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SWANATOPIA Posts: 1,049
5/28/13 12:14 P

I have these types of weeks more often than I would like. If I cannot eat vegetables, I just lower my calories down 200. I do this because I cannot allow myself to just eat up to those calories in the other foods. I try and make them stretch as I have kiddos, so pot of beans, rice and a small side of meat is generally what our plate looks like. Smaller portions of those types of food! Drink more water to take the place of the veggies!

MAMACRAFTY1 Posts: 807
5/27/13 8:40 A

I run a food bank. We don't have financial requirements. People that are hard workers find themselves in your same scenario. You might want to check out what is available in your area. Thankfully we are able to give out fresh fruits and veggies. I pray you can find resources.

ZELDA13 SparkPoints: (78,414)
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Posts: 3,395
5/27/13 1:30 A

It seems that for a week. you have most of the protein you'll need, if it's supplemented by a dozen eggs, as well as dried beans and some peanut butter. I like to get the 10 oz. packages of frozen veggies at the store which sell for $1.00 a box (usually) here. I know that prices are different in all parts of the country, but it pays to look into it. A big pot of soup or chili is often not too pricey and will serve several meals. Either plain, or in the case of chili, served over a salad or a baked potato. Even a turkey breast, which may cost $10.00 or so, will serve one hot meal, give extra meat for sandwiches, and then have leftovers for a big pot of soup. Let us know what works for you, as we can all benefit from it.

IAMTOLOSE SparkPoints: (0)
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Posts: 580
5/26/13 8:39 P

You've been given some good ideas. You also probably have more in your cupboards than you realize. Why not take everything out of every cabinet, empty your freezer, and your fridge. Quickly make a list of everything you have in your freezer and fridge and put the items back in so they don't defrost or get too warm. Then list everything from your cupboards. Figure out from what you have what can do into making soups, stews. Beans cooked with a chopped up pork chop over rice is great. As you use up those convenience foods you have, don't replace them. Instead buy staples like beans, rice, oatmeal, grits, and the like. Realize that in most parts of the world meat is not the major portion of a meal, rather it is used for seasoning and is stretched. Use frozen and/or canned greens and use a little meat to jazz them up. You're a smart woman. You can figure out ways to make your grocery dollars last longer and eat healthier. emoticon

FITGLAMGIRL Posts: 2,045
5/26/13 2:29 P

Yeah that is so tough! I would try to get to a food pantry to make your dollars stretch. You can turn those canned veggies into veggie soup, you can get some eggs usually very cheap and eats lots of boiled eggs, scrambled eggs, omelets etc. You can also get celery, bananas and peanut butter cheap and have that for snacks. You can probably get some fresh veggies cheap like a bag of carrots and some cucumbers, and canned beans and lettuce. Put that altogether and eat salads. Tuna is also cheap and you can make tuna burgers.

Whatever you do, try not to give into processed foods or fast foods. Good luck!

SUNSHINE6442 Posts: 2,216
5/25/13 11:01 A

Walmart has "Great Value" brand can goods for 68 cents each, most are low in sugar and sodium.
In my area
2lbs bag of black beans there is $2.00
Brown Rice $1.29
Roma tomatoes, yesterday 1.59 lb and strawberries were 1.77 for a large container
Cumberland Gap ham cubes $3.00
Bag of lettuce under $2

Sweet potatoes & Green beans are cheap

LOVEXAVIE SparkPoints: (42,806)
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Posts: 2,449
5/25/13 9:16 A

Hi Kathy.

I don't know if you have these in your part of the woods, but might you have a .99 Cent store (or other type of dollar store)? In CA, many of the .99 Cent stores now carry fresh as well as frozen produce.
Just do the math: sometimes, depending on the quantity of what you are buying, a supermarket sale could be the better deal. Example: their zip lock bags seemed like a great deal at .99 cents until you looked at how many were actually in the box & then priced it out.

Is there a Smart & Final near you? They have great buys on bulk bagged produce. If you or someone you know is a member of Costco, consider going in & sharing a bulk packed bag of produce (apples and oranges are a good buy here) or jumbo bag of frozen.

Now is the time to harvest every ounce of creativity & use everything you've got but w/ the suggestions in this thread I hope it helps! The food pantry is an excellent idea...maybe look on-line to see what's in or near your area.

