I had some thoughts on my meal plan post this weekend. It started with one of the most frequently asked questions here on Crumbs: “How do you feed a family of four on only $330 a month?” Well, that’s a loaded question with loaded answers.
I’ve shared why cut our monthly expenses in half. And then how to actually make a frugal grocery budget, which is continually an on-going process. Meal planning is one of the key ways we keep our expenses down. But I need to let you in on a little secret.
Those meal plans you see out there on the web? Those are written for you. Not every author of those meal plans actually cooks and prepares that same menu for their own family. They’ve written it as a service to you. So you can take that meal plan and serve your family healthy foods without you having to put much thought into it. And their service is excellent!
But my meal plans are a bit different. You see, they’re written for me. They’re the typed up version of my handwritten mess of a meal plan (that you can see in it’s full glory here). What you see is what you get, and it’s what my family gets too. 90% of the time, we eat what I’ve written. Because that’s what’s planned!
Why then do I bother typing up my meal plans – for you – when you’re still stuck having to find your own “seasonal veggie” or a full dinner on the nights we’re having pizza with friends? It’s so you can see HOW I feed my family on $330/month.
The goal of these posts is not to inspire you with amazing new recipes. Although if that does happen, woo-hoo! The purpose behind me sharing my meal plan is for you to be the fly on the wall inside a frugal real foodie’s kitchen as she deals with portion sizes, time constraints, food expenses and the occasional picky eater. AKA, life.
If you have questions on my meal plan, ask away in the comments section. I admit to not always being the quickest to respond, but I read every single one and WILL reply at some point in the not too distant future, lol!
Frugal Eating Plan: February 2014
Notes on this Frugal Eating Plan:
- This four week meal plan is exactly what my family of four eats on a $330/month budget. You might need to change portion sizes according to your own family size and budget.
- Meals are based around two whole chickens, one pound of shrimp and a 2lb tri-tip.
Frugal Eating Plan: Week 1
(S) Roasted Whole Chicken
(M) Shrimp Creole
(T) Baked Ziti with Spinach and Zucchini
(W) Cheesey-Mexi Lentil Macaroni
(T) Tortilla Soup with Jalapeno Cheddar Rolls
(F) Homemade Pizza
(S) BBQ Tri-tip Sandwiches
Frugal Eating Plan: Week 2
(S) Spinach Salad with Homemade Biscuits
(M) Beef Tacos with homemade whole wheat tortillas
(T) Chicken Alfredo
(W) Homemade Spaghetti
(T) Vegetable Minestrone Soup
(F) One Pan Buffalo Chicken Potatoes
(S) Homemade Pizza
Frugal Eating Plan: Week 3
(S) Baked Potato Bar and Minestrone Soup
(M) Chicken Parmesan
(T) Lemon Caper Chicken
(W) Savory Pasta with Bacon, Onions, and Greens
(T) Tomato Basil Soup with Rosemary Olive Oil Bread
(F) Homemade Pizza
(S) Grilled Sandwiches on Rosemary Olive Oil Bread
Frugal Eating Plan: Week 4
Frugal Eating Plan: Breakfasts
Breakfasts are pretty “standard” around our house. We tend to enjoy the same things routinely, like oatmeal or muffins or pancakes, but add variety by switching up the fruits and flavors and such. I try to make at least a double batch of something when I’m cooking, so often times one morning of breakfast will last several days. It all depends on how much I feel like cooking and how hungry everyone is. Nevertheless, there’s always a plan and every meal includes a fruit!
(S) Overnight Soaked Oatmeal with Bananas, Cinnamon and Honey
(M) Overnight Soaked Oatmeal with Apples or Other Fruit (not Bananas)
(T) Toast and Smoothies
(W) Whole Wheat Pancakes (although these will be sourdough pancakes once I get my starter going again)
(S) Leftovers A la Carte
Frugal Eating Plan: Lunches
Similar to lunches, they’re fairly standard. Every day, the kids have their choice between the following meal, dependent of course on what’s available in the kitchen:
- peanut butter & fruit sandwiches/wraps
- healthy homemade lunchables
- scrambled eggs
- yogurt with granola and/or fruit
Looking for more delicious and frugal inspiration? Get more real food meal plans here.