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#1 of 33 Old 09-20-2011, 03:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi everyone,

After quite some time, I am coming out of lurkedom to ask you all for some help.  I know that this sounds ridiculous, but I need help grocery shopping.  My teenage step-son has moved in, and for as much as I love him and love having him here, I am so stressed out about food.  We don't have a lot of extra money and pretty much only have what we have been living on, but our food consumption has increased so much that I'm at a loss.  I'm trying to work more to make up some of the difference, but that will take some time to put into action. 

 

We try to buy our meat from a local butcher but right now our freezer is down to the dregs and we just don't have the finances to purchase our usual half a cow and full pig.  In the past, I only did a major grocery shopping trip maybe once a month at the most and spent around $200.  With the meat in the freezer and picking up odds and ends here and there, we made out fine this way.  We are now a family of five, 2 teens and a toddler and my husband and myself.  My husband eats enough for two people at dinner but only takes 1 sandwich for lunch at work and no breakfast.  My teen daughter eats what she finds but is in school during the day and only eats a meal at dinner and a light snack after school.  I don't typically eat breakfast or lunch and then gorge myself at dinner (bad, I know).  My SS on the other hand.... to him a snack is a full meal for me and he has multiple.  He eats a big breakfast, lunch at school, a snack after school, a HUGE dinner, and at least one more snack thrown in the mix someplace.  And his snacks are not an apple :)  For example, this Sunday for lunch he ate, by himself, four cans of tuna.  Four!!!  And that was one meal out of 4 for the day. 

 

He is a growing boy and works out and is in great shape, so I want to make sure he is getting enough nutrition and I certainly don't want him to ever feel hungry.  In addition, he is a very healthy eater as is my daughter, and we are all trying to eat much more healthy. 

 

I just don't know how to afford this.  Obviously I have to make some drastic changes in the budget and the way that I shop.  I do meal plan as much as I can (read: have the energy for), but this is causing so much stress that I am becoming obsessed with how to feed my family. 

 

Okay, I'm sorry.  That was a very long explanation for a simple problem, but boy did it feel good to get it out.  Can someone please teach me how to do this?  After two weeks of having him here, I estimate that I could easily spend $800/month and still not feel as if we had enough food in the house.  We just cannot afford this.  So, how do I do this? 

 

How do I coupon successfully? How do I even know how much to purchase for a family of this size.  I think we could safely pretend that I am feeding a family of 7-8 (no, I'm not kidding). 

Any tips or pointers? 

Can someone break down the couponing strategy for me in layman's terms?

Are farmers markets cheaper or more expensive than the grocery store?

My typical stores are Aldi's, Wal-mart, and Wegmans. 

 

Thank you for anyone that took the time to get through this novel and thank you for any help you can give me.

Ginger

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#2 of 33 Old 09-20-2011, 03:58 PM
 
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I can't help with the other questions but I might ask you to reframe it as one of discipline, community living, and planning. Have him select a list of snack and lunch items and make those items available to him for the week. In his case, he might need a lot of protein or whatever. But four cans of tuna for a snack? That makes for a very expensive snack, plus way, WAY too much mercury. Figure out what his bodily needs are and plan on some lower cost options that meet those needs. You could have a big batch of mostly bean chili for instance that would fill him up. Or hard boiled eggs. Or tofu.

 

It isn't unreasonable to limit snacking to redetermined items that are healthy for him and easier on your budget. He may need to eat a lot but that doesn't mean that you both can't exert more control over what is selected. There is no need for him to have free range access to anything that isn't nailed down. Not suggestion past behavior was negative, just that maybe you don't need coupons as much as some house rules.

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#3 of 33 Old 09-20-2011, 04:30 PM
 
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I couldn't help but answer.  We're a family of five and I spend about $800/month on groceries (including all food and personal care items like tp and toothpaste).  I'm afraid I don't have a magical answer for you but I do have some suggestions.  Our children are all very active, as are we.  We each eat three square meals per day and two snacks, maybe three.

 

I do control how much meat everyone gets (our oldest would quite happily eat just meat).  There are rarely any seconds of meat, but always lots of potatoes and inexpensive veggies (like carrots).

 

I second the house rules suggestion.  Perhaps gently point out that meat is for meals and anything else makes a good snack?