I wish you the best!

Edited by: LOVEXAVIE at: 5/25/2013 (20:47)
PRAIRIEMIMI SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (6,913)
Posts: 157
5/25/13 9:02 A

Many of the suggestions I was going to make are already listed in responses by others. Having been where you are at I know the stress it can bring. Please read some of the articles on relieving stress found on SparkPeople. You will get through this. The fact you were able to come to this site for help is a positive sign you are looking to problem solve. Hugs coming your way from the Land of Oz.

SLIMMERKIWI SparkPoints: (244,167)
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Posts: 26,631
5/25/13 6:12 A

I am very accustomed to living off the smell of an oily rag. What you have on hand is a wonderful start. I can get 2 reasonable sized chicken drumsticks to stretch 4-5 servings.

First, I suggest that you take advantage of your supermarket specials. Frozen veges are often cheaper than fresh, so if some are on special, get some. Get a few fresh fruit/veges on special - going for the cheaper ones (as opposed to poor quality)

You can make a casserole using chicken drums. Lentils are a very cheap protein and excellent source of fibre. Use lentils and chopped veges to extend the meat. When the meat is cooked, shred it and add it to the vege mix. You can also put it in a blender and make soup with it, just generally thin it a weeny bit more. Alternatively you can make it very thick but adding in oat bran or a little flour.

A can of kidney beans can go a long way to extending meat, too, and also the protein and fibre. Use spices, be it curry or chilli, or herbs to give an added flavour. Most people have this sort of thing in their pantry.

Chicken breasts can diced/sliced and used in stir fries. I often use lentils in them, too! This extends the chicken. I often add broken up wholemeal pasta to those dishes, adding them into the dish. A squeeze of lemon juice or lemon pepper gives a totally different take on it.

Brown Rice is very cheap and makes a great carb for the meal.

I often used mince meat (ground beef) and make various themed stews - Mexican; Italian; Curry. One tablespoon of meat is the meat serve, but you would think there is a lot more there - once again, lentils and some chopped veges can be a very good friend.

Pork Chops are wonderful casseroled with some lentils and chopped up apple and cabbage. Some brown rice can be added to it to help thicken it. You can break the meat up when cooked and whereas the chop would normally do one person, depending on the size you can get 3-4 serves from it.

To help keep the cost down, make as much soup as you can, using the cheaper veges/lentils, puree it, and then have a small amount as a first course. A couple years ago when finances were extremely bad for my now late husband and I, we had soup 4-6 nights a week, and often for lunch too. I just used different spices etc. for the differing taste. It tricks the mind into thinking it is getting more variety.

Good luck,

Edited by: SLIMMERKIWI at: 5/25/2013 (06:13)
ARCHIMEDESII SparkPoints: (195,969)
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Posts: 26,975
5/25/13 5:53 A

Hi, Kathy !

Here's a Daily Spark Blog you might find helpful. It has ideas and recipes for saving money on meals.

You might find this one helpful too.

MCFHARPIST SparkPoints: (61,391)
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5/24/13 8:03 P

KATHYHARRIOTT1, is there a local religiously based food pantry where you could go for emergency provisions? Maybe a Catholic or interfaith organization can help in your area. I know at our church we give canned goods and fresh produce to interfaith on a regular basis.

Edited by: MCFHARPIST at: 5/24/2013 (20:04)
COANNIE SparkPoints: (9,512)
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Posts: 241
5/24/13 3:24 P

Believe me, I understand what you're going through, it's depressing to look at the checkbook and see too much month at the end of the $$. But with the meat you have and $50, you'll be fine.

I echo the beans. I bought a bag of dried black beans at walmart for around $2 - they were my lunches and part of dinners for more than a week. Tons of protein. I made a chili-ish recipe with beans, canned tomato and spices. It was really good over microwaved potato and by itself in a bowl. Rice is also pretty inexpensive and can round out meals in a pinch. I made rice with black beans for supper one night- added some shredded cheese and the kids loved it. Rice and beans together are a complete protein. One cup of rice with one cup of beans is about 400 calories and has good nutrition.

