I like Z bars because they taste good, are healthy and cheap!

Snacks for Him: 100 calorie packs or Fiber one Bars.

Lunches: I tend to eat a lot of soup and salad combos. I make a big pot of lentil soup on the weekend, and then bring lettuce, veggies,friut on the side. I also tend to have hummus and pita chips with it too.

Hubby;s Lunches: He likes Lean Pockets and Peanut butter sandwiches(he’s so simple).


Sunday:Cook Bean Soup that will last all week for lunch with a salad. Enjoy some for dinner too.
Monday: Hubby Lean Pocket or PB Sandwiche, My Ritual Bowl of cereal ( I teach AKB until 9pm).
Tuesday:Taco Night!
Wednesday: Date Night/ or stay home and make whole wheat spaghetti with turkey meat balls.
Thursday: Hubby Lemon chicken, and for me Pad Thai with Tofu
Friday: Pizza Night
Saturday: Mini Meat Loafs, Baked Potato for hubby and Sweet Potato fries for me. With a veggie of course.

My Grocery Bill:

*Stater Brothers(local grocery store):

  • mozzarella cheese: 3.00
  • 4 yogurts: 2.50
  • whole wheat tortillas: 1.99
  • black beans: .79
  • garbanzo beans: .79
  • diced tomatoes: .75
  • 1 chicken breast: 1.66
  • ground turkey: 2.49
  • ambrosia apples: 2.37
  • bananas: 1.01
  • romaine lettuce: 1.99
  • green bell pepper: .99
  • kiwi(5): 1.45
  • lemon and lime:.50
  • mushrooms:1.99 Total: $25.61

food 005food 004

* Trader Joe’s:

  • Almond Milk: 1.69
  • Soup tomatoes: 1.89
  • Mireplox (carrots,onions,and celery chopped) 2.39
  • Organic Joe's O’s: 1.49
  • Greek Yogurt :1.99
  • 17 bean and barley mix: 1.69
  • Pad Thai noodles: 1.69
  • Whole Wheat Pizza Dough: 1.29
  • 4 Z bars: 2.07
  • Firm tofu: 1.69 Total: 18.48

For a grand total of $44.09

>>>Now we did have some staples on hand that I didn’t have to buy this week like, hubby’s non fat milk, and bread. We also had eggs,strawberries,rice, oats, granola, blueberries and potatoes.

We also make a Costco Run once a month and this is what this bill looks like:


  • 100 calorie packs(30): 8.69
  • My 12 pack of almond snack packs: 8.69
  • Green Beans: 6.49
  • Honey Nut Cheerios: 7.19
  • Laughing Cow Cheeses: 8.35
  • Mini Peppers: 3.49
  • Ground turkey: 14.20
  • Pecans: 8.89
  • Avocados: 5.29
  • Chicken broth: 5.79
  • Tomatoes Paste:4.88
  • Whole Wheat Pasta’s variety Pack: 8.69 Total $90.64

Half of these things we don’t have to buy every month, like chicken broth, green beans. and tomato paste. Like last month instead of chicken broth we bought Peanut Butter, and instead of tomatoes paste we bought oats.

So if you take our monthly grocery bill ($44.09)times it by four($176), and add in the one time Costco run($27) and divide it by 4, it comes out to about $66 a week.

Heather from Hangrypants, was so gracious to send me this link which has helped me even more with my shopping. Her and Mark did a budget challenge where they tried to keep the grocery shopping budget lower. Here are some key tips they give:

  • To get your protein, buy dried beans
  • Buy the larger container of yogurt or cottage cheese. It's cheaper than buying the individual serving size containers.
  • Buy rice, oatmeal, and other grains in bulk.
  • Look for produce that's on sale instead of grabbing the fruits and veggies you love.
  • Make your own nut butter. Buy almonds or peanuts in bulk and then use your food processor to grind them up.
  • Bring a calculator and add up what's in your cart as you go along. That way you won't be shocked when the cashier tells you what you owe .

I love the idea of bringing a calculator (or for me using my cell phone) to keep track what I am buying, puts thing in a whole new prospective!