 

I go through lots of eggs (cheap protein). I'm talking 6 dozen per week.  Each of us has eggs for breakfast most days.

Pasta is very filling.  Think casseroles (either vegetarian, or with a bit of ground beef or tuna).

Beans are your friend!  LOL.  Seriously, very filling and very inexpensive.  If your DSS balks at vegetarian chili, add a tiny bit of ground beef, just enough to convince him it's a meat dish.  Works for our oldest.  ;)

Cook big batches of things, like pasta sauce, chili and soup (if he will eat soup).  It's less expensive per portion to make a large quantity of a meal once rather than several smaller servings.

I buy bags of apples because they're cheaper by the pound than loose ones.  Carrots are always cheap.  Right now beets are in season.  I've pre-cooked, sliced and frozen 30 lbs so far.

 

What about him having a slice of bread or a bun while scrounging around for the rest of his snack?  My DP is terrible when he's hungry, he can eat half a meal for a "snack" before he even takes a breath.

 

Does your family eat peanut butter?  That's a good healthy inexpensive snack food.

 

Bananas are good for snacking too.  Whatever doesn't get eaten gets turned into banana bread.  VERY popular snack around here.  ;)

 

I've always got lots of apples and I have a container in the fridge with sliced carrots, ready to be eaten.  It's amazing how many disappear in a day, but they're cheap and nobody bugs me for other snacks (usually).

 

Coupons generally stink in our area and are for foods we don't eat or for cleaning supplies I don't use.  Farmers markets are good at the end of the day when they're clearing out things, otherwise a bit pricey in our region.

 

It really does sound like perhaps you need to have a gentle conversation with your DSS about what and when to eat.


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#4 of 33 Old 09-20-2011, 05:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by JudiAU View Post

I can't help with the other questions but I might ask you to reframe it as one of discipline, community living, and planning. Have him select a list of snack and lunch items and make those items available to him for the week. In his case, he might need a lot of protein or whatever. But four cans of tuna for a snack? That makes for a very expensive snack, plus way, WAY too much mercury. Figure out what his bodily needs are and plan on some lower cost options that meet those needs. You could have a big batch of mostly bean chili for instance that would fill him up. Or hard boiled eggs. Or tofu.

 

It isn't unreasonable to limit snacking to redetermined items that are healthy for him and easier on your budget. He may need to eat a lot but that doesn't mean that you both can't exert more control over what is selected. There is no need for him to have free range access to anything that isn't nailed down. Not suggestion past behavior was negative, just that maybe you don't need coupons as much as some house rules.


Judi,

You may very well have hit the nail on the head here.  There is a drastic economic change for him living with us than it was living with his mom.  She doesn't always have more money but certainly spends like she does.  I also suspect that she "bought" a lot of love.  They only have name brand and expensive of everything. 

 

Please don't get me wrong.  He is a wonderful kid and very kind.  I just don't think he at all understands just how differently we live.  He chose to come here and he knows that we don't have nearly as much money as his mom, but he chose to come here to be part of the family knowing that there are more important things than money.  He is always respectful about our finances, but I know it is a big change for him and I feel guilty.  He has switched schools, switched states, and gained two full-time sisters.  I know he is a little overwhelmed right now, so I don't really want to make it any harder than it has to be on him.  And yes, that is definitely my guilty, martydom mom speaking eyesroll.gif

 

Thank you for the feedback.  I think you may be right that some limits need to be placed. 

Ginger

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#5 of 33 Old 09-20-2011, 05:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by RainbowTurtle View Post

I couldn't help but answer.  We're a family of five and I spend about $800/month on groceries (including all food and personal care items like tp and toothpaste).  I'm afraid I don't have a magical answer for you but I do have some suggestions.  Our children are all very active, as are we.  We each eat three square meals per day and two snacks, maybe three.

 

I do control how much meat everyone gets (our oldest would quite happily eat just meat).  There are rarely any seconds of meat, but always lots of potatoes and inexpensive veggies (like carrots).

 

I second the house rules suggestion.  Perhaps gently point out that meat is for meals and anything else makes a good snack?

 

I go through lots of eggs (cheap protein). I'm talking 6 dozen per week.  Each of us has eggs for breakfast most days.