As Love4Kitties said- eggs- pretty inexpensive and so good for protein. Look for foods on sale, like this week at Safeway, Avocados are $1 each, cans of tuna are $1 each, and at King Sooper, coleslw mix is $, red and yellow peppers and several varities of lettuce are $1. I totally shop around for good prces on veggies. Usually WM has frozen veggies for around $1.25-1.50 a bag.


LOVE4KITTIES Posts: 4,690
5/24/13 2:37 P

Forget the convenience food. You can do a lot better than that.

Got any seasonings? Take a look in your cupboard... If you've got cumin, cayenne pepper and oregano you can turn two of those chicken breasts or some of those legs into a big batch of white chicken chili. I made some the other night and used 2 breasts and 1/2 lb of beans and got enough for two nights of dinners for my husband and myself. What I made was pretty heavy on the meat. You can use less meat and more beans. It'll still have plenty of meat if you use 2 breasts and a pound to 1 1/2 pounds of beans. There are several recipes on Spark Recipes or you can send me an e-mail and I'll tell you how to make it. All you'll need to get is a pound of great northern beans and a can of diced green chilis. I like to add some salsa to mine, but that's optional and it'll taste just fine without. If you happen to have a boullion cube (or a can of chicken broth), you can add that to the water you cook the beans in. If chili isn't an option, there's always chicken and rice or chicken and pasta. If you've got any canned cream of whatever soup hanging out in your cupboard, you can use it to make a chicken/rice or chicken/pasta casserole.

If you can, you might consider geting some of the following: bread (whatever's on sale, hopefully wheat bread), eggs, milk, peanut butter and a tube of old-fashioned oatmeal. Peanut butter sandwiches are great in a pinch, as is oatmeal with a tbsp of peanut butter stirred in. Egg sandwiches (scrambled egg on toast) or egg salad sandwiches (if you have a little mayo, a little mustard, some garlic powder, and some onion or onion powder...dried parsley is another tasty, optional, addition) are tasty and filling. Bags of potatoes are inexpensive and potatoes are packed with nutrients. I got a 10 lb bag the other day on sale for $2.99. Nothing wrong with some baked potatoes. Corn is on sale here right now. Eight ears for a dollar.

Maybe you can find a bag of some frozen veggies on sale or pick up a few pieces of fruit on sale. Sometimes, you can find lettuce for a good price.

With a little thought and maybe the purchase of a few inexpensive food items, you should be fine. You definitely have plenty of meat to last the week. It just needs stretched with some beans, rice (or both) or some pasta. It may be a week of somewhat bland food if you're lacking spices, but you can definitely do better than convenience foods.

Edited to add: Here's another idea... Chicken burritos. Get some dried pinto beans and make up a batch of refried beans. You can make your own tortillas at home (there are recipes here on Spark People for making them with white flour...yes, wheat tortillas would be better, a pinch, you use what you've got). Shredded chicken, refried beans,'ve got yourself an inexpensive but reasonably healthy chicken burrito. Yeah, it'll be a little bland without salsa, cheese, etc. but, it'll still be good and filling.

Edited by: LOVE4KITTIES at: 5/24/2013 (15:47)
ARCHIMEDESII SparkPoints: (195,969)
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Posts: 26,975
5/24/13 1:53 P

Hi, Kathy ! While you might not be able to afford fresh veggies, how about frozen ones ? Frozen veggies ARE every bit as nutritious as fresh veggies and they are cheap. Buy the store brand and save money. Go see what's on sale and buy what is on sale.

Check to see if your market has a "day old" section. Many markets will have a couple of shelves dedicated to items that are marked half price like day old bread. In many cases, that day old bread is perfectly fine. my market also sells dented cans for cheap.

There are ways to make that chicken stretch. Making chicken soup or chicken/rice is one way. Make pasta sauce with that chicken. Do you have some canned tuna ? Make a tuna casserole. Do you have beans ? A bag of dried beans is cheap and you can make red beans and rice. Red beans and rice is extremely nutritious.

Don't despair !! There are ways to eat well on a budget.

5/24/13 1:09 P

I'm on STAY-cation and we're down to our last $50 before payday a week from today. We have 6 chicken legs, 4 chicken breasts, 2 pork chops and NO VEGETABLES OR FRUIT until next Friday. All that is left are convenience foods, which tend to be bad for you. It's going to be a rough eating week for us.


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