Monday, April 26, 2010

Frugally Healthy

I'm really excited to start incorporating the thrifty in with the healthy in my meal planning.  I've been practicing this "art" for quite some time; but I had found that I was wearing myself out trying to find coupons that matched sales and making sure that those sales were attached to the "whole foods" approach to our eating.

It all started when I was listening to a Focus on the Family broadcast featuring Jonni McCoy's book Miserly Moms.

She approached the grocery shopping budget (GASP!) coupon-less.  I know.  Phew.  I know!!!  It's hard to fathom.  Don't get me wrong.  I give much props to The Coupon Mom- this chick helped me save MUCHO deniro- but I found myself wiping the sweat from my brow after tirelessly searching through coupons and matching them with the store I was going to shop at.  There were times I scored freebies through the coupons and the sales, and EVEN times that I actually "made" money buying the sale item with my coupon (example: 50 cents off a can of tomatoes- the tomatoes were on mega sale for 25 cents).  These freebies and money maker sales were rare, but offered a "shoppers high" that created a coupon shopping addiction.  I ended up finding myself buying things we wouldn't normally buy.  Example: "Toaster Strudels for ONLY a dollar?!?!  And they're normally $2.50?  I'll take 4 boxes and save TEN DOLLARS.  Whooo HOO!"  It is a great deal- for sure- but?!- eating toaster strudel things are NOT on our health conscience menu.  The purchase should not have been made- because we ate them- and we LIKED them.

It was too easy to buy junk food and conveniently packaged-processed, nutritionally void items while I was getting a "fix" on my "money saving addiction".

 Sure.  I'll still use coupons.  I can't stop cold-turkey, you understand?  (Not without a full detox, that is.)

Let's get on with this week's Frugally Healthy meal plan.  Have I mentioned that I'm SOOOO excited about it?  I'm going to do my best to break it down to the "cost per meal, per person".  Let me see if I can dust off the math-minded portion of my brain and get this right.


Yogurt Smoothies

Plain Yogurt  (50 cents per container x10)  I switch this method up- because there are times when I find the 32 oz. containers on sale and at a lower cost.  Dannon's brand is my choice- it's about as natural as it gets.  I would use organic if I could find it on a big enough sale, that would be preferable.
Strawberries  (16 oz. fresh container for $1.88 x2)
Bananas (money saver- I always freeze the bananas that I would normally throw away due to them browning)
Orange Juice. (64 oz. carton for $2.00 x1) To make this as healthy as possible, look for the "Not From Concentrate" kind.

Instructions- Put 2 containers of yogurt, 2 cups of orange juice, one super ripe (mine are always frozen) banana,  and less than half of the container of strawberries in a blender and blend until well mixed.

 *I chose to purchase a smoothie maker  blender (it's the same as a blender, it just has a spout on it.)

The weeks total for this breakfast option is $10.76.
This will make 4 smoothies per day for five days, making the "per meal" cost a whopping $0.53.  It could end up costing more depending on the variation of fruit you use.  Typically- the meal cost no more than $1.00 per person.  

It incorporates a protein and essential antioxidants within the fruit.  My kids think they're getting icecream when I use ONLY frozen fruit.  There is no added sugar- the fruit and orange juice are used to sweeten the plain yogurt.  A person could use frozen blueberries, strawberries, pineapple, bananas, or most other fruit mixes to change it up.  WE love peach smoothies the best.

Egg and Cheese Sandwiches (or McMuffins)

It seems so simple- and really- it IS!  This is a great breakfast item!  If a person is pressed for time- I would HIGHLY recommend a griddle (I found mine on sale for $15).  It is super easy clean up and has enough cooking space to quickly cook the food all at once.

Eggs                           (36 pack for $2.79- price will vary)
Whole Wheat Bread   ($1.50 per loaf x2)  I prefer Nature's Own, but I did find a great brand that doesn't have the high fructose corn syrup and preservative ingredients added to it. If my brand isn't on sale, this one usually is.  I can also sometimes find (whole wheat) English Muffins on a good enough sale that it would make it worth the purchase.  Switch it up when you can.  Add ham or some other lean meant if you can find it on sale.  
Cheese                      ($1.99 pack x2)

On the griddle, I use a little butter and fry the eggs. After one side has been cooked, I flip the egg and top it with cheese.  To save time and (energy), I also toast the bread on the griddle, picking up my fried egg once it's been fully cooked and sandwiching it on the griddle top like a grilled-cheese sandwich.

The weeks cost for this meal is $9.79.  It will feed the entire house of FIVE breakfast for five days.
Surprisingly- VERY surprisingly, this mealis a whopping  >40 cents per person, per sandwich.

These breakfast meals can be switched up and/or combined.  My husband won't go NEAR anything with yogurt, but he'll happily eat the egg and cheese sandwich (or two).

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