Pasta is very filling.  Think casseroles (either vegetarian, or with a bit of ground beef or tuna).

Beans are your friend!  LOL.  Seriously, very filling and very inexpensive.  If your DSS balks at vegetarian chili, add a tiny bit of ground beef, just enough to convince him it's a meat dish.  Works for our oldest.  ;)

Cook big batches of things, like pasta sauce, chili and soup (if he will eat soup).  It's less expensive per portion to make a large quantity of a meal once rather than several smaller servings.

I buy bags of apples because they're cheaper by the pound than loose ones.  Carrots are always cheap.  Right now beets are in season.  I've pre-cooked, sliced and frozen 30 lbs so far.

 

What about him having a slice of bread or a bun while scrounging around for the rest of his snack?  My DP is terrible when he's hungry, he can eat half a meal for a "snack" before he even takes a breath.

 

Does your family eat peanut butter?  That's a good healthy inexpensive snack food.

 

Bananas are good for snacking too.  Whatever doesn't get eaten gets turned into banana bread.  VERY popular snack around here.  ;)

 

I've always got lots of apples and I have a container in the fridge with sliced carrots, ready to be eaten.  It's amazing how many disappear in a day, but they're cheap and nobody bugs me for other snacks (usually).

 

Coupons generally stink in our area and are for foods we don't eat or for cleaning supplies I don't use.  Farmers markets are good at the end of the day when they're clearing out things, otherwise a bit pricey in our region.

 

It really does sound like perhaps you need to have a gentle conversation with your DSS about what and when to eat.

Thank you so much for the great suggestions.  I know that it is a learning curve for all of us right now since he has only been here a couple weeks.  These are some great snack suggestions.  We also go through a lot of eggs, but often times the kids are too lazy to make them, and I am too busy.  I will ask him about hard-boiled eggs as a snack.  He does not eat peanut butter, unfortunately.  Bananas and apples I have been keeping around but you have given me some other great, cheap, easy ideas.

 

Thank you so much

Ginger
 

 

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#6 of 33 Old 09-20-2011, 07:04 PM
 
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Thank you so much for the great suggestions.  I know that it is a learning curve for all of us right now since he has only been here a couple weeks.  These are some great snack suggestions.  We also go through a lot of eggs, but often times the kids are too lazy to make them, and I am too busy.  I will ask him about hard-boiled eggs as a snack.  He does not eat peanut butter, unfortunately.  Bananas and apples I have been keeping around but you have given me some other great, cheap, easy ideas.

 

Thank you so much

Ginger
 

 


What about egg puffs? Not sure if that's what they're really called or not, but my bottomless pitt (11 year old boy) loves to spray the inside of a microwave safe bowl with olive oil or non stick cooking spray if I actually have it in the kitchen. Puts a few eggs in the bowl, scrambles it up with pepper, sometimes he adds in a little milk or cheese depending on how he's feeling. Pop it into the microwave for a minute, check it after 30 seconds to see if there's liquid still, if there's not it's done if there is it goes back in. He tops it with Salsa usually and eats. I've been letting him make his puffs in the microwave on his own as long as he lets me know he's going to make them for 5 years now.

 

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#7 of 33 Old 09-20-2011, 07:36 PM
 
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I think he is old enough where there two of you can sit down and have a frank discussion about budget and eating.  If he needs to eat, then he needs to eat.  How can you meet his caloric needs while staying inside a budget?  Take him shopping with you so that he can see how much this snack or that snack costs.  Talk about how much you can afford to spend each day and come up with suggestions together about what would work inside that budget.  Of course your budget is going to change.  I am amazed that you could feed a family with three adults on just $200 a month. The question is how much is it going to change.  

 

If he needs a lot of protein there are some things that might make better snacks.  Protein shakes (or even better add a little fruit and yogurt to make a smoothie) and protein bars are a staple around here.  Beans are your new best friend.  keep carrots and celery and apples and boiled eggs around (they are old enough to make these themselves if you don't have time.)  They are all quick snacks.  Learn how to make hummus.  It is really cheap and high in protein if you make it yourself.

 

If you have a sams club now might be the time to join.

