Wednesday, May 21, 2014

HOW TO FEED A FAMILY AN ORGANIC DIET ON $450 A MONTH WITHOUT COUPONCLIPPING (INCLUDES HOUSEHOLD PRODUCTS & GROCERY LISTS)


I won't sugar coat this article for you, it is incredibly hard to feed a family an all organic diet on $450. It means strategizing in your home state which stores sell what brands at what price. It means purchasing some products online, and grocery store runs that aren't contained to one store front.

It means choosing to make all your meals at home, and meal planning each week. Packing lunches or snack every.time.you.leave.the.house so you aren't in a bind somewhere starving and in need of buying a quick meal. It also means going out with your friends and saying, " No thanks, I already ate at home. I'm just here for the company." Or. maybe buying just a happy hour appetizer or quick bite so you don't appear rude or uncomfortable.

Dedication. Diligence. At times, damn annoying. Other times, damn rewarding.

Ok, have I convinced you yet? Below are my best tips to succeed in the grocery store with a $112.50 budget per week.

But first, my number one piece of advice is know your pricing. Grocery stores like to trick you if they can and seem to offer some great "buy three get one free" deal but know already what the price of an item is and where you've found it cheapest. Do the math. Does that deal really save you money?

The most important part of eating on a budget is knowing what your family likes to eat, where you can get the best price on it, and sticking to your plans.

Farmer's Markets for Produce

In my own home state of Arizona, Sprouts is a local farmer's market with the best deals on fruits/veggies. I tend to buy all fruits/veggies there each week. Find a local farmer's market, whether it's a store front or pop up every week and check out their prices. Many states are starting to introduce cheap markets to help prevent the food waste epidemic by selling less-than-perfect fruits and veggies. I'm talking $10 for 60 pounds of produce! Now, if you're on a strict organic diet, this may not fully work for you as it's a "beggars can't be choosers" mentality here, and some of the produce is organic, while some of it is not. You could always use the organic produce and pass on the rest to a friend. Our Arizona version is called Market on the Move.

Buy what's in season, always. It'll taste better, it'll hurt your budget less. Click here for a great seasonal list of produce. Also, stick to the dirty dozen, clean fifteen to save money on buying organix produce, if that is allowed in your conscience!

Bulk Stores

I am not fully sold on bulk stores. There are days you go in expecting to spend a certain amount and walk out having sold double that and a kidney just to wonder where the heck all that money went!

However, on the days I STICK to my grocery list and do not wander off the narrow path, I come out exactly spending what I budgeted to spend. Analyze what in your family's diet is cheapest at a bulk store and buy only those items.

For us, items like quinoa, organic meats, bags of spinach, snacks like apple sauces for the road, frozen fruit for smoothies, cheese, eggs and avocado oil for food, and toilet paper, laundry detergent, vinegar, and baking soda are best purchased at Costco.

I avoid most other snacks, and specialty items here.

One Last Stop

You'll always find that one grocery store in your area that has the best prices on x,y,or z. Plan to stop there once a month and buy whatever it is that is cheapest there.

For us in Arizona, that store is Trader Joe's. Their canned beans, pizza crusts, and seasonings are the best prices.


Below, my friend shares her organic grocery lists with you. It's a blend of three stores, Sprouts, Costco, and Trader Joe's. You may not have the same stores at home but use the above tips to find your own version of these stores. If you live in a remote area, consider purchasing somethings online through bulk natural food stores, and growing some of your own food. It's easier than you think!


Ok, Anika's Meal Lists. She was lax on giving you prices because they can vary so much depending on sales and state to state:

TRADER JOE'S (only once a month)

-Quinoa brown rice pasta- 4 bags, 16 oz for $2.99

-Pizza crust- (frozen section) 2 for $2.49

-Vegetarian canned beans- if it doesn't bother you that the beans have pork in them, you can buy bulk ones from Costco. Otherwise, TJ's has the best price on canned beans at .89-1.19 per can.

-TJ's organic pasta sauce- 5 jars at $1.79 (ish). She adds garlic salt, sun-dried tomato's, and basil to the pasta sauce here. 

-Applegate organic hot dogs (for beef lovers)- 1 for $4.99

-Turkey Bacon Peppered- 2 at $2.99

-Italian Sausage- (yes, it's soy based :/) 1 at $2.99

-Green Chiles- 3 cans at .79

-Garlic Cloves- 1 or 2 packs, depending on how much you use garlic to season

-Herbs- $1.99, or basil for $2.99 for a whole plant. 

-Seasoning- any you are out of (should replace seasonings once a year) mostly organic at $1.99+  I LOVE the Trader Joe's All Purpose Seasoning. Crack it over a salad, season meat with it, or pasta sauce. It's divine. 