I hoped this helped some of you with your healthy grocery shopping. I am trying very hard to stick to the budget, these days it’s actually a fun personal challenge. Who knew I could ever be so FRUGAL!!! Not me:) If you have any other questions please send them my way!!!!

Alight friends, what do you think? How do you save money on healthy food options? Do you think it is possible to eat healthy for a reasonable price?


therunningaddict said...

I buy healthy often and honestly I don't think it makes me spend so much more - I also stop buying junk food at the same time so it sort of balances out.
I know what you mean about multiple trips though - it is SO annoying but inevitable here as some stores only hold certain items whereas others don't!

Leah said...

Oh my, I LOVE how you broke your grocery bill down. You guys do a great job at eating healthy while not breaking the bank!! Good for you! My fiancé and I rarely spend over $50/week on groceries either. We always make it into a game to see how cheap we can keep our bill!

Amelia (AC/DC: Highways to Health) said...

Thanks for the tips! I'm trying to balance eating healthy but also saving money. I especially like your tip about the fruits and veggies. I try to find out what's in season because that's usually cheaper, fresher, and may be able to be bought from local farms.

Pearl said...

goodness - i have to make a costco run every week, but we usually stock up on fresh fruits and veggies. and milk. and eggs. haha :)

aron said...

my hubsband and i did that exact thing this week... checked the fridge before going to the store and made a list of what we needed... really helped!

Anonymous said...

Yeah for "taco tuesday". We've been doing this since our puppy was in "school" every tuesday night for 12 weeks last spring. It was a cheap, and quick dinner to make when we got home at 9pm. Hubby still looks forward to it.

RunToFinish said...

you know i really should bring a calculator because I spend time tyrinig to do the math in my head so I know i'm getting the best buy, DUHH a calc would be so much faster

Ryan (chasing daylight) said...

I'm really working on this! My bills starting getting outrageous, so I've cut back a lot and try not to spend more than $40 a week. It takes serious practice though!

I don't know if you've seen it yet but don't forget to enter my Jogger's Pepper Spray giveaway! http://chasedaylight.com/2009/02/19/outdoor-fitness-safety-and-giveaway/

Mica said...

Great tips! Maybe I'll start bringing a calculator with me...

Matt said...

I dunno how you do it. I spend about 80 bucks a week on JUST ME. I eat alot, but I never thought it would be more than two people's worth. I need to cut back!

Laurel said...

We do the list every week and check the fridge, but somehow we always manage to buy things we don't need. I like how you have made it into a personal challenge. I may have to get into that.

These are great tips. And we do taco night a lot too :)

Nobel4Lit said...

This is a great post! Will definitely plan ahead like this when I live on my own or with my man.

sweetandfit said...

thanks for the great shopping tip =) for your almond snack pack - why not just make your own with bulk almond and zip lock baggies??

Rose said...

This is a great post. Thank you so much for sharing. I was just thinking today, "How did we just spend $150 again on groceries when we spent that much last week?" Probably because I didn't follow the tips you listed here. This should be helpful next week, for sure!

HangryPants said...

Since doing my own budget challenge I also sort of enjoy seeing how cheap I can be at the grocery store!

I think making as much stuff from scratch as possible is helpful - beans, bread, tomato sauce, etc.

Also, I tried meal planning, but it didn't really work for me that well, so I will buy things that are on sale and use them to cook my meals during the week OR if I really want something one night for dinner, I'll make a special trip to the store, but never for expensive things.

Making substitutions is also a good way to spend less. If someone requires spinach, but you have broccoli, you can probably switch. It gives you a new recipe and saves you money.

Denise said...

Interesting post. I also cook big on Sunday to get meals for the week and plan ahead.

One suggestion though to save some more money...the 100 calorie snacks are usually a rip off price wise. (and they generate a lot more waste) What about buying a normal size bag and portioning it out into servings. We do that with some stuff and use tupperware so we can be a little more "green."

Kristin said...

These are great tips! I told my bf about how much you spend weekly and he couldn't believe it.

The one thing we waste money on is groceries and going out to eat! I'm going to try out some of these tips this week!

Thanks for taking the time to let us all know about how you do it. :)

Brian said...

I just went grocery shopping before reading this post, haha. I will defintily use those tips next time, smart!