 

And honestly your family sounds like everyone has eating habits that  may be hard on the budget. (I found we eat more expensively through out the day when we skip breakfast.  Especially if we skip lunch as well. I become a bottomless pit and the girls start with frantic snacking.)


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#8 of 33 Old 09-20-2011, 08:11 PM
 
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I think he is old enough where there two of you can sit down and have a frank discussion about budget and eating.  If he needs to eat, then he needs to eat.  How can you meet his caloric needs while staying inside a budget?  Take him shopping with you so that he can see how much this snack or that snack costs.  Talk about how much you can afford to spend each day and come up with suggestions together about what would work inside that budget.  Of course your budget is going to change.  I am amazed that you could feed a family with three adults on just $200 a month. The question is how much is it going to change.  


This is a good post. A teenage boy who works out has massive nutrition needs. I'd work with him on making sure his diet is balanced because sometimes we still feel hungry because of missing certain nutrients. I'd also make sure he is getting enough healthy oils. These are very filling and very healthy for growing bodies, but often skipped because so many people think "fat is bad."  If he had put some of that tuna on a tossed salad and then topped it with olive oil and lemon juice (and may be some pepper and herbs) he would have had a more filling, balanced, meal with less tuna.

 

If he is interested in nutrition (many teens who are into fitness are) help him learn to make his own snack foods.

 


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#9 of 33 Old 09-20-2011, 11:03 PM
 
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I have an 11 yr old who is a bottomless pit as well. 

www.afullcup.com has some great coupon matchup's and sale tips.

google some key terms like 'how to build a pantry, coupon match ups, coupons and budget' and you will get a ton of information.

I don't talk $$ with my son, but I make every dollar go as far as I can and recently showed him how to match coupons to sales etc.

My son is a 4 meal a day eater as well.  I know you 'pain'.  Food is expensive and its just one cost of having a teen/pre teen in the house.


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#10 of 33 Old 09-21-2011, 09:26 AM
 
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A couple things I find helpful:

 

Fruits and veggies are on sale now. Stock up for the winter. I choose to freeze the majority because it's easier for me. 

 

Buying a half cow etc is a good idea. Shop around to make sure you're getting the best deal. 

 

Shop weekly sales. Every store will have items that go on sale to get people in. There's a balance. You want to shop often enough to take advantages of those sales, BUT you have to make sure you're not tossing 'extras' into the cart every week. A couple extras when you shop once a month is fine. Multiple that by 4-5 times and it will do some damage to your budget. 

 

Get to know prices in your area, the best stores to shop at etc so that you'll know when something is at a price worth stocking up on. Certain items seem to go on sale every couple weeks/months and you'll get to know the rhythm. Then you can buy enough of that item to last you until it goes on sale again.... assuming you have a little extra money to work with in your budget. Some people find it easier to keep a price book. 

 

I buy large bags of flour, yeast (both stored in freezer), oatmeal and other baking ingredients to keep on hand. Look into different types of bread: biscuits, dumplings, scones, fococcia, buns etc. 


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#11 of 33 Old 09-21-2011, 10:19 AM
 
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What stuck out for me is the fact that he works out. I'm working out as well and there are some "suggested guidelines", if you will, about protein intake when trying to build muscle. I think it's worth a discussion to find out if he is trying to consume "x grams of protein per pound of body weight".  The fact that he ate 4 cans of tuna suggests to me that he might be doing that.  If he is, I think a worthwhile discussion is sharing how much that will cost and how he may have to modify his program because of the cost.  He may have to consume lower cost protein sources.  And it could be a good opportunity to get him involved in his own food preparation as well.


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#12 of 33 Old 09-21-2011, 11:22 AM
 
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What stuck out for me is the fact that he works out. I'm working out as well and there are some "suggested guidelines", if you will, about protein intake when trying to build muscle. I think it's worth a discussion to find out if he is trying to consume "x grams of protein per pound of body weight".  The fact that he ate 4 cans of tuna suggests to me that he might be doing that.  If he is, I think a worthwhile discussion is sharing how much that will cost and how he may have to modify his program because of the cost.  He may have to consume lower cost protein sources.  And it could be a good opportunity to get him involved in his own food preparation as well.

 

I second this.

