First of all, I shoot for one really nourishing meal a day, maybe five days a week. What is that, maybe 50/50? If I am anywhere around that - sometimes more, sometimes less - I feel pretty good. And I try not to stress too much about it because I believe I am doing the best I can with what we have, given that I am not superwoman. I especially don't worry about what we eat outside of the house or at relatives, as long as it is gluten free (DD and I are intolerant). Dp takes lunch a few times a week and a few times a week his boss likes to cook. So that is very nice for our budget too.
I work on a farm for pay plus food bonuses and I forage a lot of stuff. I get a lot of wilted, alot of excess veggies. Abundance in one type, then another. Occasionally get meat bonuses. Its an organic/pasture farm so that is great.
As for buying, this is how my budget looks:
-per week two to three bags of local pastured bones, small or large and usually "dog bones" at $2-$7 a bag - for rendering fat from, and stock
-occasional slab of pastured pork fat, for lard (usually around $4 to make a medium sized jar) and cracklins
-per week 1-2 small cuts of meat such as stew meat, ground beef, sausage, or very occasionally, a chuck roast - $7 up to $25
-some herbs for my stew $2.50 a week but I should plant an herb garden next year
-and lots of soaked beans, and LOTS of cheap seasonal fruits and veggies bought at the farmers market to supplement what I bring home $20-$60 a week
-eggs, either grocery store or pastured if I remember to stop on the way home from the farm ... same price either way, about $2.50
-cheap cheese and lots of it
-cheap milk to kefir, but considering buying a raw gal once a month
-conventional butter in the winter and most of the time, pastured butter in the summer when I have extra money
-always organic yogurt, sometimes pastured, sometimes not
-I have an 1.5 hour commute round trip from the farm which I make once a week, and which obvs costs money
-regular plain old rice, oatmeal, rice pasta, sometimes corn tortillas, gluten free pizza. CHIPS lol. Chocolate, and ice cream... usually cheap, sometimes nice
-we drink box wine but I also do a lot of home fermenting as a hobby and trade with other fermenting friends
-I make our own pickles, etc - as cheap as veggies and a box of salt
-we eat out about once a week but count that as entertainment rather than food budget..... usu. about $30-$40 and soooo worth it for delicious Indian or Thai food and someone else cleaning up
- I also barter
Anyhow this turns into:
eggs, fruit, yogurt, or oatmeal for breakfast
stew for lunch x 3 days. another stew x 3 days
some kind of mostly vegetables and some side meats for dinner
cheese and fruits for snacks throughout the day, also snack food as snacks, lol
leftovers and leftovers
nearly everything is cooked in butter and lard and tallow.
Finally, I think you can stretch meat into a lot of veggies and still be eating a TF diet. For instance, one morning we ate eggs and canadian bacon. There was bacon left over (yep, I trim the gnaw off of the toddler pieces and put them back in the fridge) so that night I made a mashed turnip and chopped the bacon into tiny pieces for that. Added salt, pepper, butter and lard, and a side dish of kale and made a dinner that fed four adults (the toddler was sleeping) with more left over for snacks the next day. The turnip, incidentally, was twice the size of my toddler's head, and a dollar. I saw it at the farmer's market and knew that was what we'd be having for dinner. My only regret was not buying a second, but they will be back next week. A turnip a piddly fourth of that size was $3 at the local natural foods store. I don't care if it's organic or not (tho I am pretty sure it was), I peeled it, it was a dollar!!!!! I put lard in it!
All week we also ate stew and squash and apples made with free foraged apples. We eat leftovers and the same thing a lot. If one veggie is cheap, I buy a lot of it. In a few weeks something else will be cheap, so I don't worry about variety.
Tonight I am making a chicken neck stock and snacking on the necks. They were a bonus... I normally consider them too expensive to buy.
This is how my mom did it and more and more I find this is how I am doing it.