Thursday, March 21, 2013

Meal Planning and Food budgeting, oh my!

After two years in AmeriCorps I look at our current food budget and think I must be insane, we fed a team of 12 for much, much less a month then the 4 of us spend!  And, as the boys get bigger and their food intake increases, I am terrified of what will happen if we continue down this path.  The other main reason I am doing this is because Matt and I want to get the little we have on credit cards gone and get our overall spending more in control (hopefully start putting away for a rainy day or a vacation).  Since working is not a great option for me, with three kids and day care being so darn much, and since we love having me home with the boys, this is one way I can really contribute to the finances.  What are some other ways you stay-at-home moms help out?  I would love ideas. 

So I am embarking on the adventure of meal planning, limiting the food budget and still trying to eat whole, healthy, gluten free foods.  In that vein I have set a budget of $400 a month for all our food and have created a monthly meal plan.  I also want to start setting aside freezer meals for when the baby comes, so I plan on making extra soups and casseroles as I can.  We have two big addictions to regulate in order to do all this, the first is Eating Out (should be an easy fix, no more eating out) the second is fruit! I don't want to "fix" this but I do want to try eating more seasonably and more reasonably.  Lets just say I can't wait for the farmer's markets to open up around here. 
I found this cute meal planning worksheet online and have tried to include new and favorite meals on it.

 Some other small differences come from what I gave up for lent (buying treats at the grocery store, not so easy with pregnancy cravings) and the bread machine I got for Christmas (making your own GF bread really knocks costs down). The boys and I have been creating treats in the kitchen for the last month and I have been making GF bread products weekly as well.  I hope to continue to have the will power to do this and see where it all leads.  

Lastly, I am very ready to get a garden going, come on Spring! My little seedlings are going strong and I am excited to see what takes off this year.

I will try to get better about posting recipes again, It helps me to remember what we liked and how I made it and its always nice to share GF ideas.

Please leave me your favorite go to recipes if you have any!  I'm always on the hunt for simple, fast and healthy :) 

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