 

One thing to consider is making sure that every meal/snack is as fulfilling as possible. For me, fruit, veggies and soups are really only good as supplements. Not as meals or snacks on their own because they simply don't fill me up. I need my fats and carbs to stay full. If I eat a meal without fats in particular, I generally tend to be hungry within an hour.

 

In my family, sour-dough/rye bread has always been a cheap mainstay carb. Darkish bread fills you up wonderfully, is not that expensive to make if you make it yourself and not all that unhealthy either. Top a slice with some chopped egg and celery salad (we mix ours with home made mayonnaise) and you have a sandwich that should be enough, even for a growing teenage boy, as a snack.

 

 

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#13 of 33 Old 09-21-2011, 11:45 AM
 
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Just a super cheap snack suggestion (not a protein one) but great general cheap snack food....home popped pop corn! So so cheap & you can add salt or popcorn...or cheesy..... or melted butter....


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#14 of 33 Old 09-21-2011, 11:46 AM
 
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Also do you own a breadmaker? We make all our bread & we save so much money. I'm in the UK though, don't know about bread prices anywhere else....


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#15 of 33 Old 09-21-2011, 12:06 PM
 
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I don't have a teen boy, but I do have a preteen girl who just started playing sports, and I can tell already she is eating more, so I can only imagine the exponential increase you are facing!

 

At one time, my MIL, who raised 5 kids on a very tight budget, had two teen boys in the house at the same time, plus fed an assortment of friends who would stay for dinner. Her tip was to make a pan of muffins as a side dish. She said that kept them fed, but left enough of the main dish for everyone. Here is a good "universal" muffin formula:

http://baskersfunfoods.blogspot.com/2009/02/universal-muffins.html

 

Making dried beans is really easy with a crockpot, and one lb. of dried makes enough for a large pot of soup, stew or chili. I make veggie chili with pinto/black beans, chipotle pinto bean stew, chickpea curry with potatoes, etc. Just soak the beans for a while in plain water, drain, cover with clean water & cook in crockpot. I am home, so I just peek at them to see when they're ready, but there are probably charts online for more specific cooking times for different beans. We have recently discovered black bean brownies - a good sweet treat with a bit more fiber and nutrition than regular brownies.

 

Granola is easy to make and a good snack with whatever milk you drink. I make a maple granola along these lines (except I don't put in as much oil):

http://www.pigsgourdsandwikis.com/2009/10/easy-homemade-granola.html

You can also make it with the less expensive maple syrup that is part brown rice syrup. Still tastes fine.

 

 

 

 


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#16 of 33 Old 09-21-2011, 12:06 PM
 
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Just a super cheap snack suggestion (not a protein one) but great general cheap snack food....home popped pop corn! So so cheap & you can add salt or popcorn...or cheesy..... or melted butter....



Yes, great idea!


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#17 of 33 Old 09-21-2011, 01:03 PM
 
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Granola is easy to make and a good snack with whatever milk you drink. I make a maple granola along these lines (except I don't put in as much oil):

http://www.pigsgourdsandwikis.com/2009/10/easy-homemade-granola.html

You can also make it with the less expensive maple syrup that is part brown rice syrup. Still tastes fine.

 



I'm going to try this recipe!

 

If you have one for granola bars, I'll take that too!

 

(And for feeding a teen boy, I'd leave in the oil. It is very filling and it's a healthy oil -- you could use a less expensive oil that is still healthy -- such as canola)


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#18 of 33 Old 09-21-2011, 01:12 PM
 
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Thanks for those links, Ragana! Can't wait to try them all! :)

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#19 of 33 Old 09-22-2011, 09:35 AM
 
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As for granola bars, we like

 

Homemade Lara bars:

http://enlightenedcooking.blogspot.com/2008/02/home-made-lara-bars-energy-bars-part-3.html

 

and

 

No-bake energy bites:

http://smashedpeasandcarrots.blogspot.com/2011/08/no-bake-energy-bites-recipe.html

 

And I have this granola bar recipe on my list to try - as you can see, I am not a baker and go for the simpler stuff, but you can add in all kinds of extras like raisins if your family likes those:

http://www.momsplans.com/2011/08/homemade-granola-bars/

 

Oh, and black bean brownies:

http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/black-bean-brownies/detail.aspx

 

Enjoy! drool.gif (smilies are too fun not to use)


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#20 of 33 Old 09-22-2011, 12:30 PM
 
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I would encourage more fiber and consuming foods along with other foods. I bet putting the tuna in a salad or on whole grain bread would have slowed the consumption a lot.

