(Sorry this is long but I'm excited that I managed to buy healthy and still stay within my budget!)
I took everyone's advice when I went grocery shopping today for this weeks lunch/dinner stuff. I checked out the sales flyers, I shopped the cheapest stores in town and made sure I used coupons that I'd been saving for $10 off $50 or more, $2 off produce and $2 off meat. Everything I bought was on sale and I used coupons for a few things, too. (My Activia yogurt for instance plus fat free cottage cheese and sourcream).
I bought a large bag of frozen chicken breast for around $7.00 for 4 lbs. I bought a nice BIG flank steak that was in the "buy now" bin for $3.94. A dozen eggs at .99 cents. The store had a big sale on produce so I went the bagged route on salad, spinach, cabbage. I bought bulk carrots and celery rather than pre-bagged. I also got a huge bag of potatoes for $1 and sweet potatoes I found for .99 a lb, so I got 4 lbs. Bananas and apples were both on sale for the organic kind .99lb and 1.29lb respectively.
Once I got home, I made up a menu and got to work, chopping, slicing, bagging, cooking for the week. In about 1 hours time, I made dinner for tonight (steak, salad, baked potato) plus bagged up salad fixings for lunches for 5 days this week and prepped meat and veggies for at least 5 dinners.
I hard-boiled a dozen eggs, pre-sliced and bagged 1 oz portions of mozzarella cheese, baked and cubed 5 boneless skinnless chicken breasts and broiled-and thinly sliced the flank steak that we weren't going to eat for tonights dinner. I portioned the chicken and steak into baggies for quick after work meals or to put in my lunch to be my protein topper for my daily salad.
I prepped the salad, spinach, cabbage and veggies into little individual baggies for grab and go lunches. Cut carrots, celery, mushrooms and bagged them for salads. While I was cutting the veggies, I started a pot of my version of the "Tomato Soup Diet" soup throwing in a can of diced tomatos, a quart of chicken stock, two cloves garlic, onions, cabbage, mushrooms, carrots, celery, a handful of edamame. I ended up with 6 cups of really good veggie soup.
The store also had a sale on big cans of black beans for $1.99 a can, definitley more expensive than starting with dried beans but for the convenience I went ahead and bought them. Black beans, salsa, 2 tbs cottage cheese, 1/2 cooked chicken breast in a pita and warmed in the microwave, for under 300 calories.MMMM, easy peasy lunch! I found whole wheat pita bread for 1.99 and sandwich thins for 1.99 also.
I spent a little over $45 (plus save $16 with coupons) on food to eat for lunches and dinners for my b/f and I for the week. I'll need to cook extras for his dinners like pasta and add garlic bread or something but for me...I have plenty to eat for the next week.
I was worried that I wasn't going to be able to stick to my plan of eating (mostly) whole foods while on a strict budget but with a little help from my friends, I think I'm going to be able to do this! Thanks!