TRADER JOE'S ADDITIONAL'S (for snacking purposes, and not necessary)

Broccolini
Lentils
Oatmeal
Taco Seasoning
Canned Soups
Joe's O's
Plantain Chips
Banana Chips
Dried Fruit
Bruschetta

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GRAND TOTAL $90 per month

SPROUTS (you'll have to go every week)

-Produce-

Organic (prices vary week to week):

Our Staples Include:
Apples (bags for $4.99)
Bananas
Garlic Cloves
Zucchini
Tomatoes
Avocados
Green onions
Jalapenos
Onions
Tuscan black kale

WHAT TO BUY IF IT'S ON SALE:

Wild Caught Fish
Sprout's black bean hummus (with plantain chips = YUM)
Bulk Bin Items like lentils and nuts (nuts like walnuts and cashews end up being cheaper than bulk at Costco when on sale).
Silk Almond Milk or plain milk (if not on sale, I buy at Costco)
Cottage cheese
Sour cream
Koala crisp cereal
Protein bars
Garbanzo beans

*Look for the 25% off vitamin clearance sale that happens a few times per year for great deals on health items*

Also. RAID the Sprout's clearance section! They clearance out great products if they buy too much!

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GRAND TOTAL $100 a month, $25-30 a week


COSTCO- (once a month- it's important not to go weekly or you will end up buying expensive things you don't need!)

MEATS

-Organic chicken breasts- 1 at $20

- Grass fed beef- 1 at $16-18

- Sausage (jalapeno flavored, if on sale!)

-Wild Alaskan Salmon- typically $13.99 a lb.

FRESH ORGANIC VEGGIES 

-Lettuce

-Spinach

-Carrots

CHEESES/DAIRY/EGGS

-Mozzarella

-Tillamook Cheddar Cheese (there are cheaper cheeses but this one is TASTY) 1 at $8.99

-Grated Parmesan (cheaper than non-grated)

-Feta Cheese

-Organic Eggs 

JUICES/FRUIT

-Carrot Juice

- Bag of Organic Frozen Berries $9.99, lasts one week if you make smoothies for 2 people once per day

OILS/BUTTERS

-Avocado oil- 1 at $11.99

-Kirkland Extra Virgin Olive Oil- 1 at $11 (ish)

-Coconut Oil- 1 every month or two at $21 (ish)

-Butter (plain Costco butter for cooking)

-Carrie Gold's butter 1 for toast, etc. if you're a butter snob

-Almond butter or peanut butter

Breads/Tortilla's

-Dave's Organic Killer Bread- 4-5, 2 packs at $6.99 (freeze any bread you aren't using for that week so it doesn't mold)

-Flour tortillas not fully cooked, or corn tortillas cooked. Both organic. Both delicious. 

OTHER THINGS

-Organic salsa

-Sun dried tomatoes

-Black pepper kernels

-Organic BBQ Sauce 

-Red pepper

-Nature's Path Granola

TREATS (not every one, every month)

-Organic pancake batter

-Maple Syrup

-Craft beer & wines (if that's your sort of thing)

FOR BAKING

-Heavy whipping cream

-Cream cheese

HOME ESSENTIALS (don't need every one, every month)

-Trash bags

-Laundry detergent (free and clear)

-Paper towels

-Toilet paper

-Baby wipes (if on sale)

-Jet pack dishwasher gels

-Vinegar and baking soda- I clean with these products normally and it saves me a lot of money in cleaning supplies!

RECIPE IDEAS

These are not intricate ideas. They are simple common sense ways to use your groceries. Please consider googling on any given night the items in your pantry/fridge and let Pinterest put together a delectable idea for you. I am not a cook, just a mama who wants to feed her family a healthy meal.

Meal Idea One Lentil Tacos:

Quinoa and lentils are two staples I love in my family. I wish every day were Taco Tuesday. Tacos, when made with healthy eating in mind, can be a fresh way to incorporate veggies into our family's diet. Here's a wonderful meal idea that incorporates your bulk bin lentils and produce from Sprouts, taco seasoning and spices from Trader Joe's and taco shells from Costco. Sub out the canola oil for avocado oil for a healthier option!

Meal Idea Two Pasta and Salad:

Running low on time? Never fear, pasta is here! Cook up some of your brown rice pasta from TJ's and add in the pasta sauce you've doctored to your liking with the garlic powder, sun-dried tomatoes, basil, and a bit of sausage if you need some protein.

Also, you can make a quick salad using your bulk spinach from Costco, a little feta cheese, all purpose seasoning and any veggies you'd like to add. I always use an avocado oil or olive oil base with a little vinegar. Healthier than salad dressing and cheaper!


Meal Idea Three Chicken Tortilla Soup:
 I love this hearty meal. It says to use coconut oil, which is cheapest at Costco, but you can use any oil I'd imagine. I've made it with avocado oil before and it was just fine. Here's the full plan here.  


Meal Idea Four Black Bean and Beef Enchiladas:
Can you say YUM, click here!  It'll require sour cream, 1 can of pinto beans, and enchilada sauce but you should have everything else on the list.

And a friend's specialty...

Meal Idea Five Michelle's Pasta:

chicken (amount depends on serving size)
salt
garlic pepper
basic
2 cloves of garlic
basil 
parsley
sun dried tomatoes
bow tie pasta (depends on serving size). you could sub out for your brown rice pasta too!

Cook bow tie pasta according to directions on box

Saute chicken with pinch of salt, & garlic pepper in olive oil until chicken is proper temp.

Take chicken out and saute the two cloves of garlic, basil, parsley w/ tomatoes 

Add chicken back in with cooked bow tie pasta and add a good handful of parmesan cheese.


There are so many ideas on Pinterest if you just type in your ingredients. Hope this helps you make wise decisions in the grocery store. 


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