 

 

My dd will eat homemade bean and cheese burritoes for a snack and I think it is easy, inexpensive and filling. It is something you could make ahead and freeze but it is also fast to put together and heat up for just a few minutes.


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#21 of 33 Old 09-22-2011, 12:33 PM
 
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My husband is a bottomless pit and this is one meal that stops him in his tracks and fills his tummy - http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/moms_chili_beans/

 

You could scale back the meat and up the beans to save money.  It is also one of those things that actually tastes better warmed up and makes a great leftover.  I make a lot of rice when doing this meal and the "chili" part of it can stretch over many meals.  I also try to time this meal for when I have cheese to use up, I let it melt on top.   


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#22 of 33 Old 09-22-2011, 08:29 PM
 
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We started using this recipe for bread... OMG, it works SO well! I can make a big bowl of dough and just throw a large handful in the oven for 30 min. and DONE! Bread each day almost as soon as we need it!

 

Now, if I can just get DH to not try to double up the dough (the loaf will fall apart or be mushy inside), and actually MAKE the dough (it takes like 5 minutes).


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#23 of 33 Old 09-22-2011, 10:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow!  You ladies have given me a lot of great food for thought (biglaugh.gifpun intended).  I am going to put a bunch of these to play for meals and snacks as well as have a sit down with him to see how we can best fill his needs.  He is very conscious of what he eats and is looking for high protein snacks before/after working out.  To make matters even more complicated, he is lactose intolerance and allergic to sesame seeds and a few nuts, a lot of things that are in my normal meals.  We are huge cheese eaters.  I was so proud of myself tonight for making a huge pan of scalloped potatoes, which I have never tried before, and then he very nicely subtly asked me if it was made with milk duh.gif.

 

We will get there and I am more than willing to take on the challenge.  Thank you all so much for the great ideas and recipes.  You have helped a tremendous amount.

Ginger

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#24 of 33 Old 09-23-2011, 08:31 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MyLifeInColor View Post

To make matters even more complicated, he is lactose intolerance and allergic to sesame seeds and a few nuts, a lot of things that are in my normal meals.  We are huge cheese eaters.  I was so proud of myself tonight for making a huge pan of scalloped potatoes, which I have never tried before, and then he very nicely subtly asked me if it was made with milk duh.gif.


 

You'll very quickly get used to the dairy free thing. One of my kiddos is dairy free. Here is my diary free potato soup recipe. It's my own invention and very cheap to make. It doesn't have any protein, so it's a meal mate, not a meal. And since I invented it and eye ball everything, there aren't real measurements:

 

Potatoes, pealed and cut into bite sized pieces

One or two onions (depending both on how many potatoes you use and how big the onions are) chopped

Chicken broth

Pepper.

 

That's it. Cook the whole thing together until the potatoes are soft. Use the back side of a soup to mash a few of the potatoes to the side of the pot, and then stir to make the broth thicker.

 

Very easy, very yummy. Those who like cheese can top their bowl with cheese. Green onions look pretty on top. My family loves this.

 

 


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#25 of 33 Old 09-23-2011, 09:11 AM
 
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You've got a ton of great suggestions here.  The only thing I would add, is to buy bulk oatmeal (rolled oats or steel-cut) and try and make that for breakfast at least 2 mornings a week, it's super cheap and very filling.  My DD likes mashed bananas and peanut butter in hers (sometimes Nutella for a special treat).  We generally put in whatever fruit we happen to have on hand (peaches have been a big hit this week). 

 

Also, for dairy free, coconut oil works as a great substitute for butter in baking and even on things like popcorn and in oatmeal.  For popcorn, we also add nutritional yeast as a tasty add on, it takes some getting used to but it especially makes popcorn with coconut oil taste good.

 

Good luck!


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#26 of 33 Old 09-23-2011, 10:27 AM
 
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I feel like you should be teaching us all how to shop!  I am amazed that you were feeding a family of 4 on $200 and a freezer full of meat.

 

We have pregnant me, DH and DD and I am amazed when we spend less than $500/month.  We eat an enormous amount of fresh fruits and veggies though so I think that's why I have a hard time bringing it down.

 

I like the idea of pushing things like eggs and oatmeal and popcorn.  I bake a lot of muffins and make a lot of baked oatmeal.  They're super delicious and really filling and cheap.  I load both up with fruit and nuts. 


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#27 of 33 Old 09-23-2011, 05:17 PM
 
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Another thing you might want to consider.  Do any of the grocery stores in your area have an in house dietitian?  Ours does and she is great.  Ours is really good at helping people plan meals around specific needs (special diets, allergies, athletes) an find frugal ways to meet those needs.  Its worth a shot.


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#28 of 33 Old 10-08-2011, 07:53 AM
 
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Lots of good ideas in this thread. But isn't there child support money that either your DH used to be paying or that the child's mother is now paying? Money that could get added into the food budget?

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#29 of 33 Old 10-08-2011, 08:17 AM
 
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I would like to add that it might help if the rest of the family ate breakfast too. It's cheaper (oatmeal, peanut butter toast, eggs, homemade multigrain pancakes) to buy breakfast foods than fill up on a big supper, and it's healthier for bodies and brain brains. Especially your teenage daughter!

Recent studies have shown that eating breakfast reduces the amount of total fat and calories you consume in a day. I think you'll find that if you start the day with some lean protein and whole grains, like eggs and toast or 12-grain pancakes with fruit yogurt, that your whole family will eat less and have more energy during the day.

Also, snacking is expensive, so if the rest of you family starts eating breakfast and lunch, that should help bring the bill down.

Another thing.... soup! it's such a cheap way to feed alot of people. Think dried beans, root vegetables, leftover chicken or roast bones, and grains like barley, rice, and cornmeal. And what ever is left over can be lunch or snacks the next day, or frozen for later!

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#30 of 33 Old 10-14-2011, 04:26 PM
 
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I have kids attacking me and only read the first half but have to comment.  DH and I are weight lifting junkies and I was competitively for a long time.  We eat a LOT of protein and are always on the quest for lean muscle.  I will try and get this out before kids get me.....

1) I totally agree on finding out if he is trying to get certain amounts of protein and carbs.  For starters, he likely will find it cool that you care to help him meet his goals.  Also, it can help you plan.

2) We combine our more expensive proteins with cheaper things.  So take tuna...I mix a couple cans of tuna with old fashioned oats I grind up like bread crumbs, mix in egg and spices and make tuna patties.  Ketchup and the kids even eat em.  So the tuna is more costly, but eggs are cheaper and the oats are too and the expand to fill more space.  And they are a great carb for muscle recovery. ;)   Buy bulk vanilla whey protein.  Best protein for muscle building...most bang for his buck.  We cook oats (cheap) and mix in milk and vanilla whey (add banana, apple, nuts, whatever).  We buy boneless skinless chicken on sale in bulk when it hits $1.49 or $1.99/lb.  This is the meat we do not buy a lot of hormone free.  Other meats we do.  I also combine things like : 6 egg whits, 1c oats, 2 scoops of whey, 1-2 ripe bananas, 1/2c cottage cheese...blend and you can cook them into bodybuilder pancakes. :)

 

I think one convo to have, if the protein and such is important, is that to get those things down, he may have to sacrifice.  Not everything will taste good.  The price of being ripped!  You will help him get what he needs, but if he has to gut down some peanut butter for his good fat, well, he can do it.  He cant 6 meals and 200 g a day of marinated all natural chicken breast. ;)

 

In my years I spent personal training I put lots of cheap recipes plans together.  If you want to message me after you talk to him, I can email you some of my recipes I have scattered on my computer that may help you and he get some ideas.  I spent years putting them together and would love someone to get some use, lol.  Protein shakes too....scoop of whey, milk, cottage cheese, honey, oats, blend, toss in something flavored/sweet. 

 

PM me if you would like some ideas....I love helping teens that are working out.  Just because it was so good for me at that age and well, I just think it is cool. :)  And you are a Rock Star mom for caring enough to work on helping pull it together